The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team has found its third 2013 commit.
Aleeya Harris, a 6-foot-1 senior forward from John Jay High School in San Antonio, gave her verbal pledge to the program Saturday while on her official visit to WKU.
Theresa Nunn, Harris’ AAU coach with the South Texas Hoyas, confirmed the commitment.
“I think immediately, her rebounding, her athleticism and her presence in the paint are going to be a factor,” Nunn said. “She should be able to make an impact right away by altering shots and creating mismatches.”
Harris has lots of experience at the forward positions but has transitioned to more of a center role, Nunn said.
She averaged nine points and 5.6 rebounds a game as a junior at John Jay, according to MaxPreps.com, and averaged 15.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and five blocks this year on the AAU circuit, Nunn said.
Harris’ blocking expertise has been aided by her participation in volleyball.
“She’s transitioned really well to that five spot,” Nunn said. “Her strengths definitely include blocking shots. We have a joke that she’s on the SWAT team, because she literally leads the city in blocks. Her timing is amazing.”
Harris and Nunn have connections to the Lady Toppers. WKU assistant coach Margaret Richards, who has recruited Harris, previously recruited some of Nunn’s players while the former was an assistant at Weber State.
Harris also played in the same high school district in San Antonio with WKU sophomore guard Alexis Govan, who served as Harris’ host on campus this weekend, Nunn said.
“They’ve always said great things about Western Kentucky,” Nunn said of Govan and her family. “The fact that she was the host on her visit definitely helped, because it made her totally comfortable and at home.”
The Lady Toppers will likely use Harris at center while they lack size, Nunn said, but the coaches have hopes of eventually moving her back to a more natural position at the 3 or 4 spot.
“She’s a great kid,” Nunn said. “In four years, I’ve never had one problem with her. She’s a hard worker and definitely a leader. She’s really grown offensively. On my team, she was more of a role player, and now she’s definitely the go-to person.”
Harris joins Paul Laurence Dunbar guard Kierra Muhammad and Bloom Township (Ill.) center Bria Gaines as verbal commits in WKU’s 2013 class.
The Lady Toppers have one scholarship remaining, but coach Michelle Clark-Heard said this month that the staff will probably keep it vacant to use for 2014. WKU has no seniors this season.