Jaelyn Bates is not even 10 games into her high school career at Volcano Vista High School.
She already is high on the list of New Mexico’s elite.
Volcano Vista’s fantastic 5-foot-5 scoring guard last month became the third girl from Albuquerque to receive a scholarship offer from Mike Bradbury, who coaches the University of New Mexico’s women’s basketball team.
“He said I was the youngest,” Bates said.
The Lobos already had offered two other standout guards, sophomores Cailee Crawford of Highland and Viane Cumber of Sandia. Bradbury himself cannot comment on any unsigned player, except to confirm a school’s recruitment.
Bates was overjoyed by UNM’s scholarship offer.
“It put a smile on my face,” said Bates, who has exploded onto the prep scene in the season’s first month, averaging 22.3 points in nine games this season for Volcano Vista (7-2), which plays Atrisco Heritage today in the first round of the Albuquerque Metro Championships. She also is averaging 4.4 assists and 5 steals a game. “It definitely boosted my confidence a little bit.”
Bates was offered by UNM a few days after Volcano Vista met Sandia last month, and expressed an affection for Bradbury’s fast-paced ideals.
The Lobos are Bates’ first official offer, although Michigan – where former UNM coach Yvonne Sanchez is now an assistant with the Wolverines – and Arizona have shown interest, she said. Bates also said she likes South Carolina as a potential college destination.
The 15-year-old Bates, who was born in the Netherlands, is one of four freshmen starters for the Hawks, who are seeded third for the metro tournament. She said she, plus fellow ninth-graders Kennedy Brown, Natalia Chavez and Angelyn Aranda all have played together for several years. (Another member of their former club team is Juliana Aragon of Bernalillo, who is scoring at almost 24 points a game so far as a freshman for the Spartans, including a 44-point outing.)
Playing Division I basketball is Bates’ goal, she said, but she also realizes the attention and scrutiny coming her way over the next several years. Her father, Barry, once played professionally in Europe.
“It (basketball) is something I really love to do,” said the soft-spoken Bates, who wears goggles when she plays and also had to have surgery at age 2 to repair a hole in her heart. “It’s something I look forward to.”
• Sandia’s Cumber was offered by UNM in the summer of 2017, she said.
“He’s done a great job with the girls that he has,” Cumber said of UNM and Bradbury. “I really enjoy watching them play.”
San Diego State, Clemson, Arizona State and New Mexico State also have scholarship offers on the table to Cumber, who missed all of her freshman season with a knee injury. She is averaging 17.6 points this season.
UNM offered Crawford last summer, joining New Mexico State. Crawford, a 6-1 guard for the Hornets, is averaging 24.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3 assists for Highland.
First-round boys and girls games will be scattered across the city today, with 16 combined games at eight locations. (See the full schedule on page B4). Teams wlll play a demanding schedule, with four games in five days.
Unbeatens West Mesa and La Cueva, who now are part of the same district, are the top two girls seeds, with Volcano Vista seeded third and Rio Rancho fourth.
If the top seeds all reach the semifinals, the Hawks would play La Cueva, with West Mesa facing Rio Rancho.
The semifinals are Friday at Volcano Vista, the final at 4 p.m. Saturday, also at Volcano Vista.
• Four of the top five boys seeds are all from District 1-5A: No. 1 Cleveland, No. 2 Volcano Vista, No. 4 Atrisco Heritage and No. 5 Rio Rancho. Eldorado is the No. 3 seed.
Former district rivals La Cueva and Manzano are in the 8-9 game today at Manzano. New district rivals Valley (11) and Hope Christian (6) also square off in the first round.
Second-round games for boys and girls are Wednesday. The boys semifinals are at Rio Grande on Friday, with the final at 6 p.m. Saturday at Volcano Vista.