Monday, May 14, 2012 | 8:53 p.m.
Most youth basketball players growing up in Southern Nevada dream of getting a chance to play at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Coronado High senior Michael Louder will get that opportunity in November.
Louder recently committed to Jacksonville State University of Alabama after visiting the school last week. Jacksonville State plays UNLV in mid-November, then returns over Thanksgiving weekend for a tournament at the Orleans Arena.
“I’m really excited for that. It’s going to be crazy,” said Louder, a 6-foot-8, power forward. “I always wanted to play at UNLV.”
Louder, who on Wednesday will sign his letter of intent, also had a scholarship offer from Florida A&M.
“I got a good vibe from the coaches,” Louder said of his decision. “Everything they do fits into my personality.”
Louder averaged 17.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last winter. As a junior, he posted 10.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and six blocks per game.
“Michael is a hard worker,” Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman said. “I’m extremely happy for him. That’s a good fit.”
This is the third straight year a Coronado player has advanced to the Division I ranks. Austin Nelson (BYU) and Brandon Glanz (Idaho State) are the others.
Also Monday, Findlay Prep center Matt Willms signed a letter of intent with UTEP. The 7-foot-1 Willms averaged 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds last year.
“We weren’t going to sign a player unless we felt he had a chance to be a first team all-league guy,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said in a statement. “Matt has the tools to become that at some point in his career. He can really run, he has great hands and a great touch. As he gets stronger his impact on the game could become significant. He’s only been playing organized basketball the last two years, but he has the tools to excel at UTEP.”