September 19, 2010

Point guard commit eyes the Wave's future

When Ricky Tarrant thinks about Tulane basketball, he's not just looking at the next four years.

He's thinking about the next 10.

"I just want to play and do well there so I can look back 10 years from now and know that I helped make this something better," Tarrant said. "I want to be a part of making it special."

The Green Wave's first commitment for the 2011 class said he wants to be a part of reshaping the image of Tulane's basketball program and can do that with the ball in hands.

An aggressive floor-leader who is able distribute on drive-and-kicks as well as score for himself from the outside (averaging 19 points and five assists in Alabama's 5A classification), Tarrant is eager to take the reins of coach Ed Conroy's offense.

"I talked for a while with coach Conroy and the staff and what they want from their point guard is exactly what I want to do," Tarrant said. "It gives the point guard a chance to have an impact in a lot of ways. It's a lot of freedom so I can show my skills and that's a real positive.

"He showed me some film from his teams at The Citadel and I saw the way the point guard can control the flow and set up everyone to score a lot points and keep the offense flowing."

The three-star prospect committed to the Green Wave during his official visit last weekend, after being "pleasantly surprised" by the Uptown campus and festive atmosphere around both Tulane and New Orleans.

It was enough to spurn offers from Wichita State, South Alabama, Cleveland State and Murray State. The Birmingham product plans to put his signature on the National Letter of Intent when the early signing period opens next month, and open up the Green Wave offense for the next four years.

"Tarrant can make the open three or set up a teammate with his ability to penetrate and drive, draw and kick," wrote an analyst at ESPN.com. "He also does a great job of drawing fouls and converting at the free throw line. Tarrant has excellent speed and quickness and can beat defenders with his ability charge speeds and directions on a dime."

The commitment of a high-level point guard is an early lynchpin to the crucial 2011 class, which has at least four openings and can immediately reshape the program in Conroy's image.

With a few needs still left on the board and official visitors making their way into New Orleans over the following weekends, expect Tarrant to have some future classmates on board when the early signing period comes to a close.

It's a decision, he said, that was easy to make.

"I was really surprised by whole experience at Tulane and I want to start there as soon as I can," Tarrant said. "The campus was really beautiful and it's a lot better than what I expected. It's also in New Orleans, so, you know that it's going to be fun too. I had a good time.

"I really like the staff and after talking to them I just believed that they are going to get it done for Tulane and make this a great team."


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