Nicole Avila-Ambrosi

Nicole Avila-Ambrosi averaged 13.4 points per game last season for the Class A state champs.

Millard North guard Nicole Avila-Ambrosi will take her talents to the West Coast.

The 2019 Class A all-state selection announced her commitment to California Baptist on Thursday. She officially visited Cal Baptist in June and said she really bonded with the Lancer players, though a connection she’s formed with her future coach, Jarrod Olson, also made a big difference.

“I have built a really good relationship with the head coach, and he is from Omaha,” Avila-Ambrosi said. “And it’s fun to have a coach that I can relate to.”

Olson, who’s been at Cal Baptist since 2012, was an assistant at Creighton for four seasons and helped lead the Bluejays to the 2004 women’s NIT championship. He was also the head coach at College of Saint Mary and has coaching stops in Nebraska at Bellevue University and Millard South.

As a player, Olson was an NAIA All-American at Doane and still ranks fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 2,018 career points. His brother, Drew, led Concordia to the NAIA Division II basketball title in March.

“Coach Olson is a point guard-focused coach, and that is what I play, so that was a big factor in my decision,” Avila-Ambrosi said.

The 5-foot-8 guard in the 2020 class averaged 13.4 points last season and led the Class A state champion Mustangs with 2.5 steals per game.

Avila-Ambrosi also holds a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to be a doctor after her playing career.

Avila-Ambrosi chose Cal Baptist over a scholarship offer from UNO. Ivy League schools Cornell and Columbia expressed interest, as did Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, South Dakota and Drake.

Cal Baptist is located in Riverside, California, and transitioned to Division I in 2018. The Lancers compete in the Western Athletic Conference and will be eligible for postseason competition beginning in the 2022-23 season.

Avila-Ambrosi is the fourth girls basketball player in the state for the 2020 class to commit to a Division I program. She follows Millard South’s Jayme Horan (Creighton) and Maddie Krull (South Dakota) and Crete’s Morgan Maly (Creighton).

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