April 18, 2012

Alabama transfer ready for Laramie visit

The search for a fresh start will take former Alabama basketball player, Charles Hankerson, Jr., to Laramie, Wyo. this weekend to learn more about the Wyoming Cowboys. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hankerson, Jr. said he was not ready to unveil the list of his favorites, but said the Cowboys are on his short list, thanks in large part to his relationship with the coaching staff.

"Right now I really don't want to unveil the list right now. I am keeping it close to the chest. It has been mostly my dad getting most of those phone calls. Clearly Wyoming is on that list," said Hankerson, Jr.

"(Wyoming Head Coach Larry) Shyatt recruited me when he was at Florida and he is a great guy," Hankerson, Jr. continued. "I took a liking to him when he was at Florida. As soon as I got my release papers, he was one of the first guys to contact me and said he is interested in me. Also, (UW Assistant Coach Allen) Edwards was the assistant at VCU when I was being recruited there and I am familiar with him too. Also (UW Assistant Coach Jeremy) Little Shyatt, we have a good connection as well. Just the comfort factor is one of their leading cases for them."

Hankerson, Jr. is leaving Alabama after two seasons playing for the Tide. While he had nothing but good things to say about his time in Tuscaloosa, he said it is time for him to move on and seek a better opportunity for himself on the court.

"I just want to say I had a great time at Alabama," he said. "These have been a phenomenal two years."

As a sophomore, Hankerson, Jr. averaged 3.6 points, .6 assists and 1.5 rebounds per contest. He had a season-high of 16 points. He showed himself to be able to hit his three-pointers, nailing 16-of-49 (32.7 percent). As a freshman, he averaged 2.3 points per game and 1.2 rebounds per contest while starting a couple contests as well.

"I feel like I am a hard worker and I feel like I can bring work ethic and leadership," he said when asked about his strengths. "Offensively, I have a lot to offer. I can shoot the ball pretty well. I am a versatile guard and I think defensively I can hold my own."

Hankerson, Jr. said he will be on the ground in Laramie this weekend and wants to get an idea for the comfort level he feels with the program and the community. While asking about the team support the University of Wyoming sees, he added he is looking forward to checking out the support during this weekend's Spring Football game.

"I am hoping to see great fan support," said Hankerson, Jr. "I am hoping to see a nice campus, I am hoping to see a place I am comfortable at and really just comfort. Can I see myself there for the next three years."

As a transfer, Hankerson, Jr. would have to sit out next season, in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. He would then he allowed to play his final two seasons with the Pokes.

Given Hankerson, Jr.'s interest in starting school in June, he admits his timetable for making a decision will be accelerated. While he wouldn't tip his hand, he also didn't rule out a commitment this weekend.

"I am not going to say I won't do anything, but if Wyoming comes in and blows me away, who knows what could happen," he said. "They are going to be on my final list of schools. If I have great visit, who knows what could happen."

In high school, Hankerson, Jr. was named the Miami Herald's Class 6A-5A Player of the Year in 2009, averaging 31 points and 11 rebounds per game, leading Coral Reef High School to its first ever state title. He is the son of Charles Senior, who payed basketball at Hampton.

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