CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga announced two men's basketball signees on the first day of the spring signing period Wednesday. Lance Stokes (Orlando, Fla.) and Rico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) are both guards as well as the Mocs' fourth and fifth additions for the 2011-12 season.
"We are very excited about adding Lance and Rico to our family," said head coach John Shulman. "They bring different skill sets, but share a common attitude which is to excel on and off the court.
"Both come from great families and athletic backgrounds," added Shulman. "They are winners first and foremost. They're well-coached from outstanding programs."
Stokes had a scouting score of 87 from ESPN Scouts Inc., as the No. 66 small forward. He was listed on the Orlando Sentinal Central Florida top 20 and is the son of former NFL defensive lineman Fred Stokes, a starter on the 1992 Washington Redskins Super Bowl Champion squad.
In 2010-11, the 6-6 Stokes averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game for Lake Highland Prep in Orlando. He played for former Vanderbilt star and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Turner, earning MVP honors at the Gus Gibbs Rotary Tournament (DeLand, Fla). He was also all-tourney at the prestigious Great Florida Shootout.
Team captain his last two years, Stokes averaged 15.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest as a junior, shooting 51 percent from the floor. He led his team in charges taken each season as a three-year starter for the Highlanders.
White (6-3) keyed Bearden's run to the 2011 TSSAA Class AAA championship game. He scored 27 points and grabbed six boards in the semifinal win over Siegel. His father, Tony, was a star guard at Tennessee (1984-87) at the same time Turner played at Vandy.
A 2011 Tennessee McDonald's All-America nominee, White led the Bulldogs to tournament titles in the district and region, as well as the Island Jam (Puerto Rico) and Super 16. He was named to the all-tournament teams for the state, district and Super 16, while winning MVP honors at the region and Island Jam tourneys. He averaged 16.3 points per game in helping pacing Bearden's state tournament run.
Bearden went an amazing 135-13 (.912) during White's career. That includes a 34-3 mark this past season, 66-6 the last two. In five state tournament starts, White averaged 17.2 points and 4.4 boards per game.
"I can't stress enough how important their backgrounds meant in the process," noted Shulman. "Mark Blevins at Bearden (White) and Jeff Turner at Lake Highland Prep (Stokes) are phenomenal at what they do. These two young men are ready to step in and contribute because they understand the work that goes into preparing for championships."
Stokes and White join early signees Trey Brown (Brandon, Miss.), Emmanuel Ochenje (Carbondale, Ill.) and Xavian Rimmer (Jackson, Miss.). It's the first UTC signing class without a junior college player since 1996 which preceded the Mocs' run to the Sweet 16.
Chattanooga won its 18th regular-season Southern Conference title in 2011 in tying for the North Division championship. The Mocs return four starters and seven letter winners looking for its fourth division crown in five years and a SoCon-record 11th tournament title and trip to the NCAA Tournament.GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/GoMocs. Find out how to join the UTC Mocs Club and support more than 300 student-athletes by clicking here.