Katie Lou Samuelson could be the next great player to make her way through UConn. Recently, there's been Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart, who enters her senior season, and Samuelson is the next logical choice to carry that torch.
The freshman is already in Storrs for her first summer sessions and, of course, a little basketball.
“It’s a big advantage being here now just to get to know the campus, take some classes, and do workouts,” Samuelson told SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “You figure out how to balance all that. There’s going to be a lot more going on during preseason this fall, so to do a little bit now will help a lot.
“I’m on the bottom of the totem pole as a freshman coming in. I knew that from the beginning that nothing’s handed to me and I’ve got to work for everything. I’m just trying to learn from all the older girls and just really get to know them and get to know how they play.”
In theory, sure, Samuelson's at the end of the proverbial bench, but the reality is that she'll have a chance to contribute in her first season; Stewart, who struggled early as a freshmen, came on strong during the Huskies' title run three years ago. And Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who graduated last month, also provided valuable minutes during her first season in Storrs. And then there's Kia Nurse, now a sophomore, who started 36 games last year.
Of course, none of this is lost on coach Geno Auriemma.
“Katie Lou has a lot of advantages that a lot of other kids don’t have that are great shooters,” he said said. “She’s 6-3 and then she’s got a quick release and she’s a smart basketball player. And she has a huge advantage of being really, really well coached in high school. Those guys, like Napheesa (Collins) was and Katie Lou was, can compete immediately at the college level. The kids that didn’t have really good coaching in high school are the ones who struggle the most. Tina Charles had great coaching. Sue Bird had great coaching in high school. You see some of these kids that come out … If they have the right background, the right make-up mentally, and they’ve got the talent and the heart, anything’s possible.”
Samuelson joins a stacked freshman class that includes the aforementioned Collins and De’Janae Boykin. There's also Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.