Ethan Richardson, the 6-foot-10 center/forward out of Madera High and Fresno City College, verbally committed to West Virginia on Friday.
He is the first Rams player to head to a Power Five-conference program since Ed Madec took over as coach in 2006.
Richardson is trading one fiery coach for another in the Mountaineers’ Bob Huggins, and he couldn’t be happier.
“Both similar,” he said. “It made this decision a lot easier. ... You can feel how dominant Coach Huggins is and you can tell he’s a straight-up guy.”
As of Friday, West Virginia had signed two high school players and two junior college guards in its next recruiting class. Richardson is expected to sign his national letter of intent on June 14 at Fresno City.
The Mountainers went 15-21 last season, 4-14 in the Big 12, and recently lost an expected returnee when forward Sagaba Konate declared for the NBA Draft. West Virginia offered Richardson on Thursday and it didn’t take long for him to commit.
“It was just a great fit,” Richardson said. “When I took the (official) visit last weekend, it was incredible. The atmosphere ... they’re all about the Mountaineers. I felt like it was a good vibe and it felt like a brotherhood like here at Fresno City.”
Richardson averaged 16.3 points (on 63.8% shooting) and 7.4 rebounds per game last season when the Rams advanced to the state semifinals. Richardson made all-tournament.
Richardson said he understands it will be a challenge to play in the Big 12.
“It’s going to be a big adjustment,” he said. “I’m ready to get in the weight room and be prepared whenever they need me. it’s really exciting and at the end of the day, I want to be a pro. I’ll be competing against guys that will get you ready for that. It’s one of the highest levels in college basketball.”