Earlier than Jaelyn Bates absolutely immerses herself within the cherry and silver of the College of New Mexico, there’s a closing chapter to jot down on her profession sporting the silvery-looking platinum of the Volcano Vista Hawks.
The state champion in a number of sports activities at Volcano Vista and future Lobo ladies’s basketball participant is the Journal’s metro feminine Athlete of the 12 months for 2021-22.
“I think I left (high school) where I wanted to,” Bates, 18, mentioned. “I had fun doing everything I did.”
Bates transitions from Volcano Vista to UNM driving a crest of success.
She closed out a superb prep basketball profession in March by serving to Volcano Vista to a second straight Class 5A ladies title on the Pit. Within the spring, Bates was a double state observe and area champion, having received the lengthy soar and likewise having anchored the Hawks’ 4×400-meter state championship relay squad.
Bates additionally was the state runner-up in each the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and the open 200. Not solely had she not participated in observe since her freshman 12 months; she obtained a late begin this spring due to her basketball commitments. She acclimated rapidly.
“Her coming out like that, of course you know what a talented athlete this is,” Volcano Vista observe coach Elena Schrader mentioned. “How that will translate onto the track, you don’t always know.”
Bates was the high-point athlete amongst metro-area ladies on the 5A state meet. Her determination so as to add observe and area to her itinerary labored out spectacularly.
“One hundred percent (surprising),” mentioned her father, Barry Bates. “It was a long (basketball) season. She plays a lot of basketball, I wanted her to get a break. … She surprised us how good she was going.”
Jaelyn felt equally.
“Not at all,” she mentioned, requested if she may have anticipated that kind of efficiency within the spring. “Took me by surprise.”
Furthermore, Bates may have been excused if she wasn’t one hundred pc vested in observe, given her basketball future as a Lobo.
“At first, I was just gonna do it for fun,” she mentioned. “Once I got started … I thought, OK, maybe I can win some of these events. That’s when I started taking it seriously.”
And her outcomes had been largely spectacular over the ultimate weeks of the observe season.
“It was impressive,” Schrader mentioned. “She was (mostly) brand new to track.”
The 5-foot-5 Bates broke onto the prep scene as a shy, bespectacled freshman for Volcano Vista, an apparent expertise with an enormous upside and a stable status primarily based on her membership basketball efforts and a sequence of YouTube vidoes she made to advertise her identify and her recreation within the western half of the nation.
“Jaelyn grew up in four years before everybody’s eyes,” Hawks basketball coach Lisa Villareal mentioned. “She had so much to live up to, and I think she did that.”
By the point Bates graduated, she had advanced into a sophisticated, assured, assured participant and individual, a speedy guard with good handles and a stable 3-point shooter. She averaged 13.4 factors, 3.9 steals and a pair of.5 assists final season.
“Jaelyn is continuing to grow into a role of leading and facilitating a team,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury mentioned of Bates when she signed her nationwide letter of intent final November. “Her craftiness with the ball and ability to create for herself and her teammates will give Jaelyn a chance to make an impact early in her career at UNM.”
Bates’ operating mate at Volcano Vista, Natalia Chavez, and former Cibola standout Amaya Brown, a switch from Florida State, are all going to be new Lobos this fall.
“We were all extremely excited for her to have the opportunity to play at the next level,” her father mentioned. “We like UNM, and the system kind of plays into the style she has.”
Villareal coached Bates to 90 victories (and solely 9 losses) in her 4 varsity seasons.
“Coming in, she was a giggly little freshman, and it just seemed like she wasn’t paying attention to anything you were saying,” Villareal mentioned, laughing. “After regrouping and getting her refocused, into her days as a junior and senior, she was looking me in the eye with every word I spoke.”
For her half, Bates mentioned there have been expectations to meet.
“All I knew is, I had to make a name for myself going into high school,” she mentioned.
4 years later, she’s virtually a family identify in Albuquerque prep basketball circles. Subsequent, she mentioned, is an try to carve out a distinct segment with the Lobos the identical means she needed to at Volcano Vista.
“I’m just giving it my all to make sure they know why I’m there,” Bates mentioned. “It’s making a name for myself like I did in high school. You want to work to get to the top.”
Birthplace: Heerlen, Netherlands
Faculty: Volcano Vista, Class of 2022
Sports activities: Basketball, Observe and Discipline
Mother and father: Barry and Juliet
Siblings: James, 28; Janee, 24
Up subsequent: Bates signed to play basketball for the College of New Mexico, the place she plans to main in biochemistry. Her mom, who served within the Air Drive — which is how Jaelyn got here to be born in Europe — additionally attended UNM.
Entrance-row seat: Bates received two state titles on Bob King Court docket and was on the ground when teammate and fellow UNM signee Natalia Chavez banked in a half-court shot on the buzzer in Could 2021 to beat Hobbs in extra time. “All I remember was she threw it up, everyone was holding their breath,” Bates mentioned. “And it felt like the entire arena was silent. Once it went through, everyone was in shock.”
Comfy match: Bates mentioned she believes she’ll mesh properly in UNM coach Mike Bradbury’s type and tempo. “I would consider myself a shooter, and I like to run up and down the court,” she mentioned.
Kudos: Bates earlier this week was named the 2021-22 Nationwide Native American Participant of the 12 months by Inter-Tribal Athletics (TBA) Native Sports activities.
“Justice for JB”: Bates had these phrases written on her leg in the course of the state observe meet; she and J.B. White, the previous Santa Fe Excessive star killed two years in the past, had been associates and Bates has a few photos of White in her bed room. Each as soon as belonged to the identical membership basketball program and even shared the ground as teammates a few occasions. “Everything I did in track, I wanted to represent him,” Bates mentioned.