An Alaskan was the talk of the college basketball world Tuesday.
Daishen Nix, a 6-foot-5 point guard who is near the top of nearly every list of this season’s top high school prospects, said on social media that he has decided to go to UCLA.
Nix played for Mears Middle School and the Alaska Gold AAU program before leaving for Trinity International High School in Las Vegas after the 2015-16 school year. He became a top prospect while he was here, and he got hotter after he left.
Many consider Nix the best passer in high school, so his decision was big news and is being viewed as an early victory for new UCLA coach Mick Cronin. Nix, known for his highlight-reel passes, court vision and basketball IQ, is the first player Cronin has had verbally commit.
UCLA can’t sign Nix to a binding letter of intent until November; until then, Cronin can’t comment on the addition of Nix or any other early recruits.
Nix, who on his Twitter profile describes himself as “rage city made,” told the Daily News last spring that he was weighing offers from more than two dozen Division I schools. On Monday, he announced his final five choices on social media — UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland and Alabama.
Tuesday’s news that he had picked UCLA prompted this headline in the Lexington Herald Leader: “Where will Kentucky turn next?”
Nix told 247sports that he picked UCLA after visiting the campus last week.
"I loved the weather out there,” he said. “The visit I had over the weekend was just unbelievable. It just really caught my eye."
He also told 247sports that he liked Cronin, and he liked Cronin’s plan to bring an up-tempo style to UCLA.
“(Coach) Cronin says he’s changing his system where he’s running more. It’ll be perfect for me because I like open space and passing the ball," he said.
Nix is the biggest men’s basketball recruit with Alaska roots since Kamaka Hepa of Barrow, who will be a sophomore at Texas. Hepa averaged 10 minutes, 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds a game as a true freshman.
Last season’s hottest basketball prospect from Alaska was Dimond center Alissa Pili, who is set to begin her freshman year at USC.