UAB head basketball coach Jerod Haase and his players use the terminology “grind it out” often and that’s exactly what he and his staff have done on the recruiting trail. Since Coach Haase took over the program in March 2012, he has shown the ability to both recruit system players, as well as attract top instate prospects, and the next few years appear to be no exception.

First, if you slept through the early signing period here’s what you need to know. Nate Darling and Javien “JD” Williams both signed their letter of intents (LOIs) on November 13th and are expected to join the team this upcoming summer.

Darling is a 6-foot, 4-inch three-point shooting specialist from Dematha High School in Hyattsville, Md. He chose the Blazers over Florida Gulf Coast University after visiting UAB at their annual Hoops on the Haasephalt event.

Williams is a 6-foot, 4-inch athletic guard from Woodlawn, Ala. who has a knack for getting to the rim. He recently turned quite a few heads in the Steel City Invitational at Samford University where he averaged 31 points per game while leading his team to a 2-1 record. Both Darling and Williams, along with transfer Deion Lavender, will look to compete for minutes left after Robert Brown graduates.

The recruiting class of 2017 still has a lot of moving pieces. It will be a big recruiting class for the Blazers as they are set to lose Denzell Watts, Hakeem Baxter, Dirk Williams and Tosin Mehinti to graduation.

The first major piece fell when Austin Wiley committed to Auburn back in September as UAB was on his list of final 8 schools, along with Alabama.

Other top instate prospects UAB has expressed interest in are Alex Reese and Garrison Brooks.

Reese is a 6-foot, 9-inch and 225 pound power forward from Pelham High School who holds offers from 12 major Division 1 programs including UAB, Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Kansas and others. He attended UAB’s Hoops on the Haasephalt event and a recent game at Bartow Arena, while coach Haase and his staff have made several trips to watch him both practice and play. Many believe he is UAB’s top target in this class.

Brooks is a name you may have not heard of as much, but he is a 6-foot, 9-inch and 215 pound power forward from Lafayette, Ala. He, too, holds offers from UAB, Alabama and Auburn as well as other programs like Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Texas Tech. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are early favorites for Brooks, but still look for UAB to make a strong push in an effort to make things interesting.

Pop quiz: Who was the last recruit UAB landed from Lafayette, Ala.? If you answered Mo Finley, pat yourself on the back!

Finally, an out-of-state prospect to keep an eye on is Tyler Polley. He is a 6-foot, 7-inch and 190 pound power forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. who holds offers from UAB, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC. According to Evan Daniels on, “Polley was one of the breakout prospects of the Tarkanian Classic” held in December. When asked which schools stood out the most to him in the recruiting process, Polley answered Florida State, Georgia and UAB. 

Here’s a going list of players UAB has offered for the class of 2017:

  • Alex Reese PF 6’9 225 – Pelham High School
  • Garrison Brooks PF 6’9 215 – Auburn High School
  • Tyler Polley PF 6’7 210 – Sagemont  High School
    • High school teammates with Luis Hurtado listed below
  • Alex O’Connell SG 6’5 160 – Milton High School
    • UAB recently visited him on 12/30/15
  • Jacob Gilyard PG 5’8 180 – Barstow High School
  • Peyton Broughton SG 6’4 175 – North Laurel High School
  • Terryonte Thomas PG 6’4 200 – New Hope High School
  • Herb Jones PG 6’5 175
    • Visited UAB for Hoops on the Haasephalt
  • Jamal Johnson SG 6’4 185 – Spain Park High School 
  • Mitchell Robinson C 7’0 215 – Chalmette High School
  • Cameron Kutwig PF 6’9 250 – H.D. Jacobs High School
  • Chyree Walker SG 6’4 170 – Bullis High School
  • Chaundee Brown SG 6’5 190 – The First Academy
  • Chuma Okeke PF 6’7 185 – Westlake High School
  • Wyatt Wilkes SF 6’7 210 – Winter Park High School
  • Anthony Polite SF 6’5 210 – St. Andrews School
  • Raiquan Gray SF 6’7 228 – Dillard High School
  • Luis Hurtado PG 6’4 170 – Sagemont High School
    • High school teammates with Tyler Polley listed above
  • Elias Harden SG 6’4 180 – Sandy Creek High School
  • Zach “Scootie” Bryant PG 6’2 165 – Providence High School
  • Austin Wiley C 6’10 250 – Spain Park High School
    • Hard commit to Auburn