PROVO — Fernando Malaman, a 6-foot-9 forward at Western Arizona Community College in Yuma, Ariz., made it official on Friday. He will play for BYU.

Malaman joined a few of his Matador teammates in signing and faxing letters-of-intent to various schools on Friday. As expected, his ended up directed to Provo.

BYU's new head coach, Dave Rose, will not comment officially on recruits he has signed until next week. Malaman is the second junior college player to ink with the Cougars this month. Earlier, 6-0 Western Nebraska point guard Shawn

Broadus, a native of Hawaii, signed with the Cougars.

Malaman averaged 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds and made 15 3-point shots for Western Arizona, the nation's No. 1-ranked junior college team that posted a 31-1 regular-season record. The Matadors, coached by Kelly Green, collapsed in the NJCAA championships in Hutchison, Kan., on March 24 with losses to Midland (Texas) and Northeastern Colorado. The 33-3 record is the most successful season in school history for the Matadors.

Two of Malaman's teammates earned junior college all-America citations. They were Robert Hines and Demario Butler.

Malaman will be following another Western Arizona star, Rafael Araujo. Both natives of Brazil, Malaman is from Limeira, Brazil. Malaman is one of several Brazilians, like Araujo, who signed with the junior college in Yuma, Ariz.

Unlike Araujo, Malaman is a finesse player despite being listed as a power forward, according to Yuma Sun sports writer Chris Gabel, who covered the Matadors all season.

"He has a good jump shot around the basket and can go outside for the three," Gabel said. "He is a good defender off the ball, but he's not as physical of a player as Araujo."

Malaman told the Sun he was not recruited by departed Cougar coach Steve Cleveland, but current coach Rose has been all over him in recent weeks. "I like that. BYU struggled this past year, and I believe I can come in and help them get back to winning. I like that their director of basketball operations, Walter Rouse, is from Brazil and I really liked the academic support program they have at BYU," Malaman said.

Hines, who is from New Jersey, signed with Hofstra and will return home, according to Gabel.

In other BYU recruiting news, head football coach Bronco Mendenhall hosted high school juniors from throughout the region on Friday. Usually an affair that draws a group of about 25 to 35, this year more than 150 athletes and their parents made unofficial visits to the BYU football facilities and visited with Cougar coaches.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com