By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Doyle Rowland lost a lot of inside height off last year’s Class 6A quarterfinal squad. But it’s apparent he’s entering 2012-13 with some big-name guards.
Alexus Wilson on Tuesday signed with Oral Roberts, marking the Muskogee High’s first Division I signee in any sport since Victor Williams inked with Dartmouth in football last fall.
“She’s been on the D-1 radar really for the last year, year and a half,” Rowland said. “She’s gotten a lot of attention at these AAU showcases and that’s in turn brought a lot of inquiries to us about her.”
Wilson, a 5-9 guard, visited Utah State and ORU. Utah and South Dakota had also shown serious interest. South Dakota is where Amy Williams, wife of Lloyd Williams, the Muskogee boys coach last season, is now head women’s coach.
In the end, Wilson said she wanted to get it done early and, in case it isn’t obvious from the geography, she liked being closer to home.
“I’m definitely closer if something happens,” she said. “I also liked the relationships I made up there with coaches and the campus is a really positive atmosphere.”
She said the ORU staff also saw her in last year’s quarterfinals where the Lady Roughers’ first state trip since 2001 ended in a loss to Midwest City.
Rowland thinks her versatility at the guard spots helped her get recruited. She averaged 11.7 points, 2.2 assists, 6 rebounds and 2.5 steals last season.
“We’re happy for her,” Rowland said. “She has the work habits and the shooting ability to play a two guard and if necessary the one. She goes vertical well and she’s a good rebounding guard. There’s a lot of intangibles she brings to the table but I’d say her rebounding and ball handling over the course of a year has gotten really good. That’s going to help us out too.”
Wilson isn’t the only Lady Rougher expected to go Division I. Kelsey McClure is being recruited by Missouri, Missouri Southern, Arkansas and Arkansas State, but hasn’t made a decision.
The week-long NCAA fall signing period for several college sports began Wednesday.
NSU lands pair
Two other Lady Roughers will continue playing together after signing with Northeastern State.
Paige Gann was an All-Phoenix selection who hit .422 and was 13-10 with a 1.61 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 152 1/3 innings.
Jessi Venable was an All-Phoenix Newcomer of the Year as a freshman who hit .300 last year. She injured her shoulder late this fall and had shoulder surgery in October. She was recruited as a first baseman.