Tim Floyd has received a commitment from Jalen Ragland, a 6'5" small forward from Chillicothe Ohio. Ragland was drawing interest from schools across the beltway. He selected UTEP over heavy interest from Virginia Commonwealth, Duquesne, Wright State, Tulane, Marshall, Ohio, Kent State and others. He told Ohio Hoops that he selected UTEP after visiting El Paso over the weekend.
Jalen hasn't yet received a "star" grade from Rivals.com but ESPN's Scouts Inc. grades him at a very impressive 85. ESPN (Insider) had this to say about Ragland:
Jaylen is one of the top sleepers in the state of Ohio. He is a long and lanky wing with developing skills. He continues to grow as he has grown 2 inches in the past 12 months. He is a good but streaky shooter with range to 20 feet....
Jackets Online, a Georgia Tech Rivals site, had this to say on Ragland:
When he has it going, Ragland can flat out shoot the basketball. In a morning win, Ragland had it absolutely working from three. He hit shot after shot from distance, and at 6-foot-5 with long arms, it is tough to really contest him when he is in the zone. The challenge for Ragland is now to be a consistent shooter game in and game out because he can be very hot and cold, but when he is in the zone he puts up big numbers.
One down. Tim Floyd will have eight scholarships to fill after this years senior laden squad hits graduation. I like seeing Floyd bring in a Ragland for obvious reasons. First, it appears he can play the 2 or 3 and at 6'5 he has the size to do either at the D-1 level. Second, I like to see that UTEP is making inroads recruiting in Ohio. In fact, researching this post, I was trying to figure out, who recruited Ragland in Ohio? Phil Johnson is a West Coast expert and William Small recruits the Southeast.
Taking a quick look at at UTEP's official roster I saw that Jason Niblett has in fact been named a UTEP assistant. Remember Niblett? When the Martinsville Bulletin first announced the hire, the national media took turns attacking Floyd for a so-called "package deal" hire. Niblett coached UTEP commits Michael Haynes and Desmond Lee at Heat Academy. For the record, no NCAA rules were violated when Floyd hired him, in fact, the rule was intended to eliminate the hire of high and prep school coaches to "Director of Operations" and other positions. It had no bearing on a coaches decision to hire someone to a coveted assistant coaching position (of which coaches are only allowed three). I defended the Niblett hire, and still do, because he is clearly qualified to be an assistant coach and I knew his recruiting ties across the Midwest could pay dividends down the road.
I don't know if Niblett was responsible, at all, in the Ragland recruiting, but, with the staff now officially, fully, intact; it's clear that Tim Floyd is recruiting from coast to coast.