Geno Talks, NCAA Rules, Recruiting
Tuesday, Jul 1, 2014 • Updated 8:31 AM EDT
We've talked a lot about recruiting in recent weeks, and almost all of it had to do with the UConn football team going from zero commitments for the 2015 class to 11. It's an impressive achievement but we all know it won't mean much if the players don't pan out on the field and in the classroom.
Which brings us to Geno Auriemma and the women's basketball team. Fresh off national championship No. 9, the Huskies aren't resting on their laurels. The staff continues to beat the bushes and continues to out-recruit every other program. The 2015 class includes the nation's best player -- Katie Lou Samuelson -- as well as two others in the top 10: Napheesa Collier and De’Janae Boykin. There's also Kia Nurse, a member of the Canadian national team, and Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.
According to NCAA rules, recruits can take just one official visit to a school, but the Huskies were unconcerned about having all four of their big-time targets on campus early in the process.
“We’ve always been pretty good at identifying who we think we can get and then working really hard to get them up to school and get them involved here,” Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “For us, once we get them on campus and once they’ve spent enough time around our players the rest is not that difficult.”
There's a new NCAA rule that allows high school juniors to make official visits beginning April 1 of their junior year. It's a rule the Huskies have taken advantage of, and it allowed them to land some of their top targets early.
“Some people took advantage of it and some people didn’t,” Auriemma said, regarding the rule change. “Some people thought it was a great idea and some people didn’t think it was a great idea.
“To me, the biggest advantage of the rule change is that you can have contact with the kids earlier. You can find out at an earlier age whether there’s an interest or not. You’re not wasting all this time recruiting someone then find out at the last minute that it was for nothing. Now you find out right away — I want this kid or I don’t, or this kid wants us or doesn’t want us.”