A day after it was supposed to host one top-50 recruit on an official visit, Arkansas basketball landed a commitment from another in Isaiah Elohim.
The small forward out of Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, Calif., picked the Razorbacks over Kansas and Villanova on Thursday. He also considered USC and Providence earlier in the process.
The Razorbacks now have two commitments in the 2024 class. The first was four-star small forward Jalen Shelley, who is from Frisco, Texas, and is playing his senior season at Link Academy in Branson, Mo.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Elohim is originally from Kingston, N.Y., but has played his entire high school career in the Los Angeles area. He put up big numbers at Heritage Christian, in Northridge, Calif., as a freshman before transferring to national powerhouse Sierra Canyon.
Playing alongside four sons of NBA standouts — Bronny and Bryce James (LeBron James), Ashton Hardaway (Penny Hardaway) and Justin Pippen (Scottie Pippen) — Elohim still managed to average 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as a junior, helping the Trailblazers reach the CIF Division I state semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Notre Dame.
The Razorbacks had been set to host Rakease Passmore, a four-star prospect out of Combine Academy (North Carolina) beginning Wednesday for the Red-White Game and things seemed to be trending in their favor, but he recently canceled the trip and is instead visiting Kansas this weekend.
That news came about the same time as Elohim-to-Arkansas began picking up steam. He took an official visit to Fayetteville last month and got to experience the Arkansas fanbase during the BYU football game.
Another Top-100 Recruit for Arkansas Basketball
Isaiah Elohim is ranked as high as No. 34 by Rivals, with On3 just behind that at No. 35. He checks in at No. 42 on 247Sports and No. 53 on ESPN.
In the two rankings that combine the major recruiting services — the 247Sports Composite and On3 Industry Ranking — Elohim is No. 38 nationally.
Even though it is the lowest of the bunch, ESPN’s ranking is significant because Eric Musselman is now 15 for 15 with high school recruits being inside the top 100 since taking over the Arkansas basketball program.
As seen in the lists below, that is the fourth-most such players landed over the five-year span beginning with the 2020 class, trailing only Duke (22), Kentucky (18) and North Carolina (16).
Those numbers can and will change as more players announce their decisions — 40 of the top 100 are still uncommitted — but Arkansas is in good company, as those three schools are unmistakably among the sport’s blue bloods.
Musselman Re-establishing Arkansas as a National Brand
That statistic is just the latest example of how much Eric Musselman has elevated the Arkansas basketball program since being hired in 2019.
Even though the Razorbacks have yet to break through and reach the Final Four, they have made back-to-back Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 the last three years.
Couple that on-court success with Musselman’s NBA background and marketing skills on social media and Arkansas is once again becoming a national brand.
Eight of the Razorbacks’ aforementioned ESPN top-100 signees have hailed from the Natural State, while Anthony Black, Jordan Walsh and Jalen Shelley have seemingly established a pipeline into the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Even Chance Moore (Georgia) and Barry Dunning Jr. (Alabama) came to Arkansas from the SEC footprint.
However, Baye Fall in the most recent class and now Isaiah Elohim in the current cycle illustrate Musselman’s ability to recruit players from anywhere in the country. No longer is Arkansas limited to homegrown or regional talent, which is why missing out on a player like Annor Boateng from Little Rock Central isn’t the death knell it might have been under previous regimes.
Even legendary coach Nolan Richardson seemed to recruit most of his players from this region, most notably dipping into the Memphis pipeline, but when he got the program rolling, he could also recruit nationally.
He actually signed the Razorbacks’ last two scholarship high school prospects from California: Darnell Robinson and Chris Jefferies. Robinson was a McDonald’s and Parade All-American in 1993 and was part of Arkansas’ back-to-back national title appearances, while Jefferies was a 1998 signee who spent one year in Fayetteville before becoming a first-round pick at Fresno State.
Richardson also went into the Bronx to land another McDonald’s All-American in Kareem Reid in the 1994 class and signed Pat Bradley from Massachusetts in 1995. Before he was fired, he had secured the signature of Andre Iguodala from Illinois, as well.
Landing players like that from non-traditional recruiting territories was possible because of Richardson’s success earlier in his tenure, which included an appearance in the 1990 Final Four.
Whether or not Musselman can replicate the level of winning achieved by Richardson remains to be seen, but he has certainly elevated the program back into the national spotlight.
ESPN Top-100 Recruits Since 2020
Here is how many ESPN top-100 recruits each school in the SEC has landed since the 2020 class, as well as how Arkansas basketball stacks up nationally in that statistic…
|SEC Team||Top-100 Recruits||National||Top-100 Recruits|
Check out some highlights of new Arkansas basketball commit Isaiah Elohim:
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