Utah State will add a second junior college All-American in time for the upcoming season.
A source close to the basketball program told the Deseret News that Norvell Arnold, a 6-5 junior swingman out of Southeast Iowa Community College, will join the team.
Because it is currently a dead period where athletes are not allowed to sign with colleges, Arnold’s official signing of a National Letter of Intent will have to wait a while. Arnold slipped from the radar in most recruiting circles but just completed his academic work to become eligible to transfer to a Division I school.
Arnold will land at Utah State after numerous stops and spoke to the Deseret News Tuesday morning about his decision to join the Aggies.
“The coaches I talked to said they were looking for another wing. I looked up the program and I saw them in the tournament a bunch of times,” Arnold said in a phone interview. “I could have gone to any old school. But I didn’t want to go to any old school. I wanted to go to a winning team.”
Arnold said he had been recruited heavily by Oklahoma State and Iowa State. But when it appeared his academic progress might not be complete in time, most schools backed off their recruiting.
“They weren’t sure,” Arnold said. “Some schools stuck with me but some schools left. That’s why it took so long for me to get with a school, I guess.”
Arnold is originally from Harlem, N.Y., but later moved to San Diego where he played at Hoover High. At Hoover, Arnold averaged 19.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent as a junior.
He left Hoover and enrolled in a prep school in Houston called Gulf Shores Academy but the basketball situation there, he said, “everything went down the drain.”
He then enrolled at Progessive Christian School in New York and graduated. Without much of a high school basketball resume, Arnold found himself in Iowa.
At Southeast Iowa, Arnold was a second-team All-American and rated as the No. 21 junior college player in the country.
He averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the floor. He also averaged about five rebounds and two assists per game.
He shot a respectable 36 percent from the 3-point range but his offensive game is that of a driver and slasher.
With the wing position well stocked with Pooh Williams and Tyler Newbold as four-year starters, Arnold said he will be happy to redshirt the coming season.
“Those guys have worked hard and I wouldn’t want to try and take anything away from them,” he said. “So I told the coaches I’d be willing to redshirt and work on my game to get bigger. Then I’ll give the team everything I got for two years.”
Arnold, who said he has not visited USU yet, said Aggie fans will like his game.
“I’ll bring a lot of athleticism and a lot of hustle,” he said. “I like to think defense is my main thing and I’m just really happy to be coming to a school with a winning program. That was real important to me.”
According to Bob Gibbons, a noted recruiting expert, Arnold showed potential as a high school junior. “Wiry athlete who competes hard in the paint. Did a great job hitting the offensive glass. Can dribble penetrate from the wing. Excellent athlete, who gives max effort. Perimeter shooting is a question mark,” Gibbons wrote in 2006. “Just doesn’t take a lot of jumpers at this stage, so it’s hard to evaluate. Still, as a junior he looks like he could be a mid-major steal. Tweener size keeps him from being high major unless he demonstrates a more perimeter oriented game.”