The Huskies may have missed out on the nation's best high school player, A'ja Wilson, who decided to stay close to home and attend the University of South Carolina, but one loss doesn't bring UConn's recruiting machine to a grinding halt.
Just the opposite, it turns out. And now, in addition to a deep 2014 recruiting class that includes Gabby Williams (5-11, Nevada), Sadie Edwards (5-9, New Jersey), Courtney Ekmark (6-0, Arizona) and Kia Nurse (5-11, Canada), UConn has the first member of its 2015 class, too.
Napheesa Collier, a 6-1 junior forward from St. Louis, Mo., gave an oral commitment to UConn and coach Geno Auriemma over the weekend, following her official visit to Storrs. Collier chose the Huskies over Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and Notre Dame.
“It feels like a hundred thousand pounds has been lifted off my shoulders,” Collier told the Connecticut Post. “It feels so good. I feel relieved. It was definitely wide-open. I hadn’t planned on committing. But just when I got here it felt right. So I just knew.”
This is a common occurrence, and one of the reasons Wilson seemed like a long shot; she took her recruiting visit months ago and there had reportedly been very little contact between her and the school. But that's now water under the recruiting bridge. The defending national champs have more depth than they know what to do with and the commitment from Collier only makes them deeper.
“I started to feel it when I got on campus and was seeing everything,” Collier said of her decision to commit to UConn. “They were taking me on tours and then when I started spending time with the girls and then I went to the academic counselors and all the stuff I just knew it was going to be right for me.
“I loved all the other schools, too. And I really loved everything about Maryland. It was just something that I kind of felt in my gut when I went there that this was the school for me and I didn’t want to be looking anywhere else.”
In addition to Collier, the Huskies also hosted De’Janae Boykin (6-2, F, No. 8 in espnW's top 60), Haley Gorecki, and Katie Lou Samuelson (6-2, W, No. 2).