Missouri signs top junior college men's basketball player

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | 8:27 p.m. CDT; updated 8:49 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The nation’s top-ranked junior college men’s basketball player signed to play for Missouri on Wednesday.

Ricardo Ratliffe, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward from Central Florida Community College, chose Missouri over Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati and Clemson. He was’s No. 1 junior college recruit.

Ratliffe fills one of two spots that opened when sophomore Miguel Paul and freshman Tyler Stone announced Monday that they are transferring. The other opening was also filled Wednesday, as Matt Pressey from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, signed with Missouri. Pressey is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard.

Ratliffe, from Hampton, Va., and Pressey, from Timpson, Texas, were both named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-America first team this season. Ratliffe averaged 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds and broke his school’s single-season scoring record for the second straight year.

“He gives us a post presence with the ability to step out and knock down shots,” coach Mike Anderson said in a release. “He is a physical player that rebounds and plays the game with passion and energy. We have lost some tremendous players in our frontcourt the last couple of years, but Ricardo fits in that mold.”

Pressey will join his younger brother Phil Pressey, a high school senior who signed with the Tigers last November. Matt Pressey averaged 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and two steals this season. Matt and Phil Pressey are the sons of former NBA player Paul Pressey, who was Anderson’s college roommate when the two played basketball at Tulsa.

“Matt is someone I have known for most of his life, and he’s really grown into becoming an outstanding person and a tremendous basketball player,” Anderson said. “Players like Matt have been tremendously important to our success. He is defensively savvy, he can score, he rebounds for his size, and he has some of the same traits as a Zaire Taylor.”

Ratliffe and Matt Pressey complete a recruiting class that was ranked No. 7 by USA Today, No. 11 by and No. 12 by before they signed with Missouri. The class is easily Anderson’s best since coming to Missouri four years ago.

Oregon-Anderson reports sketchy’s Jeff Goodman reported Wednesday morning that Oregon is looking at Missouri coach Mike Anderson for its vacant coaching position.

Soren Petro of WHB/810 AM in Kansas City then reported via Twitter that Anderson was offered $3 million per year by Oregon but that Anderson declined the offer. He also said Oregon did not ask Missouri for permission to speak with Anderson, which the Missourian confirmed with Missouri team spokesman Dave Reiter.

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