Bulldog hoops signs three to NLIs

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

While the 2023-24 season is fresh underway, Louisiana Tech Men’s Basketball head coach Talvin Hester announced Friday the signing of three players – Landren Blocker, Anthony “AJ” Bates Jr., and Albert “Al” Green – to national letters of intent.

Blocker and Bates are prep stars out of Little Rock, Arkansas and Houston, Texas, respectively, while Green is a junior college transfer from San Diego, California.

Blocker, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing, is coming off a junior year at Little Rock Christian where he led the Warriors to an Arkansas Class 4A state title with a dominating 74-54 win over Blytheville. He led the team with 32 points on 14-of-21 shooting, plus six rebounds, in route to earning state title game MVP honors.

“We are very excited to add Landren to our basketball family,” said Hester. “Landren brings dynamic athleticism and the ability to guard multiple positions. He comes from a great high school program that is helping prepare him for the collegiate level. We are looking forward to his future arrival in Ruston.”

The three-star recruit per Rivals, who is currently ranked as the No. 5 player in the state of Arkansas by Arkansas Basketball rankings, was also named to the All-State Tournament Team and 4A Tournament MVP after averaging 21.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists) during the team’s championship run.

For the season, he averaged 16 points while shooting 51 percent from the field to go along with nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals, earning numerous honors including 4A All-State, 4A-5 Player of the Year, 4A-5 All-Conference, Scorebook Live All-Arkansas, and Arkansas Democrat Gazette All-Arkansas.

Bates, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard, averaged 19.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game during his junior year at Katy Seven Lakes High School.

“AJ is a great addition to our program,” said Hester. “He is a big guard that can play on and off the ball with a very high basketball IQ. He has won at a high level in high school and I know he will fit seamlessly into our culture. We are excited about his future as a Bulldog.”

The three-star prospect per Rivals is currently ranked as the eighth best player in the Greater Houston area by RCS Sports. He is a TABC two-time Texas 6A All-Region, two-time District 19-6A MVP, and three-time First Team All-District selection as well as earning Newcomer of the Year honors in 2021. He was also one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Guy V. Lewis award, which is given to the best player in the Greater Houston Area.

Green, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound combo guard, guided San Diego City College to a 24-6 overall record as a freshman while advancing to the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) Sweet 16.

“We are excited to welcome Al to the LA Tech basketball program,” said Hester. “Al is an efficient scorer that can stretch the defense out to the three-point line. He also keeps us experienced in our backcourt. We are looking forward to our future with him in our program.”

For the 2022-23 season with the Knights, he averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range. He was a First-Team All-PCAC and First Team PCAC All-Freshman honoree.