VALPARAISO | After spending little time looking at schools during her initial recruiting process, Haylee Thompson wanted to make sure she found the right fit her second time around.
The Utah State transfer believes she has found the right home as Thompson committed to Valparaiso and will be on campus for the second summer session next week.
The 6-foot-1 forward will sit out the 2013-14 season and will have three seasons of eligibility beginning in the fall of 2014.
“I felt like I was already a part of the family when I visited Valparaiso,” Thompson said. “My first time around I was offered really early (by Utah State) and I didn’t look anywhere else.”
Thompson signed with the Aggies before then-coach Raegan Pebley left for Fresno State. Former Oral Roberts coach Jerry Finkbeiner took over Utah State and Thompson never clicked with the new coaching staff.
“I wanted to be on a team that would use me and that wanted me,” Thompson said. “I knew what I was looking for and I had a better feeling for the whole process. I found what I wanted with Valparaiso.”
Thompson, who shot 48 percent from the floor in 11.9 minutes per game, is the second Division I transfer to join the Crusaders this month along with Oakland transfer Annemarie Hamlet.
“I’m thrilled to have Haylee in the program,” Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. “When we watched her on film we saw all the little things that we need. She can run the floor and finish. She’s really good at scoring from 15 feet and in.”
Thompson admitted that perimeter shooting isn’t her specialty, but is eager to expand her range while she sits out next season. The Idaho native averaged 2.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 31 games while making nine starts as a freshman. Thompson added nine blocks and 14 steals.
“I’m the down and dirty type of player and I’ll basically do anything a coach needs me to do,” Thompson said. “My post coach in Utah described me as someone who would run through walls. That’s the kind of player I am.”