Lions, Coach Boone Reveal 2020 Recruiting Class

Fort Smith, AR  Lions, Coach Boone Reveal 2020 Recruiting Class

Coach Jim Boone and the UAFS Men’s Basketball program are excited to unveil their 2020 recruiting class. Boone just completed his first year as the Lions mentor, but his 34th overall as a head coach at the NCAA Division I and II levels, is currently ranked 8th nationally in wins among active coaches(571) and 38th all-time. This inaugural class of the Boone era includes 5 impact freshman: Payton Brown (Waldron), Justus Cooper (Izzard County), Drew Miller (Rogers), Dalton Gayman (Nevada, MO), and Terrell Kabala (Webb City, MO). “We are so excited about the addition of Payton, Justus, Drew, Dalton, and Terrell. All 5 young-men perfectly fit our Program’s Culture and will be great ambassadors of UAFS and members of the Fort Smith community. Each of the five are tough, hard-nosed, competitive student-athletes that enjoyed remarkable careers at their respective high schools, but more importantly they are all winners, both on and off the court!” said Boone.

Payton Brown (6’3/185 lbs) chose the Lions over many Division 1 suitors. He comes to Fort Smith from Waldron, AR where he had one of the most decorated high school careers in Arkansas History. He finishes his career scoring 2,775 total points giving him a career average of 31.2 points per game along with 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists. His career high of 60 points beat the previous Waldron record held by his Father (Jason Brown). The three time All State guard also led the entire state of Arkansas in scoring all three years of his prep career, and plans on majoring in Business at UAFS. “We are so excited to welcome Payton and his family to the UAFS Lion Pride! He brings with him a knack for scoring the ball as an Elite Level shooter, but is also one of the toughest competitors I have seen in a long time.” said Boone.

Justus Cooper (6’5/210) signed with UAFS following multiple Division 1 offers. “We have known Justus for a long time, and he fits our culture in every way!” Boone said “His toughness and versatility are going to be a major part of our future at UAFS.” Cooper is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at Izard County Consolidated High School scoring 2,100+ points and collecting over 2,000 rebounds. He led his team to the 2019 Class A State championship, and was named the State Championship MVP. He was named to the Arkansas All State team all four years of his high school career. Justus, who was the Valedictorian of his graduating class, plans to major in Business at UAFS.

Drew Miller (6’5/185) from Rogers HS in Arkansas rounds out the third of the Lion’s In – State recruiting class. Drew was a part of one of the biggest turnarounds in 6A basketball history. The 6’5 guard is a two-time All State performer in the vaunted 6A West and led his team to a #1 state ranking. For his career, Miller averaged 15ppg, 7 rpg, and 3 apg and was named to the All State Tournament Team. “Drew’s size and ability to knock down the 3 are huge, but more importantly he fits who we are,” said Boone, ” We did our homework in recruiting Drew and he is our kind of guy! His toughness and intangibles are going to be intricate in our building of the Lion Way.”

The Lions also had two out of state signees from Missouri.

Dalton Gayman (6’6/215) is coming to the UAFS Family from Nevada HS. Gayman was a force this year for the Tigers as he led them to a 22-4 record and a deep run in the Missouri State Basketball Tournament. Dalton averaged 21.4 ppg and 8.4 rebounds per game as the versatile forward shot 61% from the field as well as 44% from 3, earning the Conference Player of the Year as well as Prep Hoops All- State Honors. Gayman is also a member of the distinguished 1,000 point scorer club at Nevada High School. “Adding Dalton to the Lion family was an absolute Home Run for us!” continued Boone, “Dalton is going to fit seamlessly into our offense with his versatility and his ability to shoot the basketball. He will become an Elite Defender as well, and that is the calling card of Lion Basketball – DEFENSE!”

The last future Lion mentioned, is actually the first of the 5 to sign his National Letter of Intent. Terrell Kabala (6’1/195) is bringing his talents to Fort Smith after a stellar multisport athletic career at Webb City HS in Southwest Missouri. Kabala earned class 4A All-State in both basketball (PG) and football (Running Back). Terrell exhibits a rare combination of incredible strength and athleticism as the big guard consistently bullied his opposition, on the court and the field. Terrell earned the Class 4 District Player of the Year honors after averaging 15 ppg, 5rpg, and 4 apg as a Senior. He also is a 1,000 point scorer at Webb City HS doing so in only 3 years as his sophomore season was cut short due to injury. Coach Boone is quoted as saying, “The point guard position was of paramount importance for us in the 2020 recruiting class and Terrell checked all the boxes. His strength and toughness are what we are all about at UAFS and his ability to see the floor and break the defense down are going to bring value to our program early and often.”

All 5 Freshmen will be enrolled at UAFS in August and are poised to set the foundation for the future of Lions Basketball Success. “The Future is bright,” says Boone, “I cannot wait to get these guys on campus and get to work!”

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