HARTFORD - Before the tip of the UConn womenâ€™s basketball teamâ€™s game with Temple Sunday at the XL Center, a moment of silence was held in honor of the 17 victims of Wednesdayâ€™s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
UConn All-American Gabby Williams was among those with her head bowed paying tribute. The tragedy hit home for the Sparks, Nevada, native as on Oct. 21, 2013, during her senior year at Reed High, a school shooting at Sparks Middle School left two people, including the 12-year-old perpetrator, dead and two others injured.
â€śIt did happen minutes from my house, obviously not to the same extent, but it is just kind of like enough is enough, and when is something going to change,â€ť Williams said. â€śIt hits home because Iâ€™m going to have kids who go to school one day and I have little siblings in high school so it definitely hits home.â€ť
Williams said she has followed the coverage of the tragedy, including the speech of 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a senior at the high school who addressed a gun control rally on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.
Her emotional pleas also hit home.
â€śItâ€™s admiration, itâ€™s respect, itâ€™s motivating and itâ€™s definitely a huge glimpse of hope,â€ť Williams said. â€śI think I watched that speech like four different times. I donâ€™t know her, but I was proud of her.
â€śOf course something can get done,â€ť Williams added. â€śSomething can always get done. It starts with the people. We have to vote. We have to call our representatives. We have to let them know how we feel about it. I think the Florida students speaking out is a great start.â€ť
Practice guy makes perfect
At UConnâ€™s practice Saturday, coach Geno Auriemma was asked who among his second unit had made the most progress.
â€śDo you know Colins on our practice squad?â€ť Auriemma said. â€śOver the last four years, he has gotten really, really good. He got fouled Friday and he made three free throws. I donâ€™t think he made three free throws the first two months of his freshman year. So Iâ€™d say of all the guys not in the top seven, he is probably the most improved.â€ť
Colins is East Hartford native Colins Nwafor.
While all the male practice players were honored in a pregame ceremony Sunday and received gifts, Auriemma presented Nwafor a framed jersey (No. 18) for being a four-year practice player similar to the one Williams and Kia Nurse will receive a week from today on their Senior Night.
â€śHeâ€™s been amazing,â€ť Auriemma said.