Indiana prep basketball star Brachen Hazen is excited about being the first player that new Arkansas assistant coach Scotty Thurman has come after in his new post.
Thurman made contact with Columbia City standout Hazen (6-7, 200) – a three-star prospect who will visit Arkansas officially next Monday through Wednesday - after the former University of Central Florida got his release last week.
“It’s an honor that I am being recruited by Scotty, who got in touch with me last week and told me that Arkansas was looking for a player like me and that I would fit in really well for them,” Hazen said Friday night. “He has me really interested in Arkansas."
Razorback head coach Mike Anderson, assistant Melvin Watkins and Thurman – whose hiring has not been announced officially by the school yet - made the trip to Indiana this week to watch Hazen work out and visit with him in his home.
“They flew up to my school to see me work out and then I got a chance to host them in my home,” Hazen said. “They all seem like really nice guys and I liked what they had to say.”
Hazen, who averaged 16.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.7 points his senior season, has been selected to play in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star games July 11 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and July 12 at Bellamine University in Louisville.
His younger brother - 6-6 junior standout Parker Hazen (15.8, 6.6) ), a top 2017 prospect, has been selected to play in the Indiana Boys Junior All-Star Games June 7 and June 9.
“Arkansas sees me as a stretch four guy that can also play the three,” Hazen said. “They have a lot of great players coming back and coming in and see me as a guy that could come in and play a big role and help them be successful.
“I think I shoot the ball really well and can run the floor. I think I would fit in really well with the way that Arkansas wants to play.”
Hazen signed with UCF in November over Maryland, Clemson, Creighton, Valparaiso and others, but the Knights went 12-18 this season and that resulted in six-year head coach Donnie Jones being fired.
He met with new UCF coach Johnny Dawkins – the former Stanford head coach – but decided that he wanted to re-open his recruitment.
“I had a great relationship with Coach Jones and that was the main reason I was willing to go all the way to Florida,” Hazen said. “With him being let go, I decided I didn’t want to go there anymore and wanted to take a look at other options.”
While Maryland and Clemson have already filled their spots, Arkansas joins Purdue, Ball State and Vanderbilt as schools Hazen is now considering.
Arkansas used its home visit Monday while Ball State – where he plans to also officially visit - was in Tuesday.
Hazen took a one-day visit to Purdue on Thursday and one Friday to Vanderbilt, whose head coach is now Bryce Drew, who had been recruiting Hazen at Valparaiso.
“This time the process is moving right along,” Hazen said. “I will take the visit to Arkansas and should have a decision made soon – like in the next two weeks.
“I have been to see all the other schools so I should know pretty quickly.”