To say the Texas basketball staff was both relived and excited at 12:45pm today would be an understatement. It was at that time that the signed letter of intent by Cameron Ridley (Richmond, Texas/Bush) finally came through the fax machine.
Ridley hugs his mother after signing his letter of intent
With the signing of Ridley, Texas has again put together one of the nation's top recruiting classes, but more importantly signed a true low block presence that will be an instant-impact freshman on a young but talented Texas team in 2012-13.
For the 6-foot-9.5, 246-pound Ridley, the signing brought a sense of excitement, and relief.
“I’m very relieved because it gets a lot of people off my back asking if I’m going to sign or not,” Ridley said. “Today being a day I dreamed about, it’s a relief,”
The long time Texas commitment never waivered from his decision to sign with the Longhorns, despite not inking a letter of intent in November.
“When I first started being recruited by big programs, Texas showed me that they were the school I wanted to go to, and how they could make me a better in life and basketball," he said. "Ever since then, I was sold on the University of Texas.”
For Ridley’s mother, Sharon Rinehardt, she knew where her son was going to end up early on in the process.
“I’m just really excited for Cameron. After we left Texas back when we visited, he didn’t want to visit any other schools. He knew Texas was where he wanted to be, and he didn’t want to waste any other school's time," she said. "Of course, with Cameron being my youngest, the most important thing is that he is taken care of when he leaves here. I believe that when he gets to Texas, he will get everything he needs to be taken care of. And I’m glad Cameron chose Texas, because I can go down and see him play.”
The Texas roster being full of players from the Houston area, and state, he is familiar with certainly helped the Longhorns’ cause.
“It helped that I know half the team because they are from around the state," he said. "Texas always gets great players and I want to be around people like Kabongo and players like that because they will help me.”
With the signing of Ridley, and combo guard DeMarcus Holland (Garland, Texas/Naaman Forest) today, the Longhorns have one of the nation's top three classes on paper. The McDonald’s All-American likes the class he's coming in with, but also knows there's the possibility of adding one more.
“I really feel like we have a great class," he said. "We are big-man oriented this year, we have a really good point guard in Javan (Felix) and if Devonta Pollard commits, that would help us a lot.”
Ridley got an up-close look at Pollard in Chicago and liked what he saw from his McDonald’s All-American week roommate.
“He’s (Pollard) really athletic," Ridley said. "He can take just about anyone off the dribble and he’s a really good player all-around. He plays hard.”
Ridley averaged 22.5 points, 15.2 rebounds and 5.6 blocked shots as a senior for Ronnie Courtney at Bush High. As a junior, he averaged 22.4 points, 16.2 rebounds and 7.2 blocked shots.
Texas’ 2012 Recruiting Class:
Javan Felix, PG, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine, 5-foot-9.5, 190 – No. 74 in the 247Sports Top 100
DeMarcus Holland, G, Garland (Texas) Naaman Forest, 6-foot-3.5, 175
Ioannis Papapetrou, SF, Melbourne (Fla.) Florida Air Academy, 6-foot-8, 220
Connor Lammert, PF, San Antonio (Texas) Churchill, 6-foot-9, 220
Prince Ibeh, PF/C, Garland (Texas) Naaman Forest, 6-foot-11, 225 - No. 53 in the 247Sports Top 100
Cameron Ridley, C, Richmond (Texas) Bush, 6-foot-9.5, 246 - No. 24 ranked prospect in the 247Sports Top 100
Longhorns remain in the race for another five-star
While Texas has already assembled a very impressive six-man class, the Longhorns are still in hot pursuit of five-star wing Devonta Pollard (De Kalb, Miss./Kemper County). The 6-foot-7, 200-pound explosive athlete officially visited Alabama last weekend after visiting Texas (January 21) and Missouri (February 4) previously.
The McDonald’s All-American will make his final official visit to Georgetown on April 15-16 with a decision expected shortly afterwards. The Longhorns continue to receive positive feedback from the Pollard camp, and are scheduled to be in-home on Saturday. Pollard is the 18th-ranked prospect in the 247Sports Top 100.
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