LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State head women’s basketball coach Mark Trakh bolstered his roster for the 2017-18 season with the additions of Kalei Atkinson, Shanaijah Davison, Makayla Mabry, Pam Wilmore and Jaelyn Royal on national signing day. The signings feature three guards and two forwards with a pair being ranked in the top 150 nationally.
“We are very excited about this class. This could be the best recruiting class that we have brought in since I have been at New Mexico State,” Trakh said. “We have speed, quickness, athleticism, length and shooting ability. This is a class we feel can keep us at the top of the conference.”
Trakh credited his staff for the legwork in recruiting this class. “I want to give credit where credit is deserved and that is to my assistant coaches. Associate head coach Jason Glover and assistant coaches Ashley Ford and Blanche Alverson did a great job bringing this class in. They worked tirelessly and should be commended on their success and their immediate contribution to our program, so I need to give a big shout out to my other coaches.”
Kalei Atkinson | Torrance, Calif.
6-0 | Guard | West High School
Club Team: So Cal Select
Kalei Atkinson hails from Torrance, Calif., where she has played varsity basketball for West High School since 2014-15. During her junior year campaign, Atkinson averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.6 steals, per game. This season saw her lead West High School to the southern section championship, for the second year in a row.
As a sophomore, Atkinson again helped her team all the way to a victory in the southern section championship. Over the course of two years, Kalei led her high school to an overall record of 51-16. Atkinson uses her longer wingspan (6-foot-2) to stifle players defensively and shut down opposing teams’ top scorers.
“Long, tall athletic wing that is also a great shooter” said Trakh. “Kalei can play the one through four positions. She is an excellent shooter and ball handler and a very good defensive player. She has a tremendous upside and spends countless hours in the gym working on her game.”
Shanaijah Davison | Antelope, Calif.
5-8 | Guard | Pioneer High School
Club Team: JBS
Shanaijah Davison, one of two Aggie recruits out of California, ranked No. 142 nationally for all recruits and No. 36 for all point guards in the country. The 5-8 guard averaged 28.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 steals per game during her junior year.
A natural scorer, Shanaijah dropped a career-high 47 points during her sophomore season. During the summer, the guard out of Antelope, Ca. plays for Just Believe Sports travel basketball program based out of Sacramento.
“Shanaijah is an athletic point guard with exceptional speed and quickness,” Trakh said of Davison. “She has the ability to score at every level because she can get to the basket and shoot the three. She has a 47 point game in high school and averaged 28 points per game last season. We believe she was very underrated and can be a special player here.”
Makayla Mabry | San Antonio, Texas
6-2 | Forward | Incarnate Word High School
Club Team: San Antonio’s Finest
The talented forward ranks No. 128 nationally for all women’s basketball recruits.
The forward has great ability to defend inside and she is also able to stretch defenses with her range. As a freshman, Mabry was named to the newcomer team for the all-district honors. That recognition was followed up with an impressive run sophomore year which saw Mabry get named the all-district Offensive MVP.
“Makayla brings great length and size to our post position. She has a great shot, going out to three point range, and is a good athlete,” Trakh said. “She can also run the floor well and is a great rebounder which will make here a great player here at New Mexico State.”
Pam Wilmore | Las Vegas, Nev.
5-6 | Guard | Centennial High School
Wilmore joins the Aggies from the same high school that produced Aggie senior guard Tamera William. The 5-foot-6-inch Wilmore was a second-team all-state selection and first-team all-division as a junior; after helping the Bulldogs win their second straight Division I state title. She averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals last season. Along the way, the team beat four nationally ranked opponents and finished No. 4 in the USA Today poll.
Wilmore began playing varsity basketball in 2014-15 where she was named third-team all-state and first-team all-division after capturing her first state championship. Through the first two seasons, the Las Vegas native helped Centennial to a 62-3 overall record and 16-0 in league play.
“Very quick, fast, athletic guard. Proven winner playing for one of the top five high school teams in the country,” Trakh commented. “She can get to the rim and shoot the three and her lockdown defensive play will fit well in to our pressing system. Pam can be a good player for us.”
Jaelyn Royal | Las Vegas, Nev.
6-0 | Forward | Coronado High School
Club Team: So Cal Select
Royal is a 6-0 sharpshooter with elite size who will help complement current Aggie, Gia Pack. Royal underwent brain surgery in 2013. A quicker-than-expected recovery allowed her to come back much earlier than expected as a sophomore at Liberty High School. Junior year, Jaelyn transferred to Coronado HS and had to sit out a year due to transfer rules. Jaelyn also serves as an ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network.
“Jaelyn is a long, athletic wing who has a great shot,” said Trakh. “She will impact the game with her length and her deep three point shooting range. She is an Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network as she had brain surgery three years ago and her ability to recover so quickly is commended. We are really excited to have such a great player join our team.”