One week after announcing that he’d de-committed from Nevada, one of the top junior college prospects in the Class of 2016 has decided to play his college basketball in the SEC.
6-foot-9 power forward Arlando Cook, currently a sophomore at Connors State College in Oklahoma, announced via Twitter Thursday afternoon that he will sign with Arkansas when the early signing period begins later this month. Cook averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a freshman, and his commitment is an important one for a program that currently lack front court depth.
Cook joins fellow forward Adrio Bailey in Arkansas’ 2016 recruiting class to date. The Razorbacks took a hit to their front court options during the summer as it was announced that Ted Kapita was not cleared to join the program. Originally expected to attend prep school and join Arkansas in 2016, Kapita wound up signing on with the ill-fated AmeriLeague whose CEO was none other than convicted con man Glendon Alexander (he went by the name of Cerruti Brown in this endeavor).
That took Kapita out of the equation, and with Kennesaw State transfer Willy Kouassi being in his final season of eligibility Mike Anderson and his staff had some significant holes to address in their front court rotation. Current juniors Moses Kingsley and Dustin Thomas (Colorado transfer; sitting out this season) will be available in 2016-17 as will redshirt freshman Trey Thompson.
But Arkansas needed another option, especially one who can hit the ground running and be a key contributor immediately. Cook’s verbal pledge takes care of this issue.
Just days before he was scheduled to take an official visit to Louisville, one of the top guards in the junior college ranks has decided to play in the SEC.
Motlow State College combo guard Jaylen Barford committed to Arkansas Tuesday night, with the news first reported by Brad Winton of JucoRecruiting.com. The 6-foot-3 Barford averaged 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting better than 52 percent from the field.
Barford is the second junior college guard that Mike Anderson and his staff have reeled in for the 2016 class, joining Darryl Macon. The Razorbacks have three seniors in their backcourt for the 2015-16 season, with junior Dusty Hannahs and freshmen Jimmy Whitt and Lorenzo Jenkins being the guards with eligibility remaining beyond the upcoming campaign.
Arkansas is also one of the schools in hot pursuit of one of the top high school players in the Class of 2016 in Bentonville’s Malik Monk. The electrifying Monk is also considering Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oregon, and his official visit to Arkansas is scheduled for the weekend of October 24.
Arkansas landed another commitment in the Class of 2015 Saturday night, as 6-foot-6 small forward Lorenzo Jenkins made his pledge. Jenkins made the news official by way of his Twitter account.
Jenkins took a visit to Arkansas this weekend, with the trip to Fayetteville leading to his pledge. Jenkins hails from Naples, Florida, where he attended First Baptist Academy and his commitment gives Arkansas additional depth on the wing.
Arkansas has two seniors at the position in Keaton Miles and JaCorey Williams, but with the latter’s legal issues this summer adding another option isn’t a bad move by Mike Anderson and his staff. The last week has been a good one on the recruiting trail for the Razorbacks, with 2017 big Daniel Gafford verbally committing last week.
Jenkins joins guard Jimmy Whitt in Arkansas’ 2015 recruiting class, with four-star power forward Ted Kapita headed to prep school for at least the fall semester.