Gaddis going where she feels at home
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Simply put, Delaney Gaddis said her decision on where to play college basketball came down to one simple thing.
“This,” the soon-to-be Glenwood Springs High School graduate said Wednesday, “is where I felt the most comfortable.”
That place Gaddis spoke of is Otero Junior College in La Junta, one of several schools that pursued the senior point guard who shared the Class 4A Western Slope League’s Player of the Year honor with Rifle’s Chante Church. Gaddis, however, decided to start with the two-year route even though some reputable four-year schools were highly interested.
And simply put, Gaddis’ decision simply came down to her remaining in her comfort zone.
“I’ve always wanted to not go to a huge school,” Gaddis said. “I like knowing all the people that I’m around and, when I went to visit, I just felt like I fit in there.”
It’s the huge numbers that Gaddis put up this past season that drew the interest of schools like Otero, Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, and NCAA Division II schools Adams State University in Alamosa and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. She made visits to each school and, by the time she made her visit to La Junta, the differences became obvious.
“The players there made me feel at home, and none of the players who I had played with before had done that for me,” Gaddis said.
Gaddis, who was also a second-team all-state point guard in Class 4A, averaged 15.1 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field. The big stat, however, came from her non-scoring stats. Her 5.1 assists per game, along with her 5.3 steals per game, both were the top marks in the classification.
She had a career game against eventual 4A state champion Mesa Ridge, scoring a career-high 31 points with seven 3-pointers during the Demons’ 62-53 loss on Feb. 15. It turned out to be one of only two losses for Glenwood, which won the league title with a 14-0 WSL mark and compiled a 23-2 overall record, falling to Palmer Ridge in the third round of the 4A state tournament.
It’s those kinds of things that attracted second-year Otero coach Kyle Spencer, who will lose four starters and nine players from last year’s roster.
“As far as talent goes, she can score the ball, create on her own and run the floor,” Spencer said. “Those talent things were a need we had since we lost it to graduation. Plus, she’s very team oriented, which was a big thing when I was looking for someone to step in and be the leader of the program.”
Otero finished 13-10 last season, falling in the second round of the NJCAA Region IX Tournament. The Rattlers had some success recently, advancing to the NJCAA national tournament for the first time in 2012.
Gaddis, who received a full scholarship, will get to see at least two familiar faces when she plays next winter. Church will play for McCook Community College in McCook, Neb., which is in the same league as Otero. Also committed to play next season for McCook is Cruz Maestas, who starred for Palisade the past two seasons.
“It’s going to be just like high school again!” Gaddis said, laughing. “It’ll be so cool to get to see them on the court again. But it will be really cool to be there, too.”
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