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Arkansas State adds guard with Division I experience

Mike Balado has been busy since landing in Jonesboro.

NCAA Basketball: Stetson at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State has signed Ty Cockfield, a guard who spent one semester at Stetson in 2015-16.

As a freshman, Cockfield averaged 7.1 points over 16.6 minutes per game in his short time with the Hatters. This included a 12-point effort (4-10 FG) in his debut at Richmond. He told that Stetson was “not good a fit,” and spent one season at the JuCo level (Georgia Highlands) before landing in Jonesboro.

Mike Balado has had a busy first few months on the job.

The Redwolves are coming off a surprisingly successful season. Long-time Baylor assistant Grant McCasland took over an 11-20 team, and turned in a 20-12 season in 2016-17. A-State was a factor in the Sun Belt race into the late stages of the season, and pulled off one of the upsets of the year — at least at the time — with a 78-72 win at Georgetown on Nov. 17.

McClasland used that instant success to jump to North Texas, and much of it was because of senior guards Devin Carter (16.4 PPG, 40.2% 3FG) and Donte Thomas (8.6 PPG, 5.5 APG). This left Balado with some holes to fill.

Cockfield is the fifth newcomer he’s signed, and reportedly chose the Redwolves over Boise State, Memphis and South Florida. He joins three players from the JuCo ranks (forwards Tristin Walley and Shaquillo Fritz, guard Grantham Gillard) and local prep guard Marquis Eaton, who went to Jonesboro High School.

Balado, a former Louisville assistant, does have a solid pair of rising seniors in guards Rashad Lindsey (10.3 PPG, 38.8% 3FG) and Deven Simms (13.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG). Cockfield’s experience should give him a leg up in the initial back court rotation next to Lindsey and Simms.