Make it a trio in the fold for the University of Arkansas basketball program.
Tallahassee (FL) Community College combo forward Marvell Waithe (6-9, 215) – a preseason National Junior College Association All-American – confirmed Thursday that he had signed with the Razorbacks.
"I'm very happy to officially be a Razorback and I can't wait to get up there to Arkansas and be one of the pieces to what I think will be a championship team," Waithe said. "I think with the guys we are bringing in and the ones that are already there that it is not something far-fetched either. I think we can win an SEC Championship and once you get into the NCAA Tournament, we'll be able to make a run toward a national championship. I really believe that."
He joins four-star guards Rickey Scott (6-3, 195) of Irving (Texas) MacArthur and Mardracus Wade (6-3, 170) – who both signed their letters-of-intent on Wednesday when the week-long early signing period opened - as future Razorbacks.
"We are extremely happy to have Marvell Waithe as a part of our basketball family," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "He is a great young man who is a very strong student and provides us with unique athletic ability. At 6-9 he is very athletic, possesses a lot of perimeter skill and is a tremendous three-point shooter and ball handler."
Waithe averaged 18.9 points and 9 rebounds last season for TCC and is averaging 21 points through his team's 3-0 start this season.
"We are playing well and I am off to a very good start," Waithe said. "I went out and got 34 (points) and 11 (rebounds) in our first game and then have had 22 and 11 and 14 and 7 in our last two games."
Pelphrey and assistant coach Tom Ostrom had worked hard to bring in Waithe, the former Mr. Basketball in Canada in 2006 when he averaged 35 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
"Having an opportunity to get to know Marvell over the past few months, I've learned that he is an exceptional young man," Ostrom said. "Marvell will bring a lot of intangibles and character to our basketball program. He is unique at 6-9 and can guard or play multiple spots on the floor. He has the ability to play on the perimeter or in the interior."
He went to prep school for two years while trying to get the NCAA to clear his Canadian high school course before landing at TCC.
Ro Russell,s Waithe's former AAU coach, believes Arkansas has landed an impact player and person.
"Marvell is a well rounded student-athlete and very determined," Russell said. "[Having to wait to play at a major program] made him more hungry and more mature. He appreciates every opportunity because he has waited for it. A lot of kids would have hung up their shoes, but Marvell is even more focused. He and Coach Ostrom as well as coach Pelphrey really hit it off and Arkansas was easily his favorite. He can't wait to be a Razorback."
Waithe will be trying to help the Razorbacks land another Florida juco star in Central Florida CC standout Ricardo Ratliffe (6-8, 240).
The two are scheduled to play each other in games on Nov. 21 and Dec. 17.
"He's a great guy and a great player," Waithe said. "I am going to talk to him before and after we beat them, feel him out and try and get him to come join us. I know he is looking at Arkansas and Alabama and I am going to tell him that Arkansas is the place for him just like it is for me."
Waithe's A Razorback
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