- Katie Barnes is a writer/reporter for espnW. Follow them on Twitter at Katie_Barnes3.
Elite women’s basketball recruit Aaliyah Gayles, who was shot 10 times at a house party in North Las Vegas on April 16, signed a national letter of intent to USC, the school announced Monday.
“Aaliyah is one of the most talented, athletically gifted basketball players I’ve known,” Trojans coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in a statement. “She is electric on the court, with her ability to score, defend and create for others with her ball-handling and vision. But from the moment I got to know her, I was also drawn to her character. Her humility, loyalty, warm personality and resilience set her apart, along with her athletic gifts.”
Gayles, the No. 8 recruit in the 2022 class according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz, was released from the hospital Saturday after undergoing three surgeries to repair injuries to her arms and legs.
Gayles was reportedly one of four people who was shot at the party. All four are expected to survive. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.
Gayles, a senior at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, was a McDonald’s All American. She played in the Jordan Brand Classic in Chicago on April 15, the day before she was shot. Gayles originally committed to USC under former coach Mark Trakh, but decommitted following his retirement. She recommitted in August under Gottlieb.
“Aaliyah is quite simply a unique and special young person who worked hard in every aspect to become a Trojan,” Gottlieb said. “It is these characteristics that, in her recent time of extreme trial, have allowed her to survive and will ensure that she continues to thrive. Aaliyah is a part of the USC family and we could not be more proud to be on this journey with her, every step of the way.”
Gayles, a 5-foot-9-inch point guard, averaged 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists last season for Spring Valley.
Gayles told Fox5 Las Vegas that while she has feeling in her arms, she doesn’t currently have feeling in her legs.
“Thank you for the support and love,” Gayles told Fox5 Las Vegas. “But my journey isn’t over yet.”
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