Photo courtesy of USA Today | Former Kickapoo High School standout and Xavier first-year Forward Jared Ridder declared his intent to transfer to Missouri State yesterday.
The men’s basketball team was hit with some unexpected news last week when it was announced that freshman Jared Ridder would be transferring immediately. Ridder stands at 6-7 and was widely regarded as one of the best shooters on a Xavier team since possibly the days of Brad Redford. Ridder, a native of Springfield, Mo. cited a desire to move home and play for a school in his home state.
He had been attending classes at Xavier and had been on campus to participate in workouts over the summer. Yet, despite this exposure, he made the decision to leave less than two weeks before the first official practice and less than a month before Musketeer Madness, an event that kicks off the new basketball season.
In a release posted to goxavier.com, Ridder said, “After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home.”
“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” head Coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Ridder was the No. 1 recruit from the Class of 2017 in the state of Missouri. He attended Kickapoo High School and finished his career as Kickapoo’s all-time leading scorer with 1,628 points. After his senior season, he was named the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball for the state of Missouri.
Within days of leaving Xavier’s campus, Ridder committed to Missouri State, a school that had originally recruited him before his commitment to Xavier. Because of NCAA transfer eligibility rules, Ridder will have to sit out this coming season before being able to play for the Bears in 2018-2019.
The loss of Ridder leaves Xavier with three on-campus members of their 2017 class, which was widely regarded as one of their best ever and ranked 11th nationally. Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall and Elias Harden find themselves on a team that returns six players who played substantial minutes in the Elite 8 run last spring.
This is a battle-tested Xavier squad led by a consensus pre-season All-American in the form of Trevon Bluiett.
Losing Ridder is a detriment to the team’s ability to stretch the floor and build for the future, but at present, Xavier’s team is still looking mighty fine.
There is no reason to believe the Musketeers can’t make another deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~