Arkansas Going Coast-to-Coast in Latest Recruiting Surge

Isaiah Elohim, Josh Cohen, Arkansas basketball, transfer portal
photo credit: Twitter/Isaiah Elohim / UMass Athletics

Prior to this past season, the Arkansas basketball team had never featured a player from New Jersey.

If head coach Eric Musselman gets his way, the Razorbacks could have two such players on next year’s roster.

Not only are they still awaiting a decision from Khalif Battle, who is getting some feedback from the NBA before choosing what to do next year, but they are also set to host UMass transfer Josh Cohen for a visit this week.

Cohen is a 6-foot-10 big man who will also visit Xavier, Notre Dame and Penn State, according to On3’s Joe Tipton. He’s originally from Lincroft, N.J., which is about a 40-minute drive from Battle’s hometown of Hillside. They also spent a majority of their college career at a school in Pennsylvania, with Battle starring at Temple and Cohen playing at Saint Francis.

It was at Saint Francis that Cohen evolved into a legitimate high-major prospect. After redshirting in 2019-20, he played some as a redshirt freshman before enjoying a breakout campaign as a redshirt sophomore. He averaged 12.9 points and 7.0 rebounds en route to earning the NEC’s Most Improved Player award.

That set the stage for a monster redshirt junior season in which he put up 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and was named the NEC’s co-Player of the Year.

The player with whom he shared that award, Jordan Minor of Merrimack, transferred to Virginia. Cohen also hit the portal, but landed in the A-10 at UMass. Although his numbers decreased, he proved he was capable of producing against significantly better competition, averaging 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds while earning first-team all-conference accolades.

If the Razorbacks are able to reel him in, it’d be the second time they’ve reached into the basketball-rich conference for a big man. In fact, two years ago, they double-dipped by landing Makhi and Makhel Mitchell.

Both of the Mitchells are now gone, as are Jalen Graham and Chandler Lawson, so landing a big man — or two — is one of many priorities in the transfer portal for Musselman.

He and his staff are once again casting a wide net in their pursuit of transfers, reportedly contacting more than 40 players in the portal.

Checking on Arkansas Basketball Signees

About the only certainty surrounding next year’s Arkansas basketball roster is that it’ll feature two stud freshmen in Isaiah Elohim and Jalen Shelley.

Fans will actually have a chance to watch the latter of those two play on national television next week, as Shelley will try to help Link Academy defend its national title in the Chipotle Nationals.

The eight-team event begins April 4 in Brownsburg, Ind., with the Lions as the 6 seed. They’ll face 3-seed Prolific Prep at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU. If they advance past that, the semifinals and championship will air on ESPN2 the next two days.

On the flip side, Elohim’s season ended nearly a month ago, as Sierra Canyon – a powerhouse program in California – was knocked out of the CIF State Open Division playoffs in the first round.

In a game marred by some weird clock malfunctions in the final seconds, the Trailblazers lost to St. Joseph 69-68 on a buzzer beater by 2025 five-star recruit Tounde Yessoufou. However, Elohim played well, notching a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Legacy Recruit Racks Up Accolades

Fresh off a dominant sophomore season capped by another state title, JJ Andrews has been racking up quite a few awards to add to an already impressive basketball resume.

The awards started in the state championship, as he was named the MVP of Little Rock Christian’s 71-56 win over Farmington in the Arkansas Class 4A title game on March 7. The 6-foot-6 forward had 19 points and 8 rebounds.

Those numbers were actually below his season averages of 21 points and 10 rebounds — plus 3.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1 block — which have made him a candidate for the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year award and earned him Underclassman of the Year honors from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

This is the second year in a row he’s been recognized as the top underclassman in Arkansas by the statewide paper. Last year, he earned the honor after averaging 16.6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists while helping the Warriors win the state title as a freshman.

Son of Hogs football legend Shawn Andrews, JJ is a five-star recruit and ranked 18th nationally in the 2026 class by the 247Sports Composite. In two seasons at Little Rock Christian, he has scored 1,290 career points.

USA Basketball Invites

The state of Arkansas will be well represented in the USA Junior National Team minicamp that is scheduled in conjunction with the Final Four in Phoenix early next month.

Among the invitees are a trio of players from the Natural State, including Little Rock Christian’s JJ Andrews and Maumelle’s Jacob Lanier in the 2026 class and Benton’s Terrion Burgess in the 2025 class.

Burgess is ranked as high as No. 36 overall by 247Sports, while Lanier is ranked as high as No. 38 overall by On3.


As you can see below, Cohen is a below-the-rim player, but he makes up for that with great footwork:

YouTube video

YouTube video

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