J.J. Richardson Picks up Minnesota Offer

Jonnie "J.J." Richardson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Missouri City (TX) Hightower, opened plenty of eyes with his strong play for Houston Elite, leading them to the Reebok Summer Championships semis. Richardson has picked up several scholarship offers, including one from Minnesota, according to his AAU coach Rick Nelson. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Nelson to learn the latest on his recruitment.

Jonnie Richardson led Houston Elite to a 6-2 mark in the Reebok Summer Championships, losing to D-One Sports 79-67 in the semifinals. Richardson averaged 12.3 points, scoring in double figures in six of the eight games.

Houston Elite is playing in the Last Stand tournament in Houston, starting tomorrow at 11. The team has had great success this spring and summer, according to Nelson, winning the Great American Memorial Tournament in Dallas and making the final four in the Great American Shootout.

Richardson played on a balanced Hightower team that finished 29-9, losing to Houston Madison 72-65 in the playoffs. He averaged just 5.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, but has put plenty of time in improving his game, according to Nelson.

"He is on a really good high school team. He reminds you of Gerald Green, who played in our program. Gerald went from "Who is this kid to Wow!"

Nelson says that Richardson's work ethic has paid big dividends.

"I think that he is the best big man in the state of Texas. I told that to his high school coach and he said, 'I know that he was working hard, but not that hard.' He has even surprised me. He works all the time. He runs and works on his conditioning. He is very committed," Nelson said.

Nelson said that Richardson is a player with many strengths.

"He has good toughness. He runs the floor very well. He uses his body well and is not afraid to bang. He has good footwork and shots a free throw range jumper," Nelson said.

Nelson said that Richardson is working hard to improve his all-around game.

"He is working hard to develop his left hand and stay out of foul trouble. He can put it on the floor pretty well, but needs to add some things."

Richardson has picked up offers from Penn State, South Alabama, Oklahoma State, Utah and Minnesota, according to Nelson. He previously received offers from Santa Clara, Stephen F. Austin, and UTEP.

"I got a text from Ron Jirsa today, saying that they really want to get involved," he said. "They want to get more information and that they need a forward who plays hard."

Nelson said that Richardson is still wide open in his recruitment.

"He doesn't have a favorite school. We toyed with coming down with a Fab Five in Las Vegas, but with all the recent offers, we decided to do that when we get home. We hope to get a list of visits in place this week," he said.

Nelson said that he expects to be academically eligible as a freshman.

"He had a slow start in ninth grade, but has picked up his GPA and is doing well and can enjoy his senior season. He took his college entrance test and said that he is in good shape," Nelson said.

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