Five Cowboy Hoops Commits Sign Letters of Intent
Point guard Bradley Belt and shooting forward Branden Porter, teammates at Washington Academy in Greenville, N.C., visited the University of Wyoming during the recruiting process last November.
They are returning to Laramie, and this time they plan to stay longer than a weekend.
Belt, a 6-4, 205-pound point guard, and Porter, a 6-7, 190 pound shooting forward, both signed letters of intent to play basketball at Wyoming when the spring signing period opened on Wednesday.
By the end of the day, the Cowboys also had signed letters of intent from Tariq Johnson and Jake Hendricks. The four new signees join shooting forward Trevan Taylor of Hillcrest Prep in Arizona, who signed in the fall signing period, giving the Cowboys five new players for the 2018-19 season..
"I really believe this group fits what we were looking for in a sense of a little more maturity than the average high school player," Edwards added. "All four of these guys have the ability to impact the program from day one."
"The young men signing (Wednesday) fit in the range of 6-4 and up with great athleticism and length," Edwards added. "This group also has the ability to really shoot the basketball. I'm pleased with these guys along with TJ Taylor, who we signed in the fall. Now we need to address is a skilled big man and a guard."
Belt, a 6-4, 205-pounder from Huntsville, Ala. He played last season at Washington Academy in Greenville, N.C., under former Cowboy graduate assistant coach Bruce Martin. Belt is ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports. He averaged 29.4 point per game at Washington Academy this past season, and shot 42 percent from behind the arc.
A graduate of James Clemons High School in Huntsville, he earned All-Huntsville honors in both basketball and football. He played running back and defensive back in football. He had scholarship offers from Murray State and Alcorn State and received recruiting interest from Auburn and Alabama.
"Bradley (Belt) is a dynamic guard and is what I call a triple threat in that he can dribble, pass and shoot," UW assistant coach Jermaine Kimbrough said. "He has great athleticism that can be expected to play in the Mountain West Conference. He brings a great level of leadership on both ends of the floor."
Hendricks, a 6-5, 180-pounder from Smithfield, Utah, comes to Laramie from College of Southern Idaho. He will have two years of eligibility at Wyoming. Hendricks just finished a season that saw CSI make it to the National Junior College Championship game. He also set the CSI school record in career three pointers with 191.
This past season, Hendricks averaged 12.7 points per game adding 3.8 rebounds per night. Hendricks hit 108 three pointers, as he started all 36 games for CSI last season earning All-Region honors. At Sky View High School, Hendricks earned Second Team All-State honors adding 16.1 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He received offers from Central Florida, East Tennessee State, Chattanooga and Sacramento State among others.
"Jake (Hendricks) is a guy that is going space the floor for us," Kimbrough said. "He is a guy that played point guard in high school and his ability to handle the ball along with come off ball screens makes him a threat. He can really shoot the basketball. He played and competed for a national championship in junior college and comes from a great program that will benefit from our player development here at UW."
Johnson, a 6-5, 200-pounder from Stevensville, Md., played at Mount Zion Prep last season. He averaged 17 points per game and seven rebounds per night at Mount Zion. He also added three assists per game and two steals per night.
He played his high school basketball at Kent Island High School, as he scored over 1,000 points in two seasons. Johnson averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior and 18.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a junior earning All-Conference honors both seasons. He holds the school record for points in a game with 42. He received scholarship offers from East Tennessee State, Siena, Wagner and James Madison.
"Tariq (Johnson) is a big body guard, who is a great leader and leads his team by example," Kimbrough said. He is one of the guys that can play numerous positions that can shoot the ball and has great athletic ability. He has a great spirit that fits our culture."
Porter, a 6-8, 190-pounder from Virginia Beach, Va. was a teammate of Belt's last season at Washington Academy. At Washington Academy, Porter averaged 23 points per game to go along with 8.7 rebounds per night this past season at Washington Academy. He also averaged 2.1 assists per game and 3.1 steals, and shot 39 percent from the three pointe line.
He played high school basketball at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. He earned All-Atlantic Conference accolades, as one of the top scorers in the area adding 17.3 points per game. He also received an offer from Hampton.
"Brandon (Porter) brings a great deal of versatility," Wyoming assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt said. "He really fits the mold of an Alan Herndon and Hayden Dalton. He can dribble, pass and shoot, and with his size he really brings a lot to the table. When he is on the floor he makes the whole unit extremely versatile."
Edwards said he expects to sign at least two more players, possibly three.
They will most likely be junior college transfers or a fifth-year senior.
"We are still looking for a guy who can come in and help us now," he said.
Allen said he likes the fact that in addition to Hendricks, a junior college transfer, the four others who have signed letters of intent are from Prep Schools, meaning they graduated from high school and then played another year.at the prep school.
"They are one year removed from high school and playing junior colleges," said Allen. "They are a little more mature. It's like taking a player after one year at a junior college with three years eligibility but (the prep school player) has four years eligibility."