Forest Lake’s Ritchart commits to play basketball for UC Davis | TheUnion.com

Forest Lake’s Ritchart commits to play basketball for UC Davis

Seven schools offered scholarships and several more wanted to see what his senior year had to offer, but Forest Lake Christian’s Josh Ritchart has already made up his mind.

The 6-foot, 8-inch, 220-pound Falcon has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for the UC Davis Aggies.

“I always had it in mind that I wanted to sign early,” said Ritchart, who as a junior averaged 26.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game while leading FLC to a second straight appearance in the Division V section title game. “I had a lot of Pac-10 schools who wanted to wait and see my senior year in high school, but I decided that I wanted to sign early so I could focus on the school and my senior season.

“At first the recruiting was really cool, because I was getting phone calls from so many schools. But after a while it was taking a toll. I was on the phone two hours a day – every day – talking to coaches.”

Along with the Aggies, Ritchart also had offers from Air Force, Fresno State, St. Mary’s, San Jose State, Nevada and Pacific, which became a finalist due to some family ties.

During a visit to University of the Pacific, Ritchart was joined by his older brother Andrew, with whom he helped lead FLC to the 2007-08 section title. Andrew, who played at Cal State, East Bay last season, decided to transfer to UOP after the visit.

And then big brother joined the recruiting cause for the Tigers.

“He really wanted me to go there,” Josh said. “Every time we talked, he was trying to get me to go there. It would be really cool to play with my brother again, but Davis is the best fit for me.

“He was a little bummed out that I’m not going there, but he understands that I made the best decision for me.”

Now, as members of the Big West Conference, the Ritchart brothers are destined to revisit those backyard one-on-one battles on the college court twice each season.

“Someone gave us the idea that we should get T-shirts of both teams, split them down the middle and sew one half of each of them together,” said the boys’ mother, Mary Lou Ritchart.

The fact that their parents will be able to see them play in person did weigh into his decision, Josh said, but it wasn’t the deciding factor. He said after visiting Davis, meeting coach Gary Stewart and many of his future teammates, he said the choice became so clear that he canceled a scheduled visit to Nevada the following weekend.

“Overall, it was just the best fit for me,” he said. “After visiting Davis, I just knew where I wanted to be.”

Now that he’s made his decision, Ritchart has returned to the task at hand: Completing his senior year of studies and making a third-straight trip to Arco Arena for the section title game.

And this time, he said, he hopes his Falcons can bring the D-V championship banner back to the home nest.

“That’s really important to me,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 goal this year, to win sections. I think we can do it.

“We’ve already been conditioning and lifting weights for a month. Everybody is working hard. I think we might be an even better team than last year, so I think we’ve got a good chance at winning it.”

To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call 477-4240.


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