Georgia Bulldogs add high-scoring JUCO All-American

Dalen Ridgnal averaged 21.1 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while leading Cowley County (Kan.) Community College to a runner-up finish in NJCAA Tournament. (Photo from Cowley College)
Dalen Ridgnal averaged 21.1 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while leading Cowley County (Kan.) Community College to a runner-up finish in NJCAA Tournament. (Photo from Cowley College)

ATHENS – Georgia basketball is almost back to fielding a full team.

The Bulldogs on Tuesday received a commitment from Dalen Ridgnall, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Kansas City, Mo. Ridgnall has attended Cowley College, a junior college in Arkansas City, Kan., for the past two years. He earned third-team All-American honors as a freshman, but no All-American team for the 2020-21 season has been announced yet.

When it does, Ridgnal should be on it. This past season, Ridgnal led Cowley to its first region championship in 64 years, pacing the team in scoring (21.1 ppg) and rebounding (12.8 pg). The Tigers went 24-5 and finished as NJCAA national runner-up. Ridgnal did earn player-of-the-year honors in the Jayhawk Conference and first-team All-Region VI honors, a talent-rich area that encompasses many of the powerful Kansas junior colleges.

When it was over, Ridgnal led the nation in points scored (611) and ranked No. 2 in field goals made, including 60 3-pointers while shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc and 47.5% overall. He started all 29 games, while recording double-doubles in 23 of them.

Ridgnal also generated interest from LSU, Oklahoma State, Creighton and St. Bonaventure, according to basketball recruiting sites. He was not rated as a prospect coming out of Kansas City’s Rockhurst High, but reportedly drew interest from Auburn and Murray State.

Ridgnal’s addition gets Georgia’s roster back to a competitive level after losing six players via the transfer portal in the last year. He is the third member of the 2021 recruiting class, joining 3-star high school prospects Camron McDowell of McEachern (6-5 guard) and Tyrone Baker of Missouri City, Texas (6-9 forward). Four other players are coming in via the transfer portal: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (from Virginia), Noah Baumann (Southern Cal), Braelen Bridges (Illinois-Chicago) and Jailyn Ingram (Florida Atlantic).

It remains unclear if any of Georgia’s three graduate transfers from last season are going to return for the extra season of eligibility offered by the NCAA. Otherwise, the only returnees from last season’s 14-12 team are guard K.D. Johnson, forwards Jonathan Ned, Josh Taylor and Tyron McMillan and walk-on Jaxon Etter.

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