Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins High School five-star 6-foot-4 post player Maya Nnaji, rated the the No. 7 Class of 2022 prospect overall by ESPN, announced Monday her commitment to Arizona via Instgram.
Nnaji, the sister of former Arizona men’s basketball standout Zeke Nnaji, is the highest rated recruit in the history of the women’s program. Tampa (Fla.) guard Kailyn Gilbert, another Arizona commit from the Class of 2022, is rated No. 18 by ESPN.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes and her staff beat heavyweights Stanford and South Carolina, among many other elite programs, to land Maya.
“This is the biggest decision of my life, but the answer has never been clearer” Maya says in a video. “My entire family has been praying to the most high for an answer and show me me the way, and I know He has done just that.
“I want to go to a school that will fulfill my aspirations of becoming a doctor and play for a coach who looks like me. I want to blaze my own trail and win championships with a program that knows what it takes to get there. The school has supported me and watched me from the sidelines from Day One.
“They saw the spark in me at an early age and now make me feel like family. With that being said, I will be attending the University of Arizona.”
The film shows Zeke passing a ball to Maya, who unzips her warmup top and shows an Arizona shirt that says: “Our Time.” It ends with Maya announcing her decision over a Zoom call to Barnes and her husband Salvo Coppa (an assistant) and assistants Erin Grant and April Phillips.
Maya averages 14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in her career at Hopkins, which is coached by Tara Starks, mom of former Arizona player Tee Tee Starks.
ESPN’s scouting report of Maya: Skilled interior performer delivers efficiently in the paint; interior footwork, utilizes either hand to finish in traffic; emerging face up game; a defensive intimidator, alters shots, initiates the fast break, mobile in transition; an impact prospect in the class of 2022.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District