August 18, 2019 Currently: 89° | Complete forecast


Decision day nears for local prep star Julian Strawther


Wade Vandervort

Liberty player Julian Strawther (0) lays up the ball around Coronado player Tyrelle Hunt (10) during a game at Liberty High School Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Julian Strawther has never been one to draw attention to himself, and that’s the approach the understated 6-foot-7 basketball star will take when he announces his college decision on Thursday. There won’t be a big commitment ceremony at the Liberty gym, no bleachers full of supporters, no hats on a table.

Strawther plans to make his make his choice with minimal fanfare.

“It’s going to be a post on social media,” Strawther said. “Nothing too crazy. Just get it done.”

The rising senior could have gone bigger. He could have staged an elaborate announcement to rival the most over-the-top gender reveal party and it would have been justified, given the level of anticipation surrounding his decision. The 4-star prospect is rated as the No. 37 player in his class by 247Sports and had his pick of blue-blood suitors throughout the recruiting process.

Strawther cut his list down to 10 possible schools last month: Gonzaga, UNLV, Washington, Florida, Florida State, USC, Cal, Marquette, Oklahoma and UCLA . He said he eventually whittled that down to four true contenders before making his decision.

Now, he’s ready to commit.

“I’m definitely excited,” Strawther said. “It’s a surreal moment because you always think about committing to college and it’s always been so far away, but high school flew by and I can’t believe the decision is just a few days away. I can’t wait to do it.”

Gonzaga has been widely viewed as the favorite in the race for Strawther’s pledge. Hometown UNLV is in the mix as well, and Strawther had a positive meeting with Runnin’ Rebels coach T.J. Otzelberger shortly after he was hired two weeks ago.

Strawther said the final call came down to comfort, family atmosphere and which school presented the right situation for him.

“The biggest thing was really making the right decision for me and not letting too much of what everyone else has to say affect my decision. So just trusting myself and choosing the spot where I think it’s going to be the best for me.”

Strawther is looking forward to making his decision and then being able to focus on basketball for the next year. He lists the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic as two of his goals before moving on to college.

Strawther could have waited until after the summer AAU season to make his announcement, as many players do, but he found himself eager to wrap up his recruitment.

“I didn’t see a valid reason to why I should wait,” he said. “My mind was made up, so why not do it now?”

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

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