UA hoops set to add to the mix

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Bryant guard Khalen Robinson dribbles during a game against Bentonville on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Bentonville West High School in Centerton.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Bryant guard Khalen Robinson dribbles during a game against Bentonville on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Bentonville West High School in Centerton.

Today begins the spring signing period for basketball and University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and staff are expected to ink at least five players during the period that ends Aug. 1.

The signing period was to run through May 20 but was extended after the NCAA implemented a dead period which forbids on-campus visits for prospects until May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hogs are expected to sign graduate transfers forward Vance Jackson and guard Jalen Tate today. Guard Khalen Robinson said on social media late Tuesday night that he will sign April 20, tweeting, "It's a special day for my family!"

Jacksonville guard Davonte Davis signed with the Hogs in November.

Tate, 6-6, 180, of Northern Kentucky received interest from Cincinnati, Ohio State, Central Florida, Kansas State, Gonzaga and others after entering the NCAA transfer portal March 27.

ESPN rates Tate the No. 15 best graduate transfer with immediate eligibility currently in the portal.

He averaged 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a redshirt junior and was the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. He was also was named to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team in 2018 and 2019.

Tate's father, Jermaine, played professionally for 13 years overseas after playing at Ohio State and Cincinnati while his brother, Jae'Sean, was a forward for Ohio State from 2014-18.

"Having a basketball family, honestly you find a way to make you own name, not like lil' Tate or Jae'Seans little brother, just having that go to go at someone or just that edge," Tate said. "The mental aspect of the game, I've seen millions of games at this point, so I just apply what I learn in almost every game to my game."

Jackson, 6-9, 225, picked Arkansas over interest from Memphis, Louisville, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Washington State and others.

He averaged 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds last season while shooting 41.4% from the field, 34.2% on three-pointers and 71.4% from the free-throw line. He averaged 13.1 points, 7 rebounds, 2.6 assists as a sophomore.

Jackson is No. 32 on ESPN's best graduate transfer list.

Robinson, 6-1, 180 pounds, played his senior season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia after transferring from Bryant. ESPN rates him a 4-star prospect, No. 20 point guard and the No. 82 overall recruiting in the nation.

He accumulated scholarship offers from Florida, Texas A&M, Kansas, TCU, Illinois, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt and others before he pledged to the Hogs over Thanksgiving.

"It's a blessing to have it to this point, and signing the letter of intent breaks the barrier to the next level," Robinson said. "I'm excited."

Two of Arkansas' high school commitments, center Jaylin Williams and shooting guard Moses Moody plan to sign but have yet to set a date.

Williams, 6-10, 230, pledged to the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from Auburn, Oklahoma State, UConn, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Illinois and others Nov. 23. While he doesn't have a firm date to sign with the Hogs, he's ready to get it done.

"I'm ready to sign, I'm ready to be in Fayetteville getting ready for [the] season," Williams said."I just want to play ball."

He averaged 19.6 points and 12.6 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and was named Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Division I Boys Player of the Year, while also making the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps first team. He was also named Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas.

ESPN rates Williams a 4-star prospect, the No. 13 center and No. 88 overall recruit in the nation. He's excited about joining Davis, Robinson, Jackson, Tate and Moody in Fayetteville.

"I think our class is great," he said. "This class that's coming in really brings in everything that the team was missing next year. I think we are going to prove a bunch of people wrong this season."

Moody, 6-6, 190 led North Little Rock to the Class 7A state title as a sophomore before transferring to Montverde (Fla.) Academy for his junior and senior seasons. He helped the Eagles to a 25-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the country by ESPN as a senior.

He averaged 11.6 points while shooting 60.1% from the field, 46.9% from three-point range and 82.1 % from the free-throw line this season. ESPN rates Moody a 4-star prospect, the No. 10 shooting guard and No. 38 overall prospect in the nation.

Arkansas is actively recruiting other graduate transfers.

Purdue center Matt Haarms, 7-3, 250, announced Arkansas, Arizona, Boston College, BYU, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Memphis, Minnesota, Texas Tech and North Carolina-Greensboro as finalists on Saturday.

Guard Justin Kier, 6-4, 197, of George Mason included Arkansas in his recently released top 10 and reportedly had a virtual visit with the Hogs on Tuesday.

Sports on 04/15/2020

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