ST. GEORGE — Two-time Region 9 basketball MVP and state champion Isaac Finlinson made his commitment to Dixie State University official on Wednesday afternoon, signing his letter of intent at Dixie High School.
Finlinson, joined by his family, coaches, administration and boys and girls teammates, put pen to paper in a lecture hall at the school. After serving a two-year LDS mission, he will be a Trailblazer on a scholarship.
“I wanted to be here,” Finlinson told St. George News. “I looked at other places, but at the end of the day, I’d rather stay here in St. George and play locally in front of my friends and family and it’s a good school.”
Finlinson was a central Flyer for two varsity seasons and was named the region’s most valuable player both seasons. In his high school career, Finlinson was able to make short work of opposing defenses all on his own, driving the lane for layups or draining the three-pointer. He was also more than capable of setting up his teammates and excelled at sharing the ball. He also was a central figure in backcourt, playing a key role in the Flyers’ best-in-state defense in 2019-20 and one that ranked near the top again in 2020-21.
His soft-spoken demeanor but ability to completely take over basketball games prompted head coach Tyler Roberts’ nickname for him: the Silent Assassin.
Finlinson scored 17 points for Dixie High in the state championship game in 2020. He tied with Noah Lemke to lead the team. Both players are now Trailblazers after Lemke earned a spot as a walk-on last season.
Even when things went poorly, Finlinson was there. In Dixie’s overtime upset loss to be eliminated last season, he scored 34 of the team’s 60 total points, including a fade-away three-pointer that tied the game with just 18 seconds to play and sent it to extra time.
Finlinson, after serving his mission, will get to play just a couple blocks away from where he starred as a prep player. As good as all this is for him, it might be equally so for Dixie High and Region 9 basketball as a whole.
Roberts said Finlinson is the school’s first basketball player to be awarded a local scholarship in more than a decade. He’s also the first Region 9 boy’s player to get a scholarship to Dixie State since Brandon Simister, who graduated from Desert Hills in 2012. That also makes Finlinson the first local boys player to earn a scholarship to Dixie State since the school turned Division I this last year.
Finlinson now gets to play for Jon Judkins, the collegiate hoops coach with the most wins all-time in Utah history. He said Judkins helped lull him in with a plan the coach had for his new prospect.
“He’s really nice and he talks good about me,” Finlinson said of Judkins. “He said it would be a good experience here and that he has a good plan for me …. He thinks that I’ll be able to start playing soon, not going to have to sit out for a year. He said, ‘Come and be ready to play.’ I want to go somewhere I can play.”
Pine View High School’s Averi Papa, the 2019-2020 Region 9 girls basketball MVP and 2020-21 defensive MVP, is also committed to the school for women’s hoops
Dixie State University declined comment for this story, claiming it had not yet received the paperwork and could not comment until it did, per an NCAA rule.
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