The 2010 Missouri basketball team begins practice today with five players who have never worn a Missouri uniform. Leading the pack of transfer students and freshmen is junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe, who was named the preseason Newcomer of the Year by Big 12 coaches on Thursday.
The Hampton, Va., native transferred to Missouri after two prolific years at Central Florida Community College. Ratliffe averaged 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds in his sophomore year to earn national junior college player of the year honors.
Ratliffe’s two years in junior college earned him back-to-back first team all-NJCAA All-America honors, making him one of just 13 players to do so twice in a career. He also set school records in scoring and rebounding with 1,653 points and 580 boards in two seasons.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound post presence was recruited by Missouri for his size and ability to score from the block. The Tigers have lacked a strong inside scorer in past seasons and will also benefit from his rebounding.
This Preseason Newcomer of the Year award was the second for the Tigers under coach Mike Anderson, with DeMarre Carroll winning it before the 2007-08 season.
Missouri fans will have a chance to see Ratliffe and the rest of this year’s team in action at the Black and Gold Game Oct. 28.