Elite women’s basketball recruit Aaliyah Gayles, who was shot 10 times at a house party in Las Vegas on April 16, signed a national letter of intent Monday to USC, the school announced Monday.
“Aaliyah is one of the most talented, athletically gifted basketball players I’ve known,” Trojans coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in a statement. “She is electric on the court, with her ability to score, defend and create for others with her ball-handling and vision. But from the moment I got to know her, I was also drawn to her character. Her humility, loyalty, warm personality and resilience set her apart, along with her athletic gifts.”
Gayles, the No. 8 recruit in the 2022 class according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz, was one of four people shot at a party in North Las Vegas earlier this month. She was released from the hospital Saturday after undergoing three surgeries to repair injuries to her arms and legs.
The four individuals that were shot are all expected to survive. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.
Speaking to Fox5 Las Vegas for the first time since the shooting over the weekend, Gayles revealed that she is still in pain following the incident. Her mobility remains limited and while she has feeling in her arms, she said she doesn’t currently have feeling in her legs.
Nevertheless, she remains optimistic about getting on the court as soon as possible.
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“I just want to say thank you for all the support and love,” Gayles said, per Fox5 Las Vegas. “And I appreciate everybody but my journey isn’t over yet.”
Gayles, a 5’9″ point guard, was named a Naismith High School All-American after a stellar senior season at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas. She averaged 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists during the year and made appearances in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
Gayles originally committed to USC under former coach Mark Trakh, but decommitted shortly after his retirement. She recommitted to the Trojans in August and is expected to join the team for the 2022–23 season, Gottlieb’s second at the helm.
“Aaliyah is quite simply a unique and special young person who worked hard in every aspect to become a Trojan,” Gottlieb said. “It is these characteristics that, in her recent time of extreme trial, have allowed her to survive and will ensure that she continues to thrive. Aaliyah is a part of the USC family and we could not be more proud to be on this journey with her, every step of the way.”
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