FAYETTEVILLE – Mountain Home High senior Brittney Richardson signed her letter of intent to play at the University of Arkansas, closing out the 2006 recruiting class for Lady Razorback head coach Susie Gardner.
Richardson, a 5-11 guard-forward, is the fifth and final signee of the early period for the Lady Razorbacks.
“She’s a big guard wing that has three-point range, but can also put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket,” Gardner said. “She has the size we need in the SEC to see the floor and become a factor.”
Richardson played her past two seasons at Izard County High, averaging 27.1 ppg as a junior to come within 33 points of a 1,000-point season. Her sophomore year, Richardson averaged 21.8 ppg and 6.8 rpg for the Lady Cougars.
“Brittney blossomed as a player since she caught our eye at elite camp two years ago,” Gardner said. “She can run the floor, and she’s a great leaper. She will be an excellent fit for this team.”
With almost 2,000 points in her career to date, Richardson transferred this season to Mountain Home to play her final season as a Lady Bombers. She becomes the first Lady Bomber to sign with Arkansas since Carrie Satterfield.
Twice named player of the week by the Jonesboro Sun and considered the top player in the northeastern part of the state, Richardson gives Arkansas a sweep of the top in-state prospects in the 2006 recruiting class.
She joins Little Rock 6-2 forward Whitney Zachariason and Fort Smith 5-6 point guard Shanita Arnold as early period signees from the state of Arkansas. Yesterday, Arkansas picked up top neighboring state stars Morgan Boyd of Olathe, Kan., and Ashlea Williams of Springfield, Mo.
Overall, Gardner is thrilled with the results of her 2006 recruiting efforts, which started as early as the summer of 2004 with early verbal commitments.
“Great players want to play with great players, and they welcome that challenge,” Gardner said. “I am very excited that we kept the three best players in state and picked up some great out-of-state players.”
Last year, Arkansas signed high school all-American Tanisha Smith and Kodak JUCO all-American Lauren Ervin as a part of a six-player recruiting class.
“That’s what so exciting,” Gardner said of her repeat recruiting efforts. “We are bringing in five that will be freshmen in 2007 to go with last year’s signees that are mostly sophomores next year. This is the foundation for the future.”
They key in the back-to-back efforts are the players and her staff, Gardner said.
“Our current players are recruiters, and they wanted the best to join our team,” Gardner said. “Right now, our staff is working ahead to get ready for another group of players next season to try and keep this rolling.”
Arkansas opens the 2006-07 season tonight at Clemson, but Gardner is already talking about the future.
“The goal is to build this program into a national power, and if the best players continue to stay here like they did this year, things like a Southeastern Conference championship are realistic goals,” she said.
The Lady Razorbacks return to Fayetteville after the Clemson game to prepare for the season home opener on Monday, Nov. 13, against La-Monroe at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.