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Author Topic: '21 5* UA commit Jersey Wolfenbarger excels in gym w/college stars, incl Hogs  (Read 1396 times)

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Kevin McPherson

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UPDATE / EDIT (1:37 p.m. CT, Friday, June 5, 2020) ...

By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK -- In late April, Mike Neighbors and his Arkansas Razorbacks hit the lottery with the commitment of 2021 5-star Jersey Wolfenbarger. And based on intel gathered following recent Wolfenbarger competitive workouts with some of the best players in college basketball, Arkansas could be looking at a mega payout when it cashes in that winning ticket beginning with Wolfenbarger's freshman season in 2021-22.

Wolfenbarger (6-foot-5 combo guard, ESPN national No. 18 prospect) still has her upcoming senior high school season at Fort Smith Northside, but she's making the most of her offseason by getting in the gym to work out with and compete against some worthy collegiate players, including a Tuesday run with 2018 national high school player of the year, UConn guard, and former Central Arkansas Christian star Christyn Williams.

Wolfenbarger has also been in the gym in recent weeks with Razorbacks Chelsea Dungee, Alexis Tolefree, Amber Ramirez, and freshman-to-be Destinee McGhee, as well as 2020 5-star guard and Oregon State freshman-to-be Sasha Goforth and Memphis freshman-to-be Coriah Beck -- both just finished up their senior seasons at Fayetteville High School.

With a growth spurt shooting her up from a 5-6 freshman to a 6-5 high school senior-to-be, Wolfenbarger has also added significant muscle weight and bulk that has allowed her to keep up physically while matching up with her older and more experienced gym pals.

The accelerated growth has also allowed Wolfenbarger -- already an elite playmaker and shot creator attacking defenses from the perimeter -- to add some mid-post and interior attack angles to her offensive arsenal.

"I was fortunate to get to work with one of my future teammates," Wolfenbarger explained following a May 30 workout in Fort Smith. "She'll be a freshman this year, and she'll be a sophomore when I come up -- Destinee from Alabama. She's a post player, so it's kind of cool to work with her. She's taught me some post stuff. Definitely not as good as she is at it yet, but I'm learning from her.

"Just like with some of the older players, I've gotten to work with Dungee, Ramirez, and Tolefree. We got to play one-on-one and shoot around a little bit, and just hearing what they have to say about the program inspires me more. I want to be able to help build what they've built."

Wolfenbarger sees the offseason workouts and her upcoming final high school season as a valuable springboard for the next level.

"I think my biggest goal right now is just preparing myself for the collegiate level," she said. "Next year I'm viewing my senior year as an opportunity to a) see how far I can take my team, and b) just to make sure that physically and mentally I'm able to perform at the next level. Everything that I do (in workouts) I want to make sure I'm doing it to the best of my ability. I want it to be perfect in a sense, because it's going to be much harder to do in a game. And I want to make sure that I'm challenging myself as hard as I can in practice so the game comes easy.

"I just know right now, my biggest goal is to be the best that I can be, especially for my teammates."

Linked below are Twitter highlights of Jersey Wolfenbarger's workout on May 30 in Fort Smith, my two-part interview with her, and below those links is my Hogville.net story published in late April detailing Wolfenbarger's commitment to Arkansas ...







               * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From April 28, 2020 ...

By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK -- The heart wants what the heart wants, and 2021 5-star prospect Jersey Wolfenbarger said her heart told her to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks and head coach Mike Neighbors, which she committed to do on Monday.

"All my tops, they were all really close to the character I was looking for, the style of play, the coaching staff," Wolfenbarger said of sorting through her scholarship options to arrive at her commitment to the Hogs. "But I was just waiting on my mind and my heart to align. I had made a list so I saw all the pros and cons of each school. And then I just let my heart decide in the end.

"Like I said they all aligned with all my values, and then my heart was just, you know, I wanted to be a Razorback and that's how I made my decision."

Wolfenbarger (6-5 combo guard, Fort Smith Northside, ESPN national No. 18 / 5-star prospect, 2020 Gatorade Arkansas Player of the Year) said the excitement during her Monday commitment phone call with Neighbors elicited some "goosebumps" from the Head Hog.

"It was exciting," Wolfenbarger said. "He told me, he was like 'Oh my gosh, I've got goosebumps, goosebumps.' I was giggling the whole time, because we were both so excited. It's really hard not to be able to not say it in person, but the fact that I let him know I'm committed to getting better and I want to be a part of this program and his process. We were both just really excited."

With her commitment to Arkansas -- the Razorbacks finished an abbreviated 2019-20 season at 24-8 overall and ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 -- Wolfenbarger ended a lengthy recruiting process that saw more than 40 NCAA Division 1 programs offer her a scholarship, including the likes of UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor, Texas, Tennessee, and Oregon State to name just a few.

Wolfenbarger said the mutual belief and trust with Neighbors won her over.

"I think we just had this equal belief in each other, and I think that really resonated with me that he believed in me from the beginning," Wolfenbarger said. "You know, when I was 5-6 at Northside, barely 100 pounds, he had enough belief in my upside that he decided to recruit me. That really stuck to me. I was just thinking he's somebody I want to play for because like I said we both have that trust in each other."

Wolfenbarger had a great junior and sophomore seasons in the Arkansas high school ranks. As a junior, she averaged 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while pacing the top-ranked Lady Bears to a deep run into the 6A state tournament. As a sophomore, she averaged 22.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in a story-book season that culminated in Wolfenbarger leading a comeback from a double-digit deficit before she hit a buzzer-beating game-winner over Bentonville in the 6A state title game that garned her MVP honors.

She followed up her sophomore season with a strong spring and summer in 2019 playing with 17U Arkansas Banshees as one of the top players on the national Under Armour Association circuit. She also showed well at the Team USA U16 training camp in May 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wolfenbarger is a smooth do-it-all perimeter force who can make plays for teammates as well as create her own offense. She has grown roughly 11 inches -- shooting up from 5-6 to 6-5 in just over two years.

Linked below are: 1) a Monday evening Zoom interview with Jersey following her commitment to Arkansas; 2) a Twitter highlight reel that begins with a replay of Jersey's game-winner over Bentonville in the 6A state title game in 2019; and 3) a recent highlight reel of Jersey's senior season highlights ...


« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 12:14:21 pm by Kevin McPherson »
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