Crystal Dangerfield, the first member of the Huskies' 2016 recruiting class, will arrive in Storrs like so many players before her: With countless high school accolades and honors. But the 2014 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year is more than just a scoring machine.
“One of the things about Crystal is that she does not need to dominate the ball to be great,” Blackman High School (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) coach Chad Hibdon told SNY.com's Carl Adamec on Monday. “Last year, she averaged 14-15 points per game and still picked up a lot of Player of the Year awards that usually go to kids that average 20, 22, 25. She trusts her teammates and they have a great camaraderie on and off the court. She’s a piece of the puzzle, an important piece. One of her strengths is her leadership, particularly from the position that she plays. And she’s a great teammate.
“She is used to playing with other good players. I think that’s the kind of thing that will help her at UConn. Here, she doesn’t have to do it all in order for us to be successful and it will be the same for her at the next level,” he told Adamec.
Dangerfield, rated as the No. 3 prospect in the '16 class, according to ESPN, averaged 14.5 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.9 steals and helped Blackman High to a 34-1 record and the Tennessee Class 3A state championship. She also set single-season records for points in her first two years
"I continue to use two words when I’m asked to describe her,” Hibdon continued. “She has an unbelievable drive and determination for excellence in anything she does whether it’s as a player or a student. She wants to excel and she has very high standards. She is always looking to improve.
“A lot of her growth is just the maturation process. But she’s also done a great job of understanding the responsibility of being a point guard. She came into our program two years ago with a lot of skills and talents. But we’re a program that competes at a high level and competes for state championships. So for her to come from playing middle school basketball to us wasn’t easy. But she’s always worked hard and she’s developed and grown and understands what she has to do for our team to be successful.”