Two Utahns receive PARADE accolades
West Jordan senior Jordan Loveridge and Alta senior Makenzi Morrison played their last high school basketball games two months ago, but their accolades keep rolling in.
Loveridge and Morrison have been named to PARADE's All-America basketball teams, among about 100 athletes to make the cut this year. PARADE has long been considered one of the top high school honors in the country.
"It's kind of evolving," PARADE spokeswoman Luci Scott said. "It used to be more about statistics but it's now more about how that individual affects the community and how they are as a person."
Either way, both love has plenty of justification for their selections.
Loveridge led Class 5A with 23 points and 13 rebounds per game, finishing with 18 double-doubles while leading the Jaguars to a semifinal appearance.
Loveridge finished in ESPN's top 100, made Maxpreps.com's All-America team and played in the Ballislife.com All-American game. Locally, he was The Tribune's 5A MVP and was named Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News.
He'll gladly take another accolade to his growing menagerie.
"I'll go out of state and play with anybody," he said. "I work as hard or harder as those guys. It just shows hard work pays off."
He's signed to play at Utah in the fall, and is considered the centerpiece of the Utes' 2012 class. With another All-American honor, the program might even have more of a get than they realized.
"The coaching staff jokes with me a little bit, and ask me how many awards I'm going to get," Loveridge said. "My teammates and I worked hard, and we were proud of what we accomplished. It's nice to know that you don't need to win a championship to get this kind of recognition."
Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak said the recognition is "a great honor for him and it brings some notoriety for him. It's good for our program, as well."
He said that Loveridge's 26-point outburst at the Ballislife.com All-America game was likely a factor in Loveridge's rising profile.
"He went out and had that big game on the West Coast with all those guys," he said, "and I think that Jordan is one of the those players that will play to the level of his competition."
That, Krystkowiak said, is a "good indication for the league that we're in and they competition we'll be facing."
Morrison led the state with 23 points per game, and also chipped in nearly eight rebounds and four assists per game as a senior guard for the Hawks. Although she did not repeat as 5A MVP this season, she was a unanimous selection to the all-state first team.
This year was a challenging one for Morrison, as she switched to point guard and guided an entirely new starting lineup aside from herself.
"It was definitely different, but it was a great way to learn to alter all aspects of my game," she said. "It feels good even though we didn't take state this year that people saw what we accomplished."
Morrison is signed to play at BYU in the fall, where she will join Lexi Eaton who made the PARADE team last season.
Coach Kristi Jensen also noted that Morrison is a 3.9 GPA student and has volunteered in basketball camps. Her tireless work ethic has been her greatest signature.
"She's the best player I ever coached, but because she put forth more effort than anyone trying to be the best," Jensen said. "She's so kind, an all-around kid off the court. She brings the same attitude to every aspect of her life."
The state has had a recent run of PARADE All-Americans in the last calendar year. Lone Peak's Chase Hansen, a fellow Utah commit, made the football team in the fall, and Springville's Eaton was named to the girls' basketball team a year ago.