Three more signees join Cabrera’s first recruiting class

Another wave of signees has joined the Northwestern State men’s basketball program.

First-year head coach Rick Cabrera announced Thursday the addition of three transfers – two of which have Division I experience – to his first signing class of Demons.

Braelon Bush, Jamarion Epps and Justin Wilson signed their national letters of intent, bringing the total of first-year players on the NSU roster to nine.

Bush returns to the Southland Conference after playing the 2022-23 season at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, where he was a first-team all-conference selection after averaging 17.1 points and 3.8 assists per game.

A 5-foot-8 point guard, Bush shot 52 percent from the field, including a 42.4-percent clip from 3-point range. He posted a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with the Bulldogs.

As a freshman in 2020-21, Bush appeared in 22 games, starting eight, at McNeese. He ranked second on the team with 73 assists (3.3 per game) and had a pair of double-figure assist games as well as five double-figure scoring games. He posted a 13-point, 10-assist double-double against Dallas Christian that season and handed out a career-high 11 assists against Northwestern State.

A Silsbee, Texas, product, Bush left Silsbee High School as the school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 3,000 points. As a senior, Bush averaged 33.2 points per game and 131 3-pointers – both of which are Texas state single-season records. While at Silsbee, Bush helped lead the Tigers to a pair of state titles, and he was a three-time all-state honoree.

“I’ve known Braelon since his junior year in high school,” Cabrera said. “Braelon comes to us as one of the best guards in Region 14 at Navarro College. His ability to score and get his teammates involved is what he does best and exactly what we need at the point guard position.”

Wilson comes to Northwestern State after playing this past season at South Carolina State, appearing in 22 games with six starts.

A 6-8, 215-pound forward, Wilson averaged 5.9 points and grabbed four rebounds per game while blocking nearly a shot per game.

His performance with the Bulldogs came after a season at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, where Wilson helped the Highlanders to a 25-5 record and a conference championship. Wilson shot 63.2 percent from the field and averaged eight points and five rebounds per game.

Prior to that, Wilson spent two seasons at Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa, helping the Mavericks post a composite 52-6 record, two conference championships and two appearances in the NJCAA national tournament, including a Final Four berth in 2021.

“The minute Justin was brought to the table the one thing that stuck out most was how hard he played,” Cabrera said. “He fits what I look for in a post player with his motor and his athletic ability. He brings Division I experience to the Southland Conference, which will allow him to be impactful from Day One.”

Epps, a 6-7, 205-pound forward, spent this past season at Casper College, earning JUCO All-American honors after averaging 18.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. A native of Lebanon, Kentucky, Epps tied the school single-game scoring record with 47 points against Eastern Wyoming.

Epps earned Region IX Player of the Year honors as well as first-team all-region honors and a spot on the Region IX All-Tournament team.

A two-time Academic All-American, Epps averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game for Central Arizona College in 2021-22 and was a 10 point-per-game scorer who grabbed 7.1 rebounds per game for Wabash Valley College as a freshman.

Across his junior college career, Epps averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, posting 34 double-doubles and one triple-double.

While at Marion County High School, Epps was a member of the 1,000-point club and left as the school’s No. 2 all-time rebounder who grabbed a single-game school record 31 boards. A three-time academic all-state selection, Epps also earned district MVP honors at Marion County.

“Jamison is a very versatile forward who can play inside and out,” Cabrera said. “His ability to be a threat from the perimeter and post up was very attractive in the recruiting process. Epps brings toughness and rebounding ability that I look for in our wings and forwards.”