Aaliyah Gayles signed a national letter of intent to USC a week after she was shot 10 times in her arms and legs at a house party in North Las Vegas. The school announced the signing Monday.
"Aaliyah is quite simply a unique and special young person who worked hard in every aspect to become a Trojan," USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in the release. "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."
Gayles, a 5-foot-9 point guard, is the No. 8-ranked player in the 2022 class by ESPN's HoopGurlz and originally committed to the Trojans under former coach Mark Trakh. She decommitted when he retired and recommitted last August after Gottlieb was named head coach. The Trojans went 12-16 (5-12 Pac-12) in her first season.
"Aaliyah is one of the most talented, athletically gifted basketball players I've known. She is electric on the court, with her ability to score, defend and create for others with her ball-handling and vision," Gottlieb said. "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 is a McDonalds All-American who averaged 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game her senior year at Spring Valley High School. The day before the shooting she played at the Jordan Brand Classic in Chicago on April 15. USC said Gayles will "join her Trojan Family" for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
— Aaliyah Gayles (@IsthatAg3) April 5, 2022
Top-10 recruit Gayles shot at house party
The Spring Valley High School senior was one of four shot at a house party after a fight broke out inside the home on April 16, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported. She underwent a pair of emergency surgeries on Sunday morning. Her father, Dwight, said on Twitter she underwent a third and a "full recovery" is expected.
All four are expected to survive and no arrests have been made in the incident. North Las Vegas police Sgt. Vince Booker told the Associated Press the injured were two adults and two juveniles.
Gayles spoke with KVVU Las Vegas about her recovery over the weekend. She said emotionally she's feeling good and is "ready to get back on the court." She said she doesn't have a timeline for her recovery and will start off slow. Her movements are limited.
"Yeah I can move my arms, just can’t feel my legs yet,” Gayles said, via KVVU.
Her mother said Gayles will be transferred to a local physical therapy facility and eventually a facility in California, per the report.