LITTLE ROCK — Eric Musselman made his first recruiting splash at Arkansas on Saturday as grad-transfer Jeantal Cylla committed to the Razorbacks during his weekend official visit to Fayetteville.
“All glory to God,” were Cylla’s words in a Twitter post he made Saturday afternoon to announce his commitment to the Razorbacks.
Cylla becomes Musselman’s first commitment at Arkansas, and given the Head Hogs’ philosophy that a transfer at the college level is effectively the same as a free agent at the professional level, it makes sense that his first recruiting prize would be a veteran player who can come in and provide leadership with a realistic expectation to produce as the 2019-20 season is roughly six months away.
Cylla is a 6-7 forward who was a fourth-year junior last season at North Carolina-Wilmington. After finishing his high school career at Lake Worth (FL) Christian, Cylla played two seasons at Florida Atlantic before transferring to UNCW. After redshirting in ’17-18 he averaged 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game and shot 42.7% field goals (including 31.1% from 3 while averaging one make per game from distance) and 84.8% free throws in ’18-19.
Once he formalizes his transfer to Arkansas, Cylla will have one year of immediate playing eligibility with the Hogs in ’19-20.
Cylla was reportedly drawing interest from multiple high-major programs — Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oregon State — after entering his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal following the ’18-19 season.
“I’m not surprised that (Musselman has) hit the ground running getting a pledge this soon,” said Joe Johnson Arkansas Hawks chairman Bill Ingram, whose Hawks program has had several players go on the play for the Hogs.
Ingram believes Musselman is embracing an important part of recruiting in the current landscape of college basketball.
“It’s obvious that going after grad-transfers is a viable recruiting tool right now,” Ingram said. “And it’s good to see (Musselman) get involved with that.”
Musselman and the Hogs are expected to host at least three more grad-transfers in the next two weeks.
The next grad-transfer visitor to Arkansas — Jaire Grayer (6-5 guard, George Mason) — is planning to be in Fayetteville on Monday, April 29.
Grayer averaged 8.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per outing through seven games played in his 2018-19 senior campaign at George Mason — a season that ended abruptly with a foot injury that has led him to seek a medical redshirt and a subsequent extra year of eligibility in ’19-20.
In parts of four seasons combined at George Mason, Grayer averaged a combined 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 35% from 3.
Two more grad-transfer guards are looking to visit Fayetteville in early May.
High Point’s Jahaad Proctor (6-3 guard, native of Harrisburg, PA) and Florida Gulf Coast’s Haanif Cheatham (6-5 wing) will take official visits to Arkansas the weekend of May 3-5.
Proctor earned second-team All Big South honors after averaging 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes per game while shooting 46.4% field goals, including 33.1% from 3, plus 77.1% free throws as a junior in 2018-19 for High Point, which finished 16-15 overall and 9-7 in the Big South.
As a redshirt sophomore at High Point in ’17-18, Proctor also made the All Big South second team after averaging 15.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 43.2% from 3.
Proctor, who began his career at Iona as a freshman in ’15-16 before transferring to High Point, will be a 5th-year senior with immediate eligibility in ’19-20.
Proctor was expected to visit Purdue this weekend. In addition to the Razorbacks and Boilermakers, Proctor is reportedly drawing interest from West Virginia, Wichita State, Stanford, and Virginia Tech.
Cheatham spent two full seasons and part of a third at Marquette of the Big East conference before transferring to FGCU where he averaged 13.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists as a starter through 10 games in ’18-19 before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his season.
Ranked national No. 75 and a 4-star prospect coming out of high school in 2015, Cheatham will have one season of immediate playing eligibility in ’19-20.
Cheatham is also considering Nebraska, Cincinnati, Arizona, and Virginia Tech.