Tuesday , May 02, 2017 - 4:16 PM
A week ago, the men’s basketball coach at College of Southern Idaho, Jared Phay, came to pick Aguirre up and take him back for a visit.
Monday afternoon in Pastor Myke Crowder’s office at Layton Christian Academy, Aguirre became a College of Southern Idaho signee.
Phay acknowledges the rarity of a recruitment process that lasts two weeks, but he believes Aguirre is that special.
“He has a really high understanding of the game,” Phay said. “Very high basketball IQ. He understands where people are at and when to get them the ball, and it’s just kind of a gift he has.”
Phay said he felt fortunate to sign Aguirre because he’s the type of player that is “going to make you look like a good coach.”
“He’s been well coached all along, so my job will be easy with him,” Phay said.
Aguirre secured the scholarship offer despite missing most of the 2016-17 boys basketball season because of a stress fracture in his foot.
Aguirre recovered in time for the 2-A state tournament and averaged 13 points and nine assists in three games. Layton Christian won the state title and Aguirre was named tournament MVP.
“This has been very hard for me because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play (college basketball) at all, but I was always trying to stay positive to help my team,” Aguirre said.
Layton Christian coach Bobby Porter was confident Aguirre only needed to be seen.
“He’s the best point guard in the state,” Porter said. “The problem was he got hurt. The way he plays, other people don’t play.
“He made everybody around him better. He got everybody running. All I had to do was be on cruise control.”
One hard-to-ignore advantage for Aguirre was his play in the 2016 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship in July 2016.
Aguirre, who played for host team Chile, totaled nine points, seven rebounds and four assists in a game against the United States — a team that included Markelle Fultz, the potential No. 1 pick in next month’s NBA draft, and Michael Porter, Jr., the No. 1 recruit in the country signed to play at the University of Missouri.
Phay watched video of the game and came away impressed with Aguirre.
“They’re trying to trap Nico, they’re trying to do everything, and he handled it,” Phay said.
Aguirre will join another hooper from the Northern Utah area. Sky View graduate Jake Hendricks, a 2015-16 All-Area First Team selection, averaged 10.5 points and shot 41.7 percent (95 of 228) from 3-point range as a freshman at College of Southern Idaho.
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