With more talented seniors set to leave after this season, UConn women's basketball recruiting four top players

Published on Tuesday, 18 September 2018 20:59
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

The UConn women’s basketball team has sent 11 players to the WNBA in the last five years, as many as are on its 2018-19 roster.

The Huskies figure to add to that total next April when seniors Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier head there.

Coach Geno Auriemma and associate head coach Chris Dailey have been able to keep UConn among the elite for a quarter-century. The Huskies own six of the last 10 national championships (11 total) and have made 11 consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances to take the all-time lead with 19.

But are those graduation losses finally going to add up? The feeling is Auriemma must a bring in a strong recruiting class this fall if the Huskies are to stay a threat on the national stage heading into the next decade.

“No one has lost as many talented players as we have the past two, three years and, obviously, we think we still have some talented players,” Auriemma said. “Every recruiting year, really, is crucial and there are things that we have to address if we want to stay at the same level that we’ve been on for a long time. It’s important that we bring some talented players this and next year.

“If you look at us, we have needs everywhere. I don’t think anyone looks at our roster and says we’re loaded in any one position.”

UConn will have at least six scholarships available for the Class of 2019. It seems to have its focus on four standouts, including the top three in the ESPNHoopgurlz rankings, who were members of the United States team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-17 World Cup this summer.

Haley Jones (6-foot-1 guard/forward, Santa Cruz, California) averaged 21.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.6 blocked shots to lead Archbishop Mitty of San Jose to a 29-1 record and the Central Coast Section Open title. She was California’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

She made her first USA team in May after being cut three times and was named to the U-17 World Cup all-tournament team after averaging 10.9 points on 56.1 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.

Jones, who is rated the No. 1 recruit in the class by ESPNHoopgurlz, has narrowed her list to UConn, Notre Dame, Oregon, South Carolina, and Stanford. She is expected to make an official visit to UConn the weekend of Oct. 12, when the Huskies hold their First Night program.

Jordan Horston (6-foot guard, Columbus, Ohio) averaged 18.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 5.1 steals as a junior in leading Columbus Africentric High to a 27-3 record and the Ohio Division III state title.

She was named the Most Valuable Player of the U-17 World Cup. She was third on the team in scoring at 10.1 points, second in rebounds at 7.0. and led the squad at 5.1 assists and 3.4 steals.

Horston, who is rated the No. 2 recruit in the class by ESPNHoopgurlz, will make her official visit to UConn this weekend. She is also considering North Carolina, Ohio State, Louisville, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Aliyah Boston (6-4 center/forward, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) led Worcester Academy to its first New England Prep School Class AA title as a junior as she averaged 21.2 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 6.2 blocked shots. She was the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.

With the U-17 team, she averaged team-highs of 11.3 points on 65.4 percent shooting, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots and was named to the World Cup all-tournament team.

Boston, who is considered the No. 3 recruit in the class by ESPNHoopgurlz, is also considering Notre Dame, Ohio State, and South Carolina. She is expected to make an official visit to UConn after returning from the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held Oct. 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Aubrey Griffin (6-foot forward, Ossining, New York) missed her sophomore season at Ossining High due to a knee injury (ACL) but came back strong as a junior to average 28.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 3.2 steals and earned All-State honors.

The daughter of former NBA veteran and current top assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors Adrian Griffin, Aubrey used a solid spring and summer to jump to No. 33 in the ESPNHoopgurlz rankings, up 23 spots from the spring. As an applicant candidate at the U-17 trials in Colorado Springs, she was one of 18 finalists for the 12-member team from a starting group of 154.

She completed a visit to Louisville on Sunday and will head to UConn this weekend, followed by visits to Mississippi State (Sept. 28), and South Carolina (Oct. 5.).

Posted in Newington Town Crier, UConn on Tuesday, 18 September 2018 20:59. Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2018 21:02.