Pallas signing | Clarke and Jones signing | Pope YouTube highlights
ARLINGTON, Texas -- UT Arlington men's basketball coach Scott Cross announced the signing of Faith Pope from Tyler Junior College to a national letter of intent. Pope joins Nick Pallas, Mairega Clarke and Jalen Jones in the recruiting class for the 2015-16 season.
"We're extremely excited about Faith," Cross said. "He's about 6-7, extremely athletic and long. He shot a very high percentage from the 3-point line at about 40 percent. He can play multiple positions, guard in zone, help in man, he can front the post and can guard point guards if needed. He's also a great shot blocker."
Pope (6-7, 195) starred for Tyler JC for the last two seasons under head coach Mike Marquis, and assistants Mitch Marquis and Jonathan Edwards. Pope helped lead the Apaches to a 25-9 record and an appearance in the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, last season.
"Faith comes from a great program," Cross said. "Coach Marquis does a great job at TJC, which is also my alma mater. He only recruits high-character guys and that's one of the things that attracted us to Faith. TJC made it to Hutch last season which is the equivalent to making it to the NCAAs. He reminds us a little bit of Donny Beachum, who played for us on the 2003-04 team that won the Southland championship."
Faith was named to the 2014-15 All-Region XIV Team after averaging 12.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The Mt. Pleasant, Iowa native shot 53.7 percent from the floor, including 43.5 percent from outside the 3-point arc, and 67.4 percent at the line. Faith averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman.
"First and foremost he's a tremendous young man," Marquis said. "He's going to be fun to be around as a teammate and fun to coach. Fans will really like him. He plays with a lot of energy, is very athletic, and is always smiling and upbeat.
"The thing I'm going to miss the most is the 80-100 dunks a year he gave me the last two years. TJC is a special place and it's a great place for a good kid to go to school. We've been fortunate to have the success we've had. One of the things we wanted for Faith was a place where the expectations for success and academics were high. Knowing Coach Cross and Coach Greg Young for years, I knew UT Arlington would be the perfect place for him."
The Mavericks signed Bradley Gay out of TJC in 2010. UT Arlington won the Southland regular-season title in 2012 with Gay playing a vital role.
"Bradley was a big part of our championship team," Cross said. "He's an extremely high-character person. He always went above and beyond. Those are the type of guys that Coach Marquis recruits and the same type of guys we like in our program."
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