Pennell eager for his first signing day at UCA

Wednesday will be a special day for new University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball coach Russ Pennell.

He will announce his first signing class at UCA during the first day of the signing period for spring and winter sports.

He is expected to sign 11 new recruits from throughout the country while retaining two of last year’s players, Ethan Lee and DeShawn Rice.

Because of his March hire, the group will not be heavy on Arkansas talent.

“Because of when I got the job, the really good players in Arkansas had already signed,” said Pennell, who came to UCA after coaching at Arizona and Grand Canyon State. “In the same way, where we had come from we had developed relationships with kids throughout the country.”

During an interview posted a ucasports.com, Pennell added, “I thought UCA always sold itself short on recruiting nationwide. “I’m not talking about players who are going to major conferences. But there are so many good players through the United States, who because of AAU basketball, have traveled to different states. But I think our fans will be pleased with who we will sign.”

Pennell also announced that he has completed his staff along with assistant head coach Anthony Boone. Mark Nelson, who was one of his assstants at Grand Canyon State and played at Kansas State, will join the staff. Joey Moon will be retained from the previous staff as director of basketball operations.

Also joined the staff is Matt Scarbinsky, who has coached in California. “He has extensive experience in recruiting the West Coast and the Midwest,” Pennell said.

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