Three weeks after traveling to Louisiana for an official visit, Itawamba (Miss.) Community College guard Tyrone Wooten made a verbal commitment to sign in November with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
ICC coach Grant Pate told the Cajun Redzone on Wednesday that the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Wooten plans to sign a binding national letter of intent with the Cajuns during the NCAA’s Nov. 12-19 signing period.
“He visited there from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4 and visited Cal State Bakersfield after that,” Pate said. “All along he felt that he wanted to sign early and talked about taking two or three visits and making his decision after those visits. He felt really good about both schools, but Louisiana Lafayette was much closer and he felt comfortable with the program. The opportunity to play a couple of positions and compete for playing time right away really appealed to him.”
Last season Wooten averaged 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, shot 37.1 percent from the 3-point line and made 83 percent of his free throws as a freshman while playing alongside NJCAA All-America guard Alex Anderson. Wooten ranked second on a 17-win team that won the MACJC state tournament title in 3s made (36) and third in scoring behind Anderson, now at UT Martin, and current Harding University guard Johnthan McGee.
Pate said Cal State Bakersfield, UT Martin, Ole Miss, UTEP, Texas State, Troy, ULM and Southeastern Louisiana also visited ICC to see Wooten before he committed to play for Cajuns coach Bob Marlin, a Mississippi native. Cal State Bakersfield and UT Martin also offered.
“Tyrone can play the two and the three on the wing and feels like he can compete at both positions because of his size,” Pate said. “He’s a natural scorer, very athletic and shoots the ball well and can get to the basket. He plays fast and is tough in the open court and in transition.”
“Coach Marlin really likes his abilities to score, shoot it and get to the basket,” Pate said. “He’s got a really good skill level for a wing and could excel at those two spots for that program with those guys (Rimmer and Williams) leaving.”
According to Pate, Wooten will be expected to play a bigger role this season for ICC.
“His role will grow more in his second year with us,” Pate said. “Last year he was more of an X-factor for us because we had two other guys that could score. This year he will have a chance to score more and be more of a first scoring option. We’ll also need him to be more of a leader.”
Wooten arrived at ICC after a standout career at Trezevant High School in Memphis, Tenn. As a junior he led the city of Memphis in scoring at more than 22 points per game and made the Class AA all-state team.
His scoring dipped slightly as a senior due to having a better supporting cast, but he still scored nearly 19 points per game and earned a spot on the Class AA all-state team again.
“We watched him a lot in high school and noticed him right away,” Pate said. “My assistant coaches (Adam Kirk and Jason Smith) really built a relationship with Tyrone. He had a natural ability to score and was an outstanding young man. He fit in with our program because he’s a good basketball player and a good young man with character who works really hard.”
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