Ratliffe To Visit Arkansas
When it comes to improvement for next season's University of Arkansas basketball team, there is one player that leaps off the page.
That would be Central Florida Community College standout Ricardo Ratliffe (6-9, 240), regarded as the nation's top junior college basketball player and someone that Razorback coaches, players and fans have been salivating over adding to the team for more than a year.
Ratliffe, who averaged 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game this season, confirmed to Hawgs Illustrated Thursday that will take his official visit to Arkansas this weekend.
"The (Arkansas) coaches have shown a lot of interest since I was in high school," Ratliffe said. "That's the main reason I want to visit them first."
This will be the first official visit for Ratliffe, a good friend and former teammate of current Razorback Marshawn Powell.
"I think I could come in for Washington and step in there right away and play," Ratliffe said earlier this season. "That certainly makes it interesting for me as well as playing with Marshawn. I think we could be two dominate players down low."
Ratliffe also said Thursday his other four official visits will be to Alabama, Cincinnati, Missouri and Clemson.
"I can't come off the bench being a junior," Ratliffe told the Ocala Star Banner. "It's not like coming out of high school. I'm looking to start right away."
Scout.com national recruiting analyst Dave Telep believes Ratliffe is a true difference maker.
"He is a high major college power forward without question," Telep added. "It takes most junior college guys some time to come in and adjust, but he won't be like that. He'll come in, be a starter and will have a positive and immediate impact right away."
Ratliffe's season ended Wednesday night when Northwest Florida State College (formerly Okaloosa-Walton) downed the Patriots 74-61 in the state tournament.
Dubbed the "best post player in the country" by NWF head coach Bruce Stewart, Ratliffe had 27 points and 9 rebounds for CFCC (26-7).
"They hit open shots and we didn't," Patriots coach Tim Ryan told the Ocala Star Banner. "They were triple-teaming Ricardo and we needed someone to step up and hit a shot, but we just couldn't get enough of them to fall."
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In that same tournament on Wednesday, Arkansas signee Marvell Waithe had 20 points and 9 rebounds to lead Tallahassee CC over Indian River 77-75.
Waithe (6-9, 215), a combo forward, is averaging 16 points per game this season.
Tallahassee will take on St. Petersburg Friday afternoon in the semifinal.
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Arkansas also signed a pair of 6-3 guards in the early period in Rickey Scott of Irving (Texas) MacArthur and Memphis native Mardracus Wade of Hargrave Military Academy.
Scott led the Dallas-Fort Worth area in scoring at 22.9 points a game while Wade is averaging 17.4 points per game this season.
Hargrave – who has had 10 players signed or committed to D-1 scholarships - is 26-0 this season and will play next week in the National Prep Championship in New Haven, Conn.
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