Like other five-star recruits, class of 2021 guard Hunter Sallis has the pick of the litter when it comes to top basketball schools. With the recent success Arkansas has seen both on the court and in recruitment, Fayetteville is a possible landing spot for Sallis.
If Sallis does end up as a Hog, he projects to be the most exciting Razorback since Michael Qualls. Sallis’ coach at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska, gave him the highest of praises, comparing the 6’4’, 165-pound point guard’s athleticism and mid-air shot adjustments to that of the great Michael Jordan.
“Believe me I’m not trying to say he’s that good, but he reminds me of Jordan’s moves,” Millard North High School head coach Tim Cannon said.
Sallis’ highlight tape showcases his steady mid-range pullup jumper, a knack for making tough shots in traffic, high-flying poster and putback dunks and flair that are similar to that of the Bulls’ legend.
Doubters need only watch his aerial detonations at the :32, 1:00, 2:14 and 4:23 marks below:
Sallis is the No. 20 prospect in the nation, according to Rivals.com. He’s received offers from 19 schools so far, including North Carolina, Gonzaga and Kansas along with Arkansas. The Omaha, Nebraska native took a virtual visit with Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman recently. He said his interest in the Arkansas program was “really high,” according to reporter Kevin McPherson.
After the visit, Sallis said he was impressed by coach Musselman, and he was eager to develop a relationship with the coaching staff, McPherson Tweeted.
“I think it was a great hire getting coach Musselman,” Cannon added in a interview with BestofArkansasSports.com.. “I think they’re on the right path. [The Arkansas coaches] are certainly going to get them to a high level, it’s already started.”
During his junior year at Millard North in Omaha, Sallis averaged 22.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game. His team finished runner-up in the state championship.
One of Sallis’ main attributes is his athleticism, which allows him to be a great slasher, getting to the bucket whatever way he desires.
“He used to be really good at getting through guys in the lane, now he’s going through them and he’s going over them,” Cannon said.
Sallis’ height and leaping ability often leads to a lot of dunks, a good amount of those on or over opponents’ heads, which is shown right off the bat in jaw-dropping form in this clip:
2021 SG Hunter Sallis (@HunterSallis_) seen his stock rise averaging 22.2 PPG shooting 56% for Millard North (NE) as a junior. A 6-foot-5 electric scoring guard who is able to score on all levels. Holds a nice pull up jumper, a shot creator and sneaky athletic @MNHS_Basketball. pic.twitter.com/ZBdGlxzyeM— Samad Hines (@Samad_Hines) April 30, 2020
But when he can’t make it to the basket, Hunter Sallis’ mid range pullup jumper is one of his best assets.
Aside from scoring, Sallis — who models his game off Kobe Bryant’s — is an excellent ball handler, displays exceptional court vision and is a terrific defender, according to Cannon.
A recruiting analyst recently compared Sallis to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Sallis’ 6’4’ build with a 6’8’ wingspan projects to be similar to Gilgeous-Alexander’s 6’6’, 180-pound frame, with a wingspan that falls a half-inch short of seven feet.
Sallis is still growing. He has grown about four inches since entering high school, and Cannon thinks he’ll end up as 6’7” before he graduates next spring.
Cannon also praised his toughness, both physically and mentally, and said that Sallis was quiet and humble, despite his undeniable talent.
One area that Sallis can improve is outside shooting, according to Cannon. Sallis made eight more threes (27) in his junior year than he did in his sophomore year (19), but shot nine percentage points lower (31%).
Arkansas had the No. 6 recruiting class of 2020 in the nation, consisting of four four-star recruits. The addition of Sallis to next year’s recruiting class would be a great complement to the impressive arsenal of talented newcomers that the Razorbacks have at their disposal.
Arkansas’ Ace Recruiter
Hunter Sallis’ lead recruiter with Arkansas is associate head coach Chris Crutchfield, a dynamic assistant recently named to a list of thirty up-and-coming coaches to keep an eye on by The Athletic. Crutchfield, now in his second season with the Hogs, is well on his way to turning Arkansas into a recruiting powerhouse in the SEC and was
Crutchfield recruited top-six NBA lottery picks Trae Young and Buddy Hield during his eight years as associate head coach at Oklahoma. He nursed them into stardom through building a personal relationship with the two, whom he had known for years before they attended Oklahoma, Crutchfield said on The Hog Pod with Bo Mattingly.
“It’s all about relationships, my whole recruiting philosophy has been just to build a relationship with people,” Crutchfield said in Episode 57. “Get to know their families, get to know their interests and kind of figure out what drives them. This is a long process, and a lot of people hate to invest two to three years in a young kid, and at the end you don’t get them.
And I’ve done that. But on the back-end it’s always worked out pretty good for me when I’ve invested a lot of time.”
It helps, too, that Crutchfield has Omaha ties. He started his coaching career at the University of Nebraska Omaha after he graduated from the university and spent two years with the program as a graduate assistant.
Since then, Crutchfield has more than 20 years of coaching experience, helping out at Oral Roberts University, Texas Christian University, New Mexico State and other colleges prior to his stints at Oklahoma and now Arkansas.
Sallis should narrow his list of colleges in the next couple of weeks, according to Cannon. If Crutchfield can land Nebraska’s first five-star recruit of modern times it could be another name to add to the long list of standout talent he’s nursed into stardom — and kick start another spectacular recruiting class for Arkansas basketball
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Writer Parker Tillson’s devotion to sports comes from a devout following of his hometown Houston Astros. As a beat writer for the University of Arkansas’ The Arkansas Traveler, he’s covered Razorback baseball, basketball and football, as well as the NWA Naturals. and LPGA tournaments.