Woolridge Falls to Vols

Bruce Pearl knows no bounds when it comes to pursuing prospects, whether it's east Tennessee, west Tennessee, the South Bronx, N.Y., or North Hollywood, Calif., he'll go the distance to get his man.

Earlier today the pied piper of prize prospects landed another four-star standout in Renaldo Woolridge, a 6-8, 210-pound small forward from Harvard-Westlake High School in North Hollywood, who committed to sign with the Vols next month.

The nation's No. 17 ranked small forward prospect according to Scout.com, is the son of former NBA star Orlando Woolridge. He picked Tennessee over offers from USC, Georgetown, Illinois and Marquette.

"Renaldo was torn between the 3 choices," Belmont Shore AAU coach Dinos Trigonis told Scout.com's Dave Telep. "He slept on it and apparently decided on Tennessee. He liked all three places and it came down to the fact that he felt more comfortable with the program and the resources."

Woolridge experienced a precipitous rise as a national prospect that corresponds to a two-year growth spurt that saw him sprout several inches to 6-foot-8. Naturally that type of victory against the forces of gravity requires some synchronization with coordination, and Woolridge proved he was making major progress in that respect last summer in AAU play. He had a particularly impressive showing at the Reebok tournament (RBK U) in July.

"My shot was really falling and I got into the all-star game and I was able to score a lot," he told Scout.com's Evan Daniels about his play in the tournament. "I think the whole experience of playing against the top competition and being able to perform helped me out a lot."

Woolridge took his official visit to Tennessee on Oct. 4 along with Elliot Williams and Chris Singleton who are also considering UT. That trip left a strong impression, as he liked the facilities, academic support as well as the close ties and spirit of cooperation that existed between the men's and women's programs. Coach Trigonis credited the persistence and perseverance of Pearl and Steve Forbes with making the difference.

"I think they see him as a scoring swingman in their system," Trigonis said. "He likes the fact they run up and down and he's very good in transition; he's going to get better."

In addition to NBA DNA, Renaldo had a good guide through the recruiting process in his father, who played at Notre Dame before being taken No. 6 in the first round of the 1981 NBA Draft.

Woolridge joins Phillip Jurick of East Ridge High School in Chattanooga as a commitment in Tennessee's Class of 2008. The 6-foot-11, 255-pound Jurick is rated No. 18 among the nation's centers.


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