By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — The spring-and-summer grassroots basketball season is simply a different animal than the high school season, and a pair of national top 20 Arkansas Razorbacks’ recruits and 17U Arkansas Hawks teammates, 2024 K. Annor Boateng and 2024 Terrion Burgess, are off and running as their first event of 2023 at Real Deal in the Rock was completed in late March with their first live-evaluation period on the Adidas 3SSB circuit up next (April 21-23).

Boateng (6-5 wing, Little Rock Central, 2022-23 Gatorade Arkansas Boys High School Player of the Year, Rivals’ national No. 16 / 5-star prospect) was named MVP at Real Deal after leading the Hawks to a 4-0 record and the 17U championship. In the title game against 17U Memphis Hoopers, Boateng had 13 points (4-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3, & 2-of-2 free throws) and 5 rebounds while playing only half the game in a 59-46 win.

Just prior to Real Deal, Boateng discussed his upcoming final grassroots season.

“I like this opportunity to lead the Arkansas Hawks this year, but it’s really a group effort,” Boateng told Hogville. “I’ll have a lot of players coming back from last year so we know what we need to get done, and with their experience it will make pushing this team forward easier.

“I’m ready to get back in the groove of things with AAU (grassroots) and playing with my old teammates. Also being able to showcase my growth as a player, too.”

Boateng discussed his development as a player.

“My strength is my athleticism, size, and being able to see the floor well,” he said. “Being able to be a team player and not be selfish is also one of my strengths. I mainly need to work on my turnovers and not force or make silly mistakes.”

Boateng recently took part in USA Basketball U17 junior national team mini camp in Houston, which overlapped with the NCAA Tournament Final Four that was also played in Houston.

“It was a great experience,” Boateng said of his most-recent Team USA camp experience. “It was kind of weird being the oldest group (U17) there after going there mutliple times. Lijke last time, the energy was there and the competition was just as good, too. It was easy to connect with people, too. Made some good connections down in Houston.

“We also got to watch the Final Four games and play on the court as well. It was super fun and is an unforgettable experience to play on a court like that.”

Arkansas, Auburn, Memphis, Missouri, and Ole Miss are just handful of the multiple high-major programs that are pursuing Boateng, who in the past year has taken a couple of unofficial visits to Arkansas.

Burgess (6-9 wing/small forward, Benton, 247Sports national No. 17 / 4-star prospect) was the 17U Hawks’ leading scorer through most of their Real Deal games, and just prior to the event he talked about his goals this spring and summer.

“Become a better leader on and off the court,” Burgess said. “Get stronger, win a 3SSB championship, receive an invite to USA basketball (camp), and just improve my overall game.”

Burgess also touched on some of the specific parts of his game that he considers strengths as well as what he’s working to improve.

“I’m able to get shots off over defenders, get downhill, and my ability to guard multiple positions and play multiple positions, being versatile,” Burgess said of his strengths, adding he needs to “continue to work on being more vocal.”

Burgess listed the schools as well as another post-high-school playing option that have been the most aggressive in recruiting him.

“Arkansas, Memphis, Auburn, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Overtime Elite,” Burgess said.

Burgess was on Arkansas’ campus at least three times during the ’22-23 season to check out Hoop Hogs games.

Linked below are video highlights of Boateng and Burgess from last weekend’s Real Deal in the Rock event …

2024 K. Annor Boateng

2025 Terrion Burgess