UVU basketball: three sign NLIs for Nixon, UVU women's basketball on signing day
OREM — Utah Valley University women's basketball head coach Cathy Nixon announced the signing of three prep players to National Letters of Intent during the NCAA's early signing period. All three are high school seniors and will enter the 2014-15 season as true freshmen.
Inking with UVU are guards Taylor Gordon and Madi Kelly as well as center Brooke Wheeler. Both Gordon and Wheeler are Utah products, while Kelly hails from nearby Idaho.
"We're thrilled to have all three of these talented players on board," Nixon said of the signings. "It's always a sigh of relief once you see that signature on the dotted line. It's been a varied recruiting process for each one of these players and I'm just excited to be able to see each of them join the Wolverine family. I truly believe that all three of these girls will help to maintain and grow the culture of our program with their outstanding characters and academic success."
Gordon is a 5-foot-8 shooting guard out of Mount Pleasant, Utah, and North Sanpete HS. She enters her senior season off a junior campaign in which she averaged 13.4 points per game and earned a spot on the 3A all-state team from the Deseret News. A three-year varsity letterwinner, Gordon helped her team reach the playoffs out of Region 12. A three sport athlete, Gordon also plays volleyball and softball. She also received recruiting interest from San Diego, Utah State, Weber State and Wyoming.
"We've been pursuing Taylor for quite some time and we're excited about her athleticism and versatility," Nixon said. "She's someone that over the period of time that we've been watching her has just been getting better and better. She has a huge upside and could be an impact player in our program."
A 5-7 point guard out of Eagle, Idaho, Kelly has been an integral player for Rocky Mountain High School since her freshman season. That year, she earned honorable mention all-conference accolades after scoring 9.5 points per game and has since then has earned back-to-back selections to the all-conference second team. As a junior, Kelly, sister of Arizona State starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, was second on the team in scoring at 9.1 ppg while leading the team with just over two assists and nearly three steals per contest.
"Madi is an athletic guard that we hope will add versatility on both ends of the floor for us," Nixon said. "She has a strong work ethic and I know that she will eager to put in the effort it takes to make an impact here."
From Springville HS in Springville, Utah, comes Wheeler — a center who was a junior on the Red Devils' 4A State Championship winning team this last season. She averaged 8.6 ppg and 7.8 rebounds per game on that title-winning squad on her way to a 4A third team all-state selection. At 6-3, Wheeler was second in the state in blocked shots at 2.7 swats per game and also ranked third in rebounding. She was a first team All-Valley selection last season. Boise State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and Weber State were among her suitors entering the signing period.
"Brooke is coming from a very successful program out in Springville and has great size and length," Nixon said. "We hope she has the ability to become a low block presence for us combined with the ability to face up and add some range to her offense. She's just at the beginning of her basketball success and we fell like she will come in and blossom in our program."
The trio will become the second recruiting class in Utah Valley's WAC era and will be the second class to play all four years with NCAA Tournament automatic qualification within reach.
"I'm excited to have all of them officially become Wolverines and I wish them the best in their senior seasons," Nixon said. "We can't wait to have them step on campus next fall."
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.