Sports briefs

UVU’s Toolson Signs with Team in Turkish Basketball League

He Will Begin Practice with the Team on Thursday Aug. 10, 2009

OREM, Utah – When Ryan Toolson’s agent approached him about the possibility of playing professional basketball in Turkey, Utah Valley University’s all-time leading scorer wasn’t in for it at first. He was apprehensive about the culture, the language and to a certain degree, the European style of basketball.

“My agent had to open up my eyes on the league over there,” said Toolson, who signed with Pinar Kariaka of the Turkish League and will begin practice there on Thursday.

“The more research I do the more excited I get,” he said.

Toolson played for the Sacramento Kings’ Summer League team in Las Vegas in July, and he said he intends to use his time in Turkey refine his shooting and ball-handling skills in an effort to earn another shot to make an NBA team in the future.

“I hear it’s a great league,” said Toolson, who scored 2,163 points in his four-year college career. “A lot of great guys play in that league every year and they make great money and have a chance to come back to the NBA.”

Toolson left for Turkey Monday.

“I firmly believe Ryan is an NBA player, however, timing is everything and right now I’m excited for him to prove his abilities in Europe,” UVU basketball coach Dick Hunsaker said.

Toolson, a member of the 2008-09 All-Independent First Team, ranked eighth in the nation in scoring at 23.8 points while starting all 28 games for the Wolverines his senior year. He finished his career ranked second behind current Utah Jazz player Ronnie Price (22.2 ppg) in career scoring average at 19.1 ppg.

Utah Valley University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Cathy Nixon has announced the hiring of assistant coach Liz Darger to her staff

Darger comes to UVU after spending the last four years as the head coach of the girl’s varsity team and the last two as the women’s athletic director at Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah.

“Liz will be and already has been a tremendous addition to our staff,” said Nixon. “She’s a great, quality person and her professionalism and work ethic are exceptional. She also has head coaching experience and has had a great rapport with the kids she’s coached.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of Utah Valley University Women’s Basketball,” said Darger. “I have so much respect for Coach Nixon and the program she runs. It will truly be a privilege to work with her, with Coach Boettcher, and the outstanding UVU student-athletes.”

During her head coaching tenure at Timpanogos, Darger led her team to three second-place finishes in region and three state tournament appearances. Off the court she worked as a school guidance counselor, assisting students academically while aiding in their individual post-high school exploration process.

She served as the school’s coordinator for the NCAA Eligibility Center, A.P. testing and PSAT and was voted President of the Alpine School District Counselor’s Association.

Darger was president of the Utah Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 2008-09, serving as a liaison between the association and the Utah High School Activities Association.

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