Josh Richardson said he likes everything about the University of Tennessee so much that he has issued a verbal commitment to sign with the Vols.
Richardson is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound combo guard in the Class of 2011 from Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Okla.
“I told Coach (Cuonzo) Martin I’m coming here to play,’’ Richardson said in a phone interview Saturday night. “I like everything about Tennessee. I just feel comfortable here.’’
Richardson, rated the No. 121 overall player by Rivals.com and the No. 39 small forward by ESPN.com, attended Tennessee’s Orange-and-White spring football game on Saturday and met with his future UT teammates.
“Coach Martin has been recruiting me since my sophomore year,’’ said Richardson, who also visited Georgia Tech, TCU and Missouri State, and also had Oklahoma and Providence vying for his services. “I’ve known Tennessee has been pretty good in basketball every year.’’
Richardson said he will sign his National Letter of Intent later this week, making him the third signee in the Vols’ recruiting class.
He’ll join 6-1 point guard Wes Washpun from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and
5-10 combo guard Chris Jones from Melrose High School in Memphis.
Former UT signee Kevin Ware will not visit Knoxville this weekend, as his father, Wesley Junior, had previously speculated in an ajc.com story. Ware chose to go on an official visit to Central Florida this weekend, according to the website.
Ware is a 6-5 wing out of Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga.
Richardson said he’s aware of Ware’s interest in UT, but “it didn’t matter to me too much.’’
Richardson said he averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game this season playing point guard.
“My sophomore year I played power forward, and last year I played the two and the three,’’ Richardson said. “So I guess that makes me a combo guy, because I can play a lot of positions.
“I think I can come in and be a good defensive player and hit some shots,’’ he said. “I’m a good ball handler, and I can penetrate and get in the lane and distribute the ball. My 3-point shot is getting better.’’
According to the ESPN.com report: “Richardson plays the game at a fierce pace and never takes a play off when on the floor. Josh’s length allows to him wreak havoc on the defensive end of the floor by challenging shots, deflecting passes and getting tips on dribble penetration. Josh goes after rebounds and is quick off the floor with his jump to gather tough rebounds.”
The Vols will sign between three and six players, depending on the futures of Freshman All-America pick Tobias Harris and junior All-SEC shooting guard Scotty Hopson, who have said they will test the NBA draft waters.
Harris and Hopson have until May 8 to get their draft evaluations before declaring if they are returning to play at UT for another season, provided they have not signed with agents.