Arkansas State’s Division I membership has spanned nearly five decades. The men’s basketball team has one NCAA tournament berth, coming in 1999, however. Nonetheless, the Red Wolves scored a victory on Monday via the recruiting game.
The overlooked program received a commitment from forward Mark Tikhonenko, a player whom high-major schools were eyeing, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports. Tikhonenko is a rising senior out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who received an offer from Iowa State and saw multiple other schools on the Cyclones’ level pay a visit to meet him.
Missouri, Vanderbilt, VCU and Georgia Tech visited the 6-9 prospect, but, according to 247Sports.com, only Iowa State and Arkansas State comprised his Division I offers to this point. Tikhonenko chose the Sun Belt program despite its lack of much of a winning tradition. He visited the campus last month and received an offer two weeks later, per 247 Sports.
Arkansas State finished with 11 wins in each of the past two seasons, following up a two-year stretch that saw the Red Wolves win 19 games in each slate. The Red Wolves have not won 20 games in a season since 1998.
The Russian talent transferred to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga from Pennsylvania-based Scotland Performance Academy. He is a rising senior this year, as opposed to a post-graduate prep-schooler. He was unable to play in most of his junior season due to suffering an early season injury, so Arkansas State is largely going on potential here since he has yet to provide a reasonable sample of work as an upperclassman.
While in Pennsylvania, Tikhonenko was being monitored by even higher-prestige programs like Connecticut, Maryland and Baylor, according to GameTimePA.com. None of those programs reached the offer stage, possibly because of the injury that subsequently befell the lanky prospect, but Arkansas State appears to have capitalized on it.