Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 | 9:39 p.m.
When basketball player Diamond Major took an unofficial recruiting trip to the UNLV campus, the 5-foot-11 forward was shocked at what she saw.
A Las Vegas native, she never realized what UNLV had to offer.
“The facilities are amazing,” she said. “I didn’t realize how big UNLV was until I went on a visit. I wondered (to myself) why I hadn’t seen this before having lived here my whole life?”
Major, who is ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 54 wing for the class of 2013, verbally committed Monday to the UNLV women’s program. UNLV hasn’t had a local recruit since Durango High’s Mia Bell four years ago, making Major a rare local score for the hometown school.
Major played the past three years at Bishop Gorman, but will attend Quest Academy — a new charter school run out of the YMCA — for her senior season.
“I basically loved everything about UNLV,” she said. “The whole coaching staff — they love me and I love them. It’s a perfect match.”
Major also had scholarship offers from Boise State, San Diego, Long Beach State, Denver, Hawaii and Pepperdine. She took unofficial recruiting trips to Pepperdine and New Mexico.
“I know UNLV doesn’t recruit a lot in state, so I was honored at the fact they gave me a scholarship,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great, great experience with me coming in and helping bring more fans to the games.”
Major, who is considered an elite defender, played power forward last year at Gorman in averaging 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in helping the Gaels reach the Sunset Region title game. She was also part of the Sun’s Super Seven preseason team.
During the offseason with her Las Vegas Elite club team, Major has played virtually every position on the court. While she won’t be playing high school basketball next winter, she’ll continue to train with Brian Sitter — one of the town’s top individual trainers — to develop an outside shot.
Major isn’t the lone member of her family being recruited. Her twin brother, Juwan Major, has a scholarship offer from Portland State’s basketball program. Her older brother, Marquan Major, is entering his second year with the Idaho football team.
Verbal commitments aren't official until an athlete signs a letter of intent. The early signing period for basketball is in November.