Arkansas now has six basketball signees in its 2016 recruiting class.
Razorback head coach Mike Anderson announced Friday that the Razorbacks had signed Columbia City, IN, standout Brachen Hazen (6-8, 200) who committed to on Tuesday during his official visit to Fayetteville.
Hazen was first contacted by new Arkansas assistant coach Scotty Thurman and later was visited by Anderson and assistant coaches Melvin Watkins and Thurman.
“We are excited to add Brachen to our 2016 class,” Anderson said. “He’s a skilled forward with size, versatility, a good basketball IQ, toughness and a great work ethic.
“Brachen is athletic, can score, rebound and is a perfect fit for the #Fastest40 Minutes of basketball. He is a high character kid that comes from a great family. We couldn’t be happier to have Brachen join our family here at Arkansas.”
Hazen noted that he was happy to be on board while being interviewed on Richard Davenport’s Recruiting Thursday radio show.
“It was just the great feeling that me and my parents got from the coaching staff, the town and all the players,” Hazen said. “We just really felt like it was the best place for me to be.
“My family is super close…We don’t make a decision usually without consulting each other, but throughout the campus visit and tooling around the whole entire area, we just kept looking at each other like this is where you need to go and where you need to be.
“It really only took like a 30-second conversation between us to decide this is where I wanted to go and it really happened in the elevator as we were getting ready to go to supper with Coach Anderson.
“I told them that I was going to pull the trigger when he offered me a scholarship and that’s kind of how it all went down.”
Hazen is a three-star prospect that averaged 16.1 points and 9.3 rebounds for Columbia City last season after playing AAU basketball for Spiece Indy Heat.
“All my games in high school are totally different than how I played on the AAU circuit,” Hazen said. “Being 6-8 in Indiana, you are destined to be a post player in that state.
“…I kinda wanted to be like a Kevin Durant because I look up to him. So when I joined the AAU circuit I wanted to stretch my game from outside the post like handling the ball, shooting threes and attacking the basket, getting fouled and being aggressive.
“That kind of attracted me to Razorback basketball and how they get out and run. I would like to think I can shoot it really well from beyond the three, although it is something I can work on as well, and then getting to the basket, rebounding and blocking shots.
“I want to be an all-around player that can do a lot of things. Coach Anderson described me as a player that cam kind of do it all.”
Hazen originally signed with the University of Central Florida, but asked for and received his release earlier this month when head coach Donnie Jones was fired.
Anderson has a plan for how he will use Hazen.
“He sees me as a 3-4, someone who can step out and shoot it and run the floor, but in the end he said he just wants me to be a basketball player that uses my instincts and to help the team win by using all my abilities to make the team great.”
Hazen got a good feel about the Fayetteville area on his visit.
“I come from a super small town here in Indiana and I kind of got a feel of being home when I was just walking around and driving around that area,” Hazen said. “So that definitely attracted me to the area and coming down there.
“…It definitely surpassed our expectations.”
Arkansas has signed three of the nation’s top six junior college players in point guard Jaylen Barford (6-5, 210), Daryl Macon (6-4, 180) and Arlando Cook (6-9, 215).
Hazen makes it a trio of high school signees as well by joining Adrio Bailey (6-8, 205) and fellow spring signee C.J. Jones (6-5, 180).
The Razorbacks will also add Colorado transfer Dustin Thomas (6-7, 225) to the active roster in the 2016-2017 season.