Dawgs Sign National Top 10 Recruiting Class

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Considered by many basketball recruiting experts to rank among the nation's Top 10 classes of this year's early-signing period, the Mississippi State Bulldogs have signed to national letters-of-intent McDonald's All-American preseason hopefuls Monta Ellis of Jackson's Lanier High School and Vernon Goodridge of Philadelphia's (Pa.) Lutheran Christian Academy, along with all-state twin guards Reginald and Richard Delk of North Side High School in Jackson, Tenn.

MSU head basketball coach Rick Stansbury, who made the announcement Tuesday, said, "We're obviously very excited about bringing these four terrific young men into our basketball program here at Mississippi State. In addition to ranking highly on the national talent level, they are all quality individuals and highly respected student-athletes among their peers and high school basketball coaches."

Ranked second nationally among this year's high school senior class by The InsidersHoops.com, Ellis has helped lead coach Thomas Billups' Lanier Bulldogs to a composite 97-14 record over the past three-plus seasons, including runner-up finishes in the Class 4A state tournament each of the last two years and a state championship during his freshman campaign. The 6-4, 175-pound guard averaged 29.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.8 steals per contest a year ago as a junior in helping lead Lanier to a 30-5 record and earning The Clarion-Ledger's 2003-04 Metro Player of the Year and All-State First Team honors.

Previously chosen National Sophomore of the Year by Student Sports magazine, Ellis averaged 27.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.1 steals an outing in helping pace the 2002-03 LHS Bulldogs to a 31-4 mark and Class 4A state tournament runner-up showing.

Goodridge, a 6-9, 220-pound forward/center from the Philadelphia prep ranks, averaged around 15 points, 11 rebounds and 8 blocks per game last season for coach Darryl Schofield's Philadelphia Lutheran Christian Academy squad. The Brooklyn native is currently ranked 21st nationally by TheInsidersHoops.com and is listed as the country's top-rated center (24th overall) by Rivals.com.

Presently ranked 55th and 56th, respectively, among HoopScoop's listing of the nation's top seniors, Reginald and Richard Delk helped lead coach Terry Hill's North Side Indians to a 29-3 record and Tennessee Class AAA state tournament runner-up finish to nationally ranked White Station High School of Memphis. The oldest (by 30 minutes) of the fraternal twins, Richard (6-5, 175) averaged around 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists a game as a junior, while Reginald (6-4, 180) averaged about 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per contest as a member of Tennessee's Class AAA 2003-04 Associated Press All-State Third Team.

With notable basketball bloodlines, the Delk twins are the nephews of Tony Delk, formerly a standout guard at the University of Kentucky and currently starring with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. Their father, Rickie Delk, was previously the leading scorer in Lambuth College history, while an older sister, Genevieve, is the starting center at the University of South Alabama, and a cousin, Leslie Delk, is a freshman on the South Alabama men's basketball team.

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