Former Desert Hills star Bodnar to leave Purdue, explore options elsewhere

Former Desert Hills star Haley Bodnar, shown here during the 2014 3A State Championships, has decided to transfer from Purdue University. File photo from Cedar City, Utah, Mar. 1, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Former Utah Gatorade Player of the Year and Desert Hills star Haley Bodnar is going to restart her career someplace other than Purdue University.

Haley Bodnar
Haley Bodnar

Bodnar, who led the Lady Thunder to the 2014 3A girls state championship, never played a minute for the Boilermakers. The talent was there for the 6-foot-4 freshman, but her body wouldn’t cooperate. She missed the entire 2014-15 season with a stress fracture in her foot.

“It was such a tough year for her with trying to get her foot healed up,” said Haley’s dad, Jon Bodnar. “Nobody worked harder than Haley and I am so proud of her. She had to make her way around campus with 100 buildings on crutches and sometimes one of those little scooters.”

Bodnar said his daughter suffered the injury during preseason workouts and underwent successful surgery by the Indianapolis Colts team doctor. But during the rehabilitation process, Haley hit a snag.

“They told her she was pushing too hard and that it wasn’t healing as fast as they’d like,” Jon Bodnar said. “The doctor said she would be back, probably much stronger than before, but it was a tough one and she needed to make sure and not overdo it.”

Haley Bodnar lays in a shot for the Thunder against Morgan during the 3A State Championships, Cedar  City, Utah, Mar. 1, 2014 | Photo by Robert  Hoppie, St. George News
Haley Bodnar lays in a shot for the Thunder against Morgan during the 3A State Championships, Cedar City, Utah, Mar. 1, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

Haley was granted an amicable release from her scholarship at the Big Ten school by Purdue coach Sharon Versyp. However, she will have to sit out on season as per NCAA regulations,unless she transfers to a different division (Division II, Division III, NJCAA or NAIA).

Before signing with Purdue, Bodnar was recruited by more than 80 colleges and universities across the country. Many of those schools have already contacted her upon learning of her plans to transfer.

“I think she found out that Purdue was a lot further away than she realized,” Jon Bodnar said. “No decisions have been made. She’s going to come home after school is out and weigh all her options.”

A press release from Purdue University quotes both parties.

“We all hope Haley is able to heal up and wish her the best of luck in her future, academically and athletically,” Versyp said.

“I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from the fans and friends of Purdue women’s basketball,” Haley Bodnar was quoted as saying in the press release. “I appreciate all of the support from Coach Versyp during my injury, and I will always remember my experiences at Purdue.”

Haley, who averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds at D-Hills and holds the Utah state record for blocked shots in a season, will likely receive a medical redshirt for the past season, but will lose a year under the transfer rules, meaning she will probably have three years of eligibility left at whichever school she decides to transfer to.

Haley Bodnar is the first southern Utah women’s basketball player to sign with a Big Ten school.

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