RECRUITING: Five Gorman baseball stars make college choices official

Jeff Malm couldn’t help but smile when asked about the run the Bishop Gorman baseball program is on.

In May, the Gaels won their third straight Class 4A state champion-

As the Southern Nevada Titans, they captured the American Legion World Series in August. That enabled them to attend Game 2 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.

And on Wednesday, Malm and four teammates signed national letters of intent with NCAA Division I programs in an on-campus ceremony.

So how can the Gaels top that?

“I think just another state championship, the fourth in a row,” Malm said. “Your senior year, you want to go out on top. That’s really the only thing that’s in any of our minds now that we’ve got signing out of the way.”

Malm, a first baseman and left-handed pitcher, signed with Southern California. He was joined by outfielder/left-hander Joey Rickard (Arizona), right-hander Stephen Manthei (Arizona), third baseman R.J. Santigate (Long Beach State) and shortstop Tyler Wagner (Utah).

Dannielle Diamant, a post player on the Gaels’ girls basketball team, also was at the ceremony to sign with Northwestern.

Gorman baseball coach Chris Sheff said Wednesday gave him greater pride than his team’s stuffed trophy case.

“These are the moments that kind of give you goose bumps and you’re more proud of because you’re giving guys an opportunity to move on to the next level and actually get a college education,” he said.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound Malm is considered the top prospect in the bunch.

He snagged last year’s Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year award, is a member of the U.S. Junior National team and even has rookie cards fetching as much as $13 on

“It’s a great feeling to get this out of the way and have something set in stone to be able to know that you’re going somewhere in the future,” Malm said.

Though he was wearing a USC tie Wednesday, Malm’s future there might not be set in stone. He is expected to be a high first-day choice in June’s amateur baseball draft and said it is “definitely” a possibility he could sign a professional contract.

“I’ve just got to go out and play and see what happens after the spring,” he said. “Go play my best and see where the chips fall.”

Rickard, who also is considered a pro prospect, and Manthei could be reunited next year with former Gorman teammate Donn Roach, who now is a freshman at Arizona.

In all, the Gaels have had 10 baseball players sign with Division I programs in the past two years. Four were drafted in June.

“I guess the only thing that could be better is winning a fourth state championship,” Santigate said.

Diamant, the granddaughter of former UNLV men’s basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, has helped Gorman win three straight 4A state titles.

The 6-4 Diamant will become more of a focal point this season for the Gaels, who must replace two players now with Division I programs — center Ashley Gayle (Texas) and guard Darriel Gaynor (Oregon).

“I definitely have big shoes to fill,” Diamant said. “Ashley was amazing.”

Diamant is the 19th Division I signee in Sheryl Krmpotich’s 10 years coaching at Gorman.

“It’s amazing to see how many collegiate players come just from Gorman,” Diamant said.