Collins and Tennessee State adds two players during early signing

Courtesy of Tennessee State Athletics

NASHVILLE — Tennessee State University men’s basketball head coach Brian “Penny” Collins announced the signing of two incoming student-athletes as part of the early signing day on Wednesday.

In his fifth season at the helm of the Tigers, Collins has once again stayed within the 615 with the signing of Jaylen Jones, a 5-11 point guard out of East Nashville Magnet. Billed as a three-star prospect and the state’s third-best player in the Class of 2023 and the 28th-best point guard in the country — according to 247Sports — Jones has been a double-digit scoring threat since his first day with the Eagles. 

As a freshman, he led the team with 15 points, five rebounds, and three assists. He increased his scoring in a shortened sophomore season with 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Last season, Jones nearly averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 8.7 assists along with 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game.

Jones and his East Nashville squad will look to defend its Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 2A championship after a 29-3 season and a win over Milan in the title match. The win was East Nashville’s first state title in program history. Jones was named the tournament’s MVP after he averaged 14.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists throughout the week and recorded 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the championship game.

“Jaylen is a huge steal for our program,” said Collins. “He believes in what we are building here at TSU. To be able to lock down the state of Tennessee’s best player is huge for our program. His high basketball IQ, playmaking skills, and Championship mindset will be counted on right away.”

TSU also signed Los Angeles product Zyier Beverly from George Washington Prep. The 6-8 power forward has an explosive move to the basket and is an elite rebounder. Beverly is a top 60 forward in the Class of 2023. He played for I-Can All-stars and averaged 20 points and eight rebounds during the AAU circuit. 

“Zyier is coming in as one of the most talked about players in the state of California,” said Collins. “His skill set is very unique for his size. His ability to play all over the floor is exactly what we need to continue to excel. Zyier’s intangibles are exactly what they are looking for at the next level!”

TSU is back on the court on Saturday at Gentry Center against South Carolina State at 11 a.m. The game can be heard on 102.1 FM The Ville and ESPN+. 

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