Geno Auriemma is looking for new talent to join his team next season and beyond.
It's a wonder college basketball coaches and their assistants ever have time to relax. But Geno Auriemma claimed he was doing just that last weekend before -- you guessed it -- getting back to work. He was headed to Las Vegas for three days of training with the U.S. National Team.
Maybe that weekend break will be his summer vacation, because we envision coaches at big-time schools doing one of two things: coaching or recruiting. All year round. That may be a slight exaggeration, but in the ultra-competitive world of Division I athletics it's probably not far off. Recruiting websites like Rivals, Scout and even ESPN show that there's a market for the information, and you can get lost for hours scouring their pages for the next great player, the one who got away, or the one you wished had stayed away.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that Auriemma will continue to have the best players in the country enrolled at UConn. We have mentioned the 2011 incoming class several times this spring (ESPN ranks them No. 2 in the country behind Tennessee). Last Friday, we posted the news that the 2012 class could be just as formidable.
Moriah Jefferson, the second-ranked prospect in the 2012 class, had verbally committed to UConn, joining center Breanna Stewart, the No. 1 player in her class, and Morgan Tuck, the No. 12 player, as the other Huskies commitments.
In 2012, Kelly Faris will be a senior, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson will be juniors, and they'll be joined by six of the best players in the country all either sophomores or freshman. The 2010 team featured Maya Moore with Faris (sophomore), Hartley and Dolson (both freshman) playing integral roles. The Huskies were the No. 1 ranked team for most of the season and won the Big East Tournament before losing in the Final Four to Notre Dame. The 2012 team could be even better.
As for Jefferson, the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla writes that despite her Texas upbringing, and being heavily recruited by Baylor, she knew that UConn were serious contenders. Also not hurting: Jefferson was very close with several other Huskies recruits, including Breanna Stewart.
While visiting, Jefferson realized UConn would be the place for her, even though Baylor and Texas A&M, the reigning national champion, both wanted her to stay home. Auriemma and the UConn staff can't comment on Jefferson until they receive a letter of intent.
"It wasn't very hard for me to decide after coming to visit the campus," Jefferson said. "I know a lot of people were expecting me to decide between Baylor and Texas A&M, but once I got to know the players and the coaches I just felt well with [the decision].
As for the rich getting richer, we noticed this 2013 recruiting nugget in Altavilla's story in Jefferson: "Jefferson visited UConn twice last season, both times accompanied by incoming UConn freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (the national player of the year in 2011) and high school junior guard Diamond DeShields of Norcross, Ga., considered the top player in the Class of 2013."
No rest for the weary because recruiting is a full-time job.