Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ekmark drawn to winning

If Courtney Ekmark wasn't a known commodity before the Tournament of Champions, she was certainly on the radar of the major powers after leading her St. Mary's team to the title in the most competitive high school event of the year.

Among those in attendance were members of the UConn staff. When they weren't watching future Huskies Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck shine, they managed to take in Ekmark's games as well in December. Just over two months later the 6-foot sophomore took an unofficial visit to UConn and was in the stands when UConn played Notre Dame in the regulae-season final at the XL Center.

Ekmark's rapid ascension from recruitng target to commit culminated on Monday when she committed to UConn. Both Ekmark and her father Curtis, who is also her high school and AAU coach, talked about the similarities in the winning traditions at St. Mary's and UConn.

"They are cool because they just recruit the best players and if you come, you come and if you don't, yo don't come but it would just be a challenge to go there," Courtney Ekmark said during the U-17 trails earlier this month. "It is definitely similar to our, I see many similarities between my high school and them."

It is an opinion shared by her dad.

"I think what attracts those type of kids to UConn is they want to be pushed and they want to be the best and I think that was attractive to her. Obviously on a much more scaled down level she thought it was similar to the program we have in high school. We have eight Division I kids and the practices are very competitive, you get to practice with a lot of good kids and you get to win a lot of games. I think she looked to take that to the next level in college."

Thanks to Carl Adamec, who picked up on the fact that U-17 assistant coach Gail Hook is the head coach of the Monarch High in Louisville, Colo. which beat Ekmark's St. Mary's squad during the 2010-11 season, we were able to get a little bit of a scouting report on Ekmark.

"She is one of those players that you look and at the end of the game you look and she has 20 points, five steals, five assists," Hook said. "I think she just finds a way to quietly get her stats and she is always a major contributor to their wins. She just finds a way to do what she needs to to help her team win.

She is kind of a hard matchp kid because she can spot up and shoot the 3, she can beat you off the dribble, she is a good dribble-drive penetrator, she kind of creates some hard matchups that makes her unique."

Ekmark's family background caught my eye as well. Not only did her father and mother both attend Marquette but Curtis was on the Golden Eagles' basketball team while Meg played tennis.  Her grandfather, three aunts and great uncle also played tennis for Marquette while her cousin was a member of the women's basketball program at Marquette.

My dad is from Lake Havasu, Arizona and he got a basketball scholarship to play basketball at Marquette, my mom played at Marquette and they just decided to move back after college," Courtney Ekmark said. "They went to law school in Malibu. I don't know how they got here but it is nice.

"All my cousins are there in Wisconsin. I have had crazy summers the past couple of summers, I went there a couple summers ago and I might try to visit some time if I have time. My cousin is actually playing in the state championship, his fourth one so I want to try to go out there and see him play."

One last thing which I found rather ironic is that the first thing Curtis Ekmark said when I answered the phone yesterday is "you're from New Haven." I said that I worked there. Then he told me he was headed to New Haven. As it turns out his son, who is going into his freshman year of high school, is arriving in New Haven today to attend a camp at Yale and Curtis said he was en route to New Haven on Friday. He was looking for dining suggestions so I told him that New Haven's pizza is hard to beat. Although I told him about Sally's and Pepe's on Wooster Street, I suggested to him that he head over the Modern Apizza on State Street,  my personal favorite.

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