ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dane Kuiper, a 6-foot-7 wing from Tempe (Ariz.) Corona del Sol High School, was selected Monday as the No. 1 ranked player in the state of Arizona by longtime Arizona Republic high school sports editor Richard Obert.
Kuiper, who gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of New Mexico a year ago before his junior season began, was the first player to commit to the Lobos for the Class of 2015. Verbal commitments are non-binding and player can not sign a National Letter of Intent for the 2015 recruiting class until November, but Kuiper and his family have been very public about their commitment to the Lobos being a solid one as he heads into his senior season while playing on the AAU circuit with his Arizona Power team.
One of his teammates and close friends on Arizona Power, 6-8 power forward Mitch Lightfoot who is entering his junior season at Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian (he played last season for Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High School), has already made unofficial visits to UNM and the Lobos are hopeful he may be the team’s first commitment of the 2016 class.
Of Kuiper’s No. 1 ranking in the state of Arizona, Obert wrote: “Great defender who sacrificed scoring last season to shut down opposing team’s top scorers, helping the Aztecs win a third consecutive Division I championship. Very unselfish player who has great offensive skills, can slash to the basket or fire away with great accuracy from the 3-point arc. Great in transition.”
Kuiper has since been joined in making a verbal commitment to UNM for the 2015 recruiting class by point guard Jordan Hunter of Beaumont (Texas) Ozen High School and shooting guard Anthony Mathis of West Linn (Ore.) High School.
UNM head coach Crag Neal can not comment on specific recruits until they sign a letter of intent.