CEDAR CITY, Utah, April 17 – Southern Utah University’s men’s basketball team has received National Letters of Intent from two players, the Thunderbirds’ head coach Nick Robinson announced today. Juwan Major, a 6-foot-3 guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) High School, and Casey Oliverson, a 6-foot-8 post player from Salt Lake Community College, have both committed to play for the Thunderbirds next year.

“We are very pleased to welcome Juwan and Casey, and their families, to the Thunderbird program,” Robinson said.

Major was named first-team all-Sunrise Division and co-Most Valuable Player of the Northeast Region at LVHS last season. A three-year varsity starter, he averaged a team-high 14.2 points, pulled down 5.1 rebounds and dished out three assists per game last season in leading Coach Jason Wilson’s Wildcats to a league championship and the team’s first playoff berth in 12 years. As a junior he scored at a 12.8 points per game clip, pulled down 5.1 rebounds and dished out two assists per contest. He played his AAU ball with the Las Vegas Prospects.

“Juwan is capable of playing multiple positions and he brings needed athleticism to our perimeter play at both ends of the court,” Robinson pointed out. “He has been well coached under Coach Wilson and we look forward to the value he brings to SUU.

Juwan is the third member of the Major family to receive a Division I scholarship. He joins his twin sister Diamond, who signed a basketball letter of intent with UNLV, and his older brother Marquan, who is a wide receiver on the University of Idaho’s football team.

“I took a long time deciding where to sign, I guess I was a late bloomer, but when I got the offer from SUU it just felt right and I committed right away,” Major said. “It feels great. I’m really excited to finally sign and I’m looking forward to getting into school and working with the team and the coaches.”

Oliverson is currently a freshman at SLCC, where he averaged 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season in helping Coach Todd Phillips’ Bruins to a No. 5 national ranking, a Scenic West Conference championship and an appearance in the NJCAA national tournament. He led SLCC in shooting percentage, blocks and offensive rebounds, connecting on 63 percent of his shots, rejecting 27 shots and pulling down 1.9 caroms per game.  His shooting percentage ranked second in the SWCC and 12th in the nation.

“Casey adds needed depth, athleticism, and versatility to our front court,” Robinson added. “Under Coach Phillips, he’s been a member of one of the top NJCAA team’s in the country and we look forward to his contributions at Southern Utah.”

A graduate of Sky View High School, Oliverson was a two-time all-state honoree in Utah after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game for Coach Kirk Hilliard’s Bobcats. As a junior he led the state in rebounding and blocks, and he finished his high school career with over 1,400 points, 1,500 rebounds and 400 blocks. He also spent two years at Louisiana’s Simsboro High, where he twice earned all-district honors and was an honorable mention all-state selection his sophomore year. He averaged 15 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game at Simsboro and led the state in rebounding as a freshman and as a sophomore.

Oliverson also comes from an athletic family, as one of his brothers, Shawn, played basketball at Louisiana Tech, and another brother, Shane, currently plays football at Weber State.

“I liked a lot when I came on my official visit. I knew the coaches and like them, once I got there I liked the school and the community a lot,” Oliverson said. “I’m super-excited to be coming to Southern Utah. I felt really good about coming to SUU, I can’t wait.”

Major and Oliverson bring the Thunderbirds’ list of signees to five for the class of 2013. They join Westwind (Ariz.) Prep’s John Marshall, South Sevier High’s Race Parsons, and LaVerne (Calif.) Lutheran High School’s McKay Anderson – who all signed NLI’s during the November early signing period -- in this year’s signing class.

-- SUU --