The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 1, 2014

Lions' Talbert to finish as all-star

Jordan Talbert, who prepped at Little Rock Central, didn’t get many chances to play in his home state during his career at Missouri Southern.

His senior year included an exhibition game at the University of Arkansas, and Talbert made three 3-point goals for nine points plus five rebounds and four assists in the Lions’ 99-82 loss to the Razorbacks.

Now Talbert has another chance to play in Arkansas. He’s been selected to participate in this weekend’s inaugural Arkansas All-Star Weekend at Summit Arena in Hot Springs.

A women’s all-star game tips off at 3:30, followed by the men’s game at 5:30 and a legends game of former players from Arkansas colleges at 7:30.

The men’s and women’s games involve 20 players apiece, most of them from one of the 26 college programs in Arkansas as determined by an online voting of fans.

“It means a lot,” said Talbert, one of only three players in Missouri Southern history with at least 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. “I could easily have been left off the list. The guy I talked to said we don’t hear much about guys once they leave Arkansas and go on and continue to play ball.”

In fact, Talbert was not one of the top-20 players in the voting, but after some players said they could not come, Talbert’s name was chosen with the help of former Razorback Clint McDaniel of the Midwest Showcase in Kansas City.

“We’re glad to have him,” said Byron Jenkins, ironically like Talbert a Little Rock Central alum. “He slipped through the crack. These players don’t get much publicity from our media after they leave Arkansas. I’m glad Clint McDaniel helped us get his name.”

There are two former Conway prep players who also were invited to the game — Kenyon McNeail of Louisiana Tech, the Sixth Man of the Year award winner in Conference USA, and Preston Purifoy from UAB.

“There are guys I know from Arkansas, Central Arkansas, Arkansas State,” Talbert said. “And I know there will be a couple of old friends there.”

The weekend is the brainchild of Jenkins of the Arkansas Alumni Classic and partner Travoris Akins of Little Rock. The AAC has promoted high school football and basketball events in Little Rock, but this is its first event to showcase college athletes.

“I host a high school basketball classic in Little Rock every Thanksgiving,” Jenkins said. “We use it as a fundraiser to bring in out-of-state teams.

“I started looking at the fact we have 26 college basketball programs in Arkansas. We could have an all-star weekend using those college seniors. Arkansas had five seniors this year and Arkansas State had five seniors, so it was a perfect storm basically.”

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