COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Joshua Ward-Hibbert, one of the top junior players in the world, has signed a national letter of intent with Texas A&M to add to an already stellar recruiting class.
“Joshua is a very talented athlete with a tremendous amount of upside,” Aggie head coach Steve Denton said. “He is one of the top international junior players in the world. As one of the top players in the world, he is looking to hone his skills at the collegiate level as a pathway to the professional ranks. He has a huge serve and forehand. He is a very good all court player that has already won grand slam junior doubles titles.”
Ward-Hibbert has been ranked as high as No. 14 (Mar. 26, 2012) in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings. The righthander was born Jan. 25, 1994 and calls Nottingham, United Kingdom, home. He started playing tennis at the age of seven and is not only one of the top tennis players in Britain, but was named to the basketball England U16 team as a guard.
The 6-4 Ward-Hibbert has had an exceptional year already. After winning the doubles title at the Orange Bowl, he teamed with Liam Broady to win the 2012 Australian Open boys’ doubles title. On the singles side in Australia, Ward-Hibbert advanced to the quarterfinals and took out the eighth and ninth seeds in the field. He competed in the juniors at Wimbledon in 2011 and recorded the fastest serve in the championships.
Ward-Hibbert adds to a great recruiting class joining Mitchell Krueger, who has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the ITF junior rankings and is considered the top recruit in the state of Texas, and Shane Vinsant, ranked as high as No. 19 in the ITF rankings and ranked as high as No. 2 on the Tennisrecruiting.net list.
The Texas A&M coaching staff of Steve Denton and Bob McKinley have not only proven to be effective teachers and recruiters leading the Aggies to back-to-back Top 10 finishes (2010-2011) and coaching the 2011 NCAA Doubles Champions of Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek, but both coaches had tremendous playing careers as well.
Denton was an outstanding professional player with 20 doubles titles that included a U.S. Open championship and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in doubles and was ranked as high as No. 11 in the world in singles. An All-American in collegiate tennis, Denton was named to the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named to the ITA Hall of Fame in 2008. As a professional player, he set a world record in 1984 for the fastest serve of 138 miles per hour that stood for 13 years.
Denton went out and hired Bob McKinley, a member of the ITA Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. McKinley was a four-time All-American and was the team captain for the 1972 NCAA Championship squad. He reached the Round of 16 in the 1973 Wimbledon Championships and reached the double semifinals at the U.S. Open in 1972. As a coach, McKinley coached an individual NCAA Champion as well as an NCAA Doubles Champion at Trinity and then was key in the 2011 Aggie National Champion duo of Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek. McKinley was named the 2011 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year.
The 2011-12 recruiting class joins the likes of Blue Chip Aggie recruits such as sophomore Junior Ore who was ranked as high as No. 3 in the country, redshirt freshman Jackson Withrow who was ranked as high as No. 6 in the land, and current true freshman Jeremy Efferding who was ranked as high as No. 5.