WINCHESTER — With her final season of community college basketball coming up, Jordan Stotler knows where her future home will be as a student-athlete.
The 6-foot-4 Umpqua Community College sophomore is signing a letter-of-intent today with Portland State University, a Division I school that’s a member of the Big Sky Conference.
“I’m excited,” Stotler, who grew up in Camas Valley and graduated from Roseburg High School, said prior to practice on Tuesday. “I’ve been thinking about Portland State for the last year. They’ve been talking to me and showing major interest, and I just really love Portland. That’s where the founder of my family is from and I didn’t want to move out of state yet. I feel like it’s the best fit for me.”
UCC women’s coach Dave Stricklin said UC Santa Barbara and Boise State were two other D-I schools that showed heavy interest in Stotler, who had an outstanding freshman season for the Riverhawks last year.
“I think it’s going to be a great fit,” Stricklin said. “I’ve known Lynn Kennedy (the third-year PSU head coach) for a long time, and they play similar to the way we play, so it won’t be a big transition for Jordan. It’ll be a continuation of what we’re doing here. It’s close to home ... she has family who lives in Vancouver, her parents will be able to see her play and I’m happy because I’m going to get to see her play.”
Stotler is pleased to have her decision made before the start of the 2017-18 season. The Riverhawks open Nov. 19 with a nonconference game at home against the Simpson College junior varsity.
“I’ve been wanting to play basketball at a higher level ever since I was a freshman in high school,” she said. “I can just ball out my last year in Roseburg and not have the stress of where I’m going. I’m just really blessed.”
Stotler, a two-time first-team all-Southwest Conference selection for Roseburg, averaged 22.4 points, 13.4 rebounds, 4.8 blocked shots, 3.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Umpqua in her first college season. She shot 48 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 31.2 minutes a game.
Stotler set a new UCC single-season record with 415 rebounds and broke the Northwest Athletic Conference season record with 150 blocks.
She was selected the Southern Region MVP, Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
“(Playing at UCC) has been a major part of my growth as a player,” Stotler said. “Dave (Stricklin) is an amazing coach and has taught me a lot of things, and his dad (Richard) helped me every day last year with my post moves. I absorbed it all and the girls on the team have helped me a lot, too.
“I think I’m a better player because I’m smarter and have a better understanding of college basketball, and what I need to do to be successful,” she added. “I’m determined to have an even better season this year.”
Last season ended on a disappointing note for the Riverhawks. They entered the NWAC Tournament ranked No. 1, but lost to eventual champion Spokane in the semifinals. Umpqua finished 29-3 overall after winning the Southern Region title with a 16-0 record.
Stotler received first-team all-tournament honors.
“It definitely puts a damper on our mood when we talk about last year,” she said. “That wasn’t how it was supposed to end. Our No. 1 goal is to finish first (in NWACs) this year. We all believe we deserve it, and we’re going to get it.”
Stricklin said Stotler turned in a freshman season that will be hard to duplicate, but feels the players around her this year make the Riverhawks stronger as a unit. Among the returning players are sophomores Dajanay Powell and Bria Thames, who both made first-team all-league.
“There are very few players at this level like Jordan,” the coach said. “She’s extremely unique, and is really position-less. If you asked her what position she plays, she has no idea. I have no idea because she can play inside and play outside. She’s handling the ball more now that she did last year.”
The 2017-18 Portland State roster includes four former Oregon high school standouts: Juniors Ashley Bolston (South Medford), Kiana Brown (Triangle Lake) and Corey James (West Albany), and sophomore Jasmin Falls (South Medford).