LITTLE ROCK - The UALR men's basketball team picked up its fourth addition for the 2011-12 season on Wednesday with the signing of Talihina (Okla.) High School product Taggart Lockhart. A 6-5 guard/forward, Lockhart received All-State honors from multiple organizations in 2011 after leading Talihina to the Oklahoma Class 2A State Championship by averaging 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
"I'm excited to have Taggart join our program. He is a guard who can play a number of different spots on the floor and brings good flexibility to our team. He fills a definite need for us with the departures of Alex Garcia-Mendoza, Solomon Bozeman and Matt Mouzy," said UALR head coach Steve Shields. "Taggart shoots the ball really well, but also has the ability to put it on the floor and go to the hole. He has a really good work ethic and I'm looking forward to getting him on campus."
Lockhart capped off his high school career by receiving Class 2A All-State honors from the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association (OBCA), the Oklahoman and the Tulsa World. He was named Class 2A Player of the Year by both the OBCA and Vype Magazine, and also received Small School Player of the Year honors from OUHoops.com. In addition, Lockhart was named to the Super Five Second Team by the Oklahoman, and will play in the OBCA All-State game on the campus of Oral Roberts University on July 28.
As a senior at Talihina, Lockhart led the Golden Tigers to a 27-2 record, capped off by a 42-27 victory over Preston in the state championship game. Lockhart put together a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double in the championship game against Preston, which capped off a 20-game win streak by Talihina. He averaged 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a senior, while shooting 48 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line.
"Taggart is an extremely hard worker. He's a really a hard-nosed, tough kid that can take the ball to the hole, pull up and shoot a jumper or shoot the three-point shot. He's a 100 percent team player that will do whatever it takes to win a game," said Talihina head coach Chris Gillespie. "This year, he played out of position most of the time, which really helped us win the state championship. He played the post for us, where it would have been better for him personally to play on the perimeter. I think coach Shields will really be pleased with Taggart when they get him on campus, especially when he's able to play at his natural position and come off of screens."
Lockhart helped the Golden Tigers to a 105-15 record during his prep career, which included runner-up finishes at the 2009 and 2010 state tournament before leading Talihina to its first-ever basketball state title in 2011. The Golden Tigers suffered a one-point overtime loss to Pawnee in both the 2009 and 2010 state championship games.
Lockhart averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game as a junior to help Talihina to a 27-3 record and pick up his first of two-straight Black Diamond Conference Player of the Year awards. A four-time All-Conference selection, Lockhart was twice named to the OBCA All-Region Team and also participated in the Faith 7 game (Oklahoma versus Texas).
Lockhart is the fourth player to sign with UALR for the 2011-12 season. Will Neighbour (Aldershot, England/Daytona State College), James White (Jonesboro, Ga./Jonesboro HS) and Reggie Fondren (Memphis, Tenn./Northwest Mississippi CC) all signed with UALR during the fall period.