Whitewright forward Mason Riggins talks UNT, recruiting

Whitewright forward Mason Riggins blocks a shot during a game against Ponder during his freshman season. Riggins has grown into a top college prospect over the years and said this week that he is considering signing with UNT. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Whitewright is a little out of the way in just about every regard, but is particularly off the beaten path when it comes to college basketball recruiting.

The talent Whitewright forward Mason Riggins has displayed over the last few months has ensured that college coaches across the state and beyond break out their maps to make sure they get there and get into the race to sign with 6-foot-8 forward.

Riggins, who is ranked No. 30 in TexasHoops.com’s latest list of the top players in the state in the Class of 2015, had more than a dozen scholarship offers before cutting the list of schools he is still considering to 10 this week.

The senior said Friday that UNT is squarely in the hunt to sign him heading into the fall, especially after an unofficial visit to the school this summer when he had an opportunity to meet with head coach Tony Benford and assistant David Anwar on campus.

“I sat down with coach Benford,” Riggins said. “He is a really good person. I liked what he had to say about helping make me a better player.

“UNT is in my top 10.”

Long Beach State, Boise State, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Colorado State, Fresno State, UTA, Grand Canyon and Western Kentucky also made the cut.

The attention Riggins has received has prompted him to take a hard look at what is important to him as he considers cutting a list of schools that he said are all under equal consideration at this point even further.

“I am looking to play and am trying to go somewhere coaches will help me improve,” Riggins said. “I also want to go to a school that has coaching stability. I want to go somewhere the coach will be there four years.”

Riggins wants to major in business, so schools with a business program could also have an edge.

In the next few weeks, Riggins will have to decide where to take his five official visits.

“I have some questions that I want to ask colleges,” Riggins said. “Once I get done I will pick a top five or maybe a top three.”

That could be a tough task for Riggins considering the interest schools are showing and all the variety of options he has. Kyle Phifer, who is entering his first season as Whitewright’s head coach, said that Riggins has the type of ability that could help him make an impact early in his college career.

“He is 6-8 and has a long wing span,” Phifer said. “He has good vision and passes the ball well. He will translate to the college level. He knows how to play the game. The coaches at North Texas think that he can play early.”

Riggins plays for Triumph Gold during the summer AAU season and has shown the ability to play against players from larger high schools.

“My athleticism and rebounding ability are my strengths,” Riggins said. “I do as much as I can and keep it going the whole game.”

The question now is where Riggins will head for college after his senior season.

He still has plenty of options, despite playing for a school off the beaten path, even after cutting down the list of schools he is considering.

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