Tucson, Ariz. ?- Arizona women’s basketball head coach Joan Bonvicini announced Thursday that Ify Ibekwe (Carson, Calif., Narbonne HS) and Sarah Hays (Oracle, Ariz., Chandler-Gilbert CC) have signed National-Letters-of-Intent to attend school and play basketball for the Wildcats next winter.
Ibekwe, from Carson, Calif., averaged 21.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 3.9 assists, and 2.8 steals a game as a senior at Narbonne HS, helping the Gauchos to the Marine League Title. The 6-foot-1 forward earned Marine League Most Valuable Player honors, and was a Daily Breeze, Los Angeles City Section, and All Dream-Team Southern California First Team selection.
Ibekwe comes from a family of accomplished athletes. Her oldest brother Onyekachi played collegiate basketball at Oklahoma State before finishing his career at Long Beach State, and earned an NFL contract as a rookie free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2006. Her older brother Ekene, a four-year letterwinner at Maryland, finished his senior season in which he averaged 10.4 points and 7.8 rebounds a game as a starting forward for the Terrapins, and her older sister, Chinyere, finished her sophomore season at UCLA where she averaged 7.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a game as a starting forward for the Bruins.
“We are very excited to have Ify join our program,” Bonvicini said. “She is one of the most athletic and versatile post players coming out of high school and she will have an immediate impact on our team. She runs the floor well, she rebounds well, and I think the sky is the limit for her.”
Hays, from Oracle, Ariz., averaged 18.2 points and 11.4 rebounds a game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field as a two-year letterwinner at Chandler-Gilbert CC. This past season, the 6-foot-1 forward averaged 20.8 points and 11.1 rebounds a game and was named the ACCAC Player of the Year as well as being a First Team All-American selection. She was selected to the NJCAA Division II National All-Tournament Team, and earned First Team All-Region and First Team All-ACCAC honors.
During the 2005-06 season, Hays averaged 15.9 points and 10.8 rebounds while helping the Coyotes to a 24-10 record. She earned First Team All-ACCAC honors, and was named the ACCAC Freshman of the Year. She also earned Second Team All-American honors and a spot on the NJCAA Division II National All-Tournament Team. She attended Highland HS in Gilbert, Ariz., where she earned First Team All-Region and All-State honorable mention accolades while helping the Hawks to a state championship.
“Sarah is a player with a great attitude and a tremendous work ethic,” Bonvicini said. “She is a hard worker and plays tough in the post. She is a winner and her work ethic will pay dividends in our program immediately.”
Ibekwe and Hays will join 5-foot-10 guard Tasha Dickey (Salt Lake City, Brighton HS) as incoming recruits for the 2007-08 season.