It's been a whirlwind recruiting journey for Malia Nawahine: from unknown transfer to a Utes basketball commit.
"It slowly got more intense, I guess" the senior says. "I think the state tournament helped my recruiting process. It started with [Utah Valley University] then a lot of coaches were interested."
It was less than a year ago that high school basketball coaches started taking notice of Springville's new basketball star, a 5-foot-10 guard who moved from San Diego. She truly seized the spotlight in last year's 4A state tournament, however, scoring 91 points in four games as the Red Devils finished runner-up.
That performance, combined with a tour across the West with the Utah Flight club team propelled Nawahine from unknown to arguably the best in-state prospect for 2013.
BYU and Utah both wanted the guard who aggressively attacks the basket, who has long-range shooting touch, who can even bang inside for the tough rebounds. In the end, Nawahine felt a good connection with the Utes coaching staff and wanted to fulfill a dream of playing in the Pac-12.
It helped her decision that she's started to think of Utah as her home.
"I like that the majority of people are Mormon here," she said. "Some of my family went to Utah, and a lot of my friends are staying in Utah to go to college."
The recent LDS Church announcement that women can go on missions at 19 is unlikely to affect Nawahine. She plans to go play for the Utes right away, either as a shooting guard or small forward.
She also feels good about her team's prospects this winter. Springville has a lot of returning talent and hopes to be back in the 4A title game. The Red Devils showed their potential on a recent weekend, winning a preseason tournament at Mountain View.
"It's pretty nice to have this decision done with," she said. "Everyone at my school was supportive of my decision, and now I can focus on other things."
Other notes on two upcoming basketball events this weekend:
• The Utah Women's Basketball Coaches Association is hosting its annual coaching clinic, Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Huntsman Center and has a special guest. Nell Fortner, who led the 2000 US basketball team to a gold medal in Sydney among other WNBA and college career achievements, will be leading a session. It will be an opportunity for coaches to also learn about new rules this winter.
Contact UWBCA president Vicki Bohney through Taylorsville High School, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
• Salt Lake Community College is hosting a senior high school basketball showcase this Friday, Oct. 12, at the Lifetime Activity Center at the Redwood Road Campus. NAIA, Division II and Juco coaches will be on-hand to scout. The directors of the showcase will also help educate attendees on the recruiting process and the NCAA Clearinghouse.
For more information, contact Landon Crosby at 801-695-5005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon