Vinita’s versatile Chris Francis, who played on back-to-back state finalist teams, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Rogers State University and play basketball.

He is the third signee with the program that will not begin play until the fall of 2007.

RSU coach and athletic director Wren Baker made the announcement on Friday.

“Chris brings a strong court presence, and he’s a player with a lot of upside,” Baker said.

“Once he’s had a year to mature physically and hit the weight room, he will be able to develop into a player who will make a strong contribution early in his career.”

The 6-3, 185-pound Francis helped lead Vinita to the Class 4A state title games during his sophomore and junior years, and he was named first-team all-tournament both years.

During his senior year, he averaged 17 points, four rebounds and three assists, and was selected to play in the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association’s all-star game in Shawnee. He is the son of Chris and Tina Francis of Cleora.

“Chris has been one of our best players and a real team leader during the last three years,” Vinita coach Wes Brown said. “He’s an exceptional player with a strong work ethic both on and off the court.”

Like the players who signed before him, Francis will redshirt during the 2006-07 season at RSU, and will have four years of eligibility remaining.

Baker previously announced basketball signees Maurice Rutherford of Broken Bow and Camaron Dearinger of Glencoe, a transfer who played one year at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

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