Warner, Okla., Connors State power forward Arlando Cook completed quite the junior college recruiting haul for Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson on Friday night when he signed with the Razorbacks.
Cook (6-9, 215) joins McMinnville, Tenn., Motlow, Community College point guard Jaylen Barford (6-5, 210) and Holmes, Miss., Community College shooting guard Daryl Macon (6-4, 180) to give Arkansas three of the nation’s top five junior college prospects.
That trio joins Campti, La., Lakeview prep forward Adrio Bailey (6-8, 205) to give the Razorbacks what should be an impact recruiting class.
“When you talk about that class, I think we were looking for some experience, looking for some toughness, we were looking for guys athletic that fit what we are doing,” Anderson said.
Arkansas has anywhere from 6-8 scholarships to offer in the 2016 class depending on the status of currently suspended Razorbacks Anton Beard and Dustin Thomas.
The Razorbacks are hoping to add Bentonville star Malik Monk (6-4, 190) among others.
“We are definitely excited about it, but we are not through with that class yet,” Anderson said.
“We are losing some guard play, matter of fact we were one scholarship short this year, but with those guys that are coming, I think we are kind of reloading with some quality, quality players that fit what we are doing and we come in and have an impact and have an impact right away.”
Bailey signed on Wednesday as the week-long early singing period opened, Macon on Thursday and then Barford and Bailey both inked their national letter-of-intents on Friday.
Barford currently leads the nation in scoring at 29 points per game while Macon is sixth in the country at 26 points per game.
Cook, a St. Louis native, committed to Nevada in September before backing away from that pledge and committing to Arkansas just days later.
"I just had second thoughts when I committed Nevada because it was so early when I did it” Cook said. “Another factor was Arkansas was closer to home and my mother, who is a single parent, could see me play and I could be closer to her.”
He is averaging 16.5 points and 11 rebounds so far this season and also had offers from Oklahoma State, Iowa State, LSU, Arizona State, Kansas State and others.
“This was a difficult decision for me,” said Cook. “I wanted to play for a coach that would take care of me over the next two years, like Coach (Bill) Muse did here at Connors. When you are playing basketball it’s more than just basketball. It’s also the people you’re around.
“The coaching staff at Arkansas is good people to be around. With me having two years left, those are the type of people I want to be around."
Anderson was obviously pleased to land Cook.
“Arlando is a versatile forward with size who we feel like can come in and make an impact in our program right away,” Anderson said. “He’s long, athletic, skilled, can really score the basketball, has excellent rebounding ability and plays lockdown defense.
“I love the versatility and experience Arlando brings to this class. He is certainly one of the best forwards in the country coming from the junior college ranks. He’s instinctive, plays with a chip on his shoulder and we can’t wait to have him wear the Razorback uniform next year.”
Bailey had 11 double-doubles as a freshman last season while averaging 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 57.2 percent from the field for a 33-2 team.