LCI's Jocelyn Neilson signs on to play basketball for Kodiaks

By Garrett Simmons

Communications Officer

Lethbridge School District No. 51

A three-time Southern Alberta High School Basketball League all-star is set to join the Lethbridge College Kodiaks next season.

Lethbridge Collegiate Institute standout Jocelyn Neilson made it official Wednesday afternoon, as she signed on the dotted line to play for coach Deanna Dotts.

“The reason I chose the college is because it is close to home and it felt like a good fit for me,” said Neilson, who averaged 13.4 points per game for the Clippers in the regular season.

A senior-varsity player since her Grade 10 season, Neilson has rotated between playing post and wing for LCI. Her high school career culminated with another provincial appearance for the Clippers, as LCI finished in sixth place.

Neilson earned a provincial bronze with the Clippers in 2016/2017, but hopes for a repeat performance in 2017/2018 were derailed by a number of injuries that sidetracked LCI.

“It was a struggle,” she said. “We had a lot of injuries this year and it was a battle, but I felt that it brought me and my teammates closer together.”

Neilson, who is taking General Studies during her first year at the college, is looking to increase her basketball IQ and gain some confidence during her first year of post-secondary play.

“It’s also adjusting to new teammates, learning to work with new girls and learning how they play,” she said of the other adjustments she’ll need to make. “It’s definitely more a competitive, faster, tougher level of basketball, and I’m looking forward to growing as a player and a person.”

Coach Dotts is also looking forward to seeing that growth, and expects Neilson to be able to bring a valuable skillset to the Kodiaks.

“She really caught my attention because she is going to be a very complimentary player to the two posts we have,” said Dotts, who added she first watched Neilson play just before last Christmas. “I think Jocelyn is the perfect mix because she’s not afraid to get inside and bang with the best of them but she also plays outside, and can take defenders off the dribble.”

Dotts added Neilson will get the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from the returning Kodiaks post players, as the coach sees Neilson playing both the four and five positions at the college level.

“She can make an immediate impact with the skill she already has,” said Dotts, who added Neilson will need to develop a few more post moves, and get more comfortable facing the basket from closer to the rim.

Neilson will also need to adjust to the speed of the college game, according to Dotts, and deal with a new level of competitiveness.

“You are competing against the best of the best every night,” said Dotts. “Everyone out there was the best on their high school team.”

Date posted: June 13, 2018