UConn freshman Saniya Chong.
The Huskies have three -- and are looking for a fourth -- commit to their 2014 class. But this year's class consists of just one player: Saniya Chong.
The freshman from Ossining, New York isn't worried about being the only member of her recruiting class.
“Being the only freshman just challenges me,” Chong said this week, via the Hartford Courant. “Knowing that I’m the only one makes me strive harder. And being the only one, I don’t want to make a bad impression. I plan to give my all [to the program].
“Knowing that my high school days are over is sad, but I am also happy in another big way,” Chong said. “I’m excited to start new, with a new team and new friends. I’m just trying to be a part of the UConn Nation.”
Also not worried about a one-person recruiting class: Geno Auriemma.
“We knew going in that it wasn’t going to be one of those classes like we had last year,” he said last fall after Chong signed to come to Storrs. “But what’s better … one player that you know is going to play 30 minutes maybe or five players and only two of them are going to play.”
For now, Chong has more important things to worry about. Like helping the Huskies defend their national title.
“This team goes hard every second. I just need to try and match their intensity,” Chong said, via the Courant. “I think it helps that my team used a similar style in high school. But I still have work to do.”
And that will be the biggest hurdle for Chong, the third straight Parade Magazine Player of the Year to play for Geno Auriemma (after Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart): making the transition to big-time college basketball. Even the best players struggle to find their niche early, and that included the freshman campaigns of Mosqueda-Lewis and Stewart. But once KML and Stewie were comfortable with their games as it fit in the Huskies' offense -- that's when things got interesting.
If history is any guide, it won't take Chong long to find her role and flourish in it.