Powerful Chiawana center Malia Ruud commits to Washington State women's basketball

Reigning two-time Mid-Columbia Conference most valuable player gives Cougars serious double-double potential
Chiawana post player Malia Ruud announces she will sign with WSU in 2025 class.
Chiawana post player Malia Ruud announces she will sign with WSU in 2025 class. / Photo courtesy of Ana Tuiaea-Ruud

Blessed with power and touch, Chiawana High School's Malia Ruud has the respect of every girls basketball coach in the Mid-Columbia Conference.

She also had the admiration of one of the greatest NBA stars who ever lived - the late Kobe Bryant.

Shortly before he perished in a helicopter accident in 2020, Bryant saw Ruud play in an AAU game as a middle-school player, and paid her support afterward.

"He was always taking photos and signing autographs," Ruud said. "We came along, and .he complimented my game and my feet (footwork) ... and he said he was excited to see how it would grow. It meant a lot coming from someone of that talent level."

If he was alive, Bryant would certainly be satisfied to know Ruud has found a home in the NCAA Division I ranks.

The state's premier high school post player in Washington is now off the market. Ruud, the 4A/3A MCC's reigning two-time most valuable player, announced Friday she will sign with Washington State University as part of the 2025 recruiting class.

Ruud said the connection she had built with WSU since ninth grade, coupled with the fact that it is close to home and offers her study emphasis - broadcasting - were all crucial in her decision.

"They had everything that I wanted," Ruud said.

At 6-foot-2, Ruud gives the Cougars serious nightly double-double potential.

In three seasons at Chiawana, Ruud has been a double-double machine in points and rebounding: In 74 games over three seasons, she has 58 double-double performances.

And with 1,449 points, Ruud is already the school's all-time leading scorer.

She also has vast international experience as a member of U-18 Samoan National Team.

Download the SBLive Sports app

To get live updates, news, analysis, photos, videos and much more on your phone - as well as follow your favorite teams and top games - you can download the SBLive Sports app:  Download iPhone App | Download Android App

Published |Modified
Todd Miles