Two East Valley basketball prospects are back on the market after requesting release from their national letters of intent to play at New Mexico.
Ty Abbott of Phoenix Desert Vista was granted his release on Friday and Mesa Dobson’s Mickey McConnell is expected to be released by the end of this week. Their releases come in the wake of the firing of New Mexico head coach and Mesa Westwood grad Ritchie McKay last month.
Abbott, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, was contacted over the weekend by Connecticut, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Washington State. His recruiting options are somewhat limited because he took three of his allowed five official visits prior to signing with New Mexico.
“I think they’re just putting their feelers out there to see if he’s truly interested,” Abbott’s mother Traci Hawkins said. “He’s listening.”
Arizona State’s interest in Abbott seems to have cooled after Missouri prospect Johnny Coy’s commitment last week put the team up against the scholarship limit.
McConnell, a 6-0 guard, originally intended to wait until New Mexico hired a new coach before deciding whether or not to ask for his release. However, the school is still at least a week away from naming a new coach and several of its top candidates are still coaching in the NCAA tournament.
With the late signing period beginning April 11, time is running out for prospects seeking scholarships.
Dobson coach Rick McConnell said son Mickey is expecting to receive his release from New Mexico on Friday. Mickey McConnell will then be eligible to re-enter the recruiting process.
The key to Scottsdale Horizon’s fast start to the baseball season? It’s in the numbers.
Last season, Horizon made a run to the 5A Division I title game without a premium offense. This year, its offense is in high gear through 12 games, with seven regulars hitting .416 or better.
Horizon (12-0) ranked second in this week’s Tribune poll, is averaging 10 runs per game. Last year, the Huskies averaged six per game, and scored more than 100 fewer runs than title-game foe Phoenix Brophy, which defeated the Huskies in the 5A-I championship game.
The Huskies are down a pitcher with senior Evan Foreman sidelined with an elbow injury. Coach Eric Kibler said Foreman is awaiting word on an MRI that could come later in the week.
Meanwhile, Horizon’s top three pitchers — Kevin Rhoderick, Tim Alderson and Connor Hulse — have ERA’s of 0.46, 0.64 and 1.26, respectively.
Mesa hoped to host a boys volleyball invitational this weekend, but couldn’t get enough interest. Most schools are already committed to existing invitationals. The school hopes to try again next year — the start of a new scheduling block.
Here come the Jaguars?
Mesa Desert Ridge’s baseball team is 11-3 after completing two invitationals and a few nonregion games. Coach Pat Herrera’s squad will get tested in the coming weeks with a pair of games each against Gilbert, Chandler Hamilton and Chandler as well as other Division I region foes Gilbert Mesquite and Gilbert Highland. The Jaguars are currently 10th in 5A-II power-point rankings. They qualified for the 5A-II tournament last year as the seventh seed and had a record one game under .500.
YOU GO, GIRL
The Arizona Interscholastic Association will host “Celebrating Girls in Sports” for a third year on April 12 at Flagstaff High School from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Speakers include former U.S. Track and Field star Jennifer Toomey, Melissa Lee from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Dr. Matt Midkiff, who specializes in physical therapy, and Dr. Tinna Traustadóttir, an expert in physiology. For more information, go to www.aiaacademy.org or call (602) 861-6198.
Tribune writers Les Willsey, Mark Heller and Kyle Odegard contributed to this report