Wyoming Head Basketball Coach Steve McClain Announces Two Early Signees

Nov. 8, 2000

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

University of Wyoming headbasketball coach Steve McClain announced on Wednesday that twostudent-athletes have signed national letters-of-intent with the Cowboys.Donta Richardson of Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyo., and Jason Straightof Dunbar High School in Chicago, Ill., have both signed with Wyoming.

Donta Richardson (Pronounced: DAWN-tay), at 6-2 and 170-pounds, canplay either the point-guard, shooting-guard or small-forward positions. Heearned First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Region XIV honors atSheridan College as a freshman in 1999-2000. Richardson averaged 22.0points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists during his freshman season, whileleading Sheridan to a 30-2 record and a No. 7 national ranking in the finalNational Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll. Early in the2000-01 season, he is averaging 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and5.0 steals per game. Sheridan is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation. Heis coached by Brian Marso at Sheridan College.

In high school, Richardson played at Liberty High School in ColoradoSprings, Colo. Liberty won the 1999 4A State Championship, and Richardsonwas named Colorado's Mr. Basketball and 4A Player of the Year. He alsoearned First Team All-State, First Team All-Metro and First TeamAll-Conference honors. His high school averages included 20.7 points, 3.5rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He also shot 91.0 percent from thefree-throw line. His high-school coach was James Chapman.

The son of Cheryl and Robert Richardson, he plans on majoring inbusiness at UW. Richardson was also recruited by Auburn, Colorado State,UNC-Charlotte and Utah State.

"Donta (Richardson) is a young man who we've had our eye on for thelast two years," said McClain. "He is a player who is ideal for our systembecause he can play either the point, two-guard or small-forward spots forus. He is as good a shooter as I saw last year in junior-collegebasketball. I like the fact that he will come to us next year as a matureplayer, who can really shoot the ball.

"Signing Donta, who is a native of Colorado, is also a step in theright direction for our program. Justin French, who graduated last year, isthe only Colorado player we've had in our system in the two years I've beenhere. We've worked hard as a staff in the high schools in Colorado, and Ibelieve this will show players in the state of Colorado just how interestedwe are in bringing good players from Colorado into our program."

Jerry Mullen, of Mullen's Roundball Review, had praise forRichardson. "Donta Richardson is the real deal," said Mullen. "He is veryathletic, and can really score. Donta can also create scoring opportuniteisfor others around him. He is one of the better combo guards coming out ofjunior college this year."

Jason Straight is a 5-11, 165-pound point guard from Dunbar HighSchool in Chicago, Ill. He enters his senior season having earned FirstTeam All-State honors as a junior by both the Associated Press and theChicago Tribune. Straight was also a First Team All-City, First TeamAll-Area and First Team All-Conference selection for the 1999-2000 season,while averaging 27.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. Hisjunior season of 1999-2000, Dunbar High posted a 20-8 record, captured aconference championship and advanced to the third round of the CityChampionship. As a sophomore in the 1998-99 season, Straight's Dunbar squadwent 20-5, tied for the conference title and made it to the Sweet 16 of theState Championship. Along the way, that 1998-99 team defeated the No. 8ranked high school team in the country, Simon-Gratz High School ofPhiladelphia, Pa., and gave eventual Illinois State Champion St. Joseph'stheir only loss of the season. Dunbar High has lost only two conferencegames over the past two seasons. Straight is coached by Fate Mickel atDunbar High, and by Stan White with the Illinois Gold AAU team.

Straight is the grandson of Mrs. Addie Thompson. He plans onmajoring in communications. Straight was also recruited by Boston College,Marquette, New Mexico State and St. Louis.

"We're really excited to sign Jason (Straight)," said McClain."He's a true point guard, and he comes from a great high-school program atDunbar High School in Chicago. Chicago is an area I've felt we could reallyrecruit hard here at Wyoming, and this is our first step into that area.Jason is a young man who has been a part of winning in Coach (Fate) Mickel'sprogram. He is a kid who everyone in the city of Chicago knows. I think wegot a steal in Jason Straight. He is a point guard who can both score anddistribute the ball. He averaged 27 points last year, and at the same timehanded out eight assists per game.

"The signing of Jason is great for our program, because it will nowgive us a freshman point guard to come in next season and compete with ChrisMcMillian, who will be a senior next year. It will give us anotheroutstanding player, and it will give Jason an opportunity to grow and learnour system from a senior who knows what it's like to play at the collegelevel."

National recruiting expert Bob Gibbons of All-Star Scouting Serviceranks Straight Among his Top 75 players in the nation, and ranks him in theTop 15 in the nation at point guard.

"Jason Straight is an outstanding playmaker," said Gibbons. "He isan excellent penetrator and has the talent and intelligence to get everyonehe plays with involved. While playing with the Illinois Gold AAU team thelast couple of summers, he had the opportunity to play with the nation's No.1 ranked senior this year -- Eddie Curry. Curry loved Jason because Jasonknew how to get Curry the ball. Jason helped lead the Gold to the AAUNational Championship tournament last summer. He is an outstanding recruitfor the Cowboys."

Gibbons also had this to say about Wyoming's overall recruitingclass. "The function of recruiting is to fill needs in your program. Lastyear, Wyoming brought some size into its program with its recruiting class.This year they bring in two quality guards. The Cowboys have put two strongrecruiting classes together in back-to-back years."