Doherty girls basketball alum Aubri Noti's commitment to Utah tells a deeper story

Doherty Liberty girls basketball

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

As the saying goes, the fastest way from Point A to Point B. The problem with that theory is that while the straight line is the fastest way to get there, it's not always the best.

Doherty girls basketball alum Aubri Noti is a walking example of wandering off that straight line only to take pride and joy in finally arriving at Point B.

And her story is a lesson that should serve current high school athletes well.

Last week, Noti announced her commitment to the University of Utah's women's basketball program. She graduated from Doherty in the spring of 2017. When trying to figure out her path to continue her basketball career, the string of offers from Division I programs that are so often glorified on social media weren't coming in.

And not once did she think that meant that she would never get that opportunity.

"I was getting basically all D-II offers," Noti said. "There were a few D-IIs from Colorado and mainly some JuCos. There weren't that many (offers)."

Noti's career with the Spartans was as good as anyone could have hoped for. In her final two seasons with the team she averaged a double-double. She scored 13.7 points per game to go with her 10.2 rebounds in her junior year.

Doherty Liberty girls basketball

(Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

She was even better in her senior campaign as her scoring average jumped to 14.4 while grabbing 11.3 boards. She averaged over two blocks per game in both seasons.

"The crazy thing is she didn't even start playing basketball until she was in eighth grade," Doherty coach Patrick McKiernan said. "She was about 5-10 or 5-11 which for the Colorado Springs area was huge. When we brought her in and started going through drills, for her to not be able to do much to where she is now is absolutely amazing."

Doherty made the 2016 Class 5A state tournament and won their first-round game against Rocky Mountain before losing to Ralston Valley.

The next year was a memorable one as the Spartans went 24-2 and advanced to the 5A Great 8 at the Denver Coliseum. They ran into a buzzsaw in Grandview, but Noti had done enough by then to warrant Iowa Western Community College giving her a scholarship.

And with that, she believed in herself.

"When I came in, I wasn't in shape and my skill level wasn't ready for college yet," she said. "Taking the JuCo route was going to help me not just as a basketball player, but as a person. It made me appreciate the game so much more."

She redshirted her freshman year, but once she hit the court this past season, she made it count. Her season averages looked very similar to what she had done her final two years at Doherty.

She averaged 10.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game with the Reivers this past winter. And now, the Pac 12 is calling.

"My coach pushed us really hard," Noti said. "She pushes us as hard as a D-I coach would and it helped me realize that it's not a bad thing to go that JuCo route."

The message is clear and it's one that McKiernan preaches to his players the second they enter his program. Playing college basketball means getting a free education.

Big Division I offers and commitments are always going to be the ultimate goal. After all, athletes are competitors by nature and always want validation of being great,

But it doesn't need to happen on Day 1. Noti remained patient and took an avenue that she believed was best suited for her to reach that goal.

"It was sudden and came out of nowhere," Noti said. "They had contacted my coach, my coach told me and I scheduled my visit about a week and a half after that."

It's funny how much can change in just two years. As she was getting looked at by Metro and other JuCos, McKiernan knew she was capable of doing great things. But her offer and commitment to Utah surprised even him and it was something he was happy to have guessed wrong on.

"As far as Utah, maybe not," McKiernan said. "I thought maybe small D-I. I just didn't see her playing a post in D-I but I knew she had the work ethic and the athleticism."

She also had a long-term vision of what could happen. The road that was the straight line was closed to her. At no point did that mean the destination was unreachable. She just found another way to get there, even if it took a little longer.