Scheduling visits is next step for Saniya Chong
In a phone interview following the first session at the U.S. Under-18 national training camp Chong said that UConn, Miami, Maryland, North Carolina, Louisville and Ohio State are the schools she is considering but that she hasn't scheduled any visits yet.
The high-scoring guard out of Ossining, N.Y. has made it to UConn a couple of times and among the group of players trying out for the U-18 squad are UConn incoming freshmen Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck.
"It was a big opportunity seeing them in person and seeing them on TV is obviously something different," Chong said. "For me to see the games and actually see the girls it was a good thing."
Speaking of establishing familiarity with a school or coaches, Miami coach Katie Meier is the head coach of the U-18 team so she will have a chance to work with Chong in the next couple of days before the team is announcing on Monday.
Chong, who missed the age cutoff to try out for the U-17 team, was ecstatic when she found out she was invited to try out for the U-18 squad.
"I was in school and (Ossining) Coach (Dan) Ricci had told me to come to his office, he had something to tell me," Chong said. "It was unbelievable, I never knew that this day would happen so it was a very great opportunity for me."
Chong hasn't finalized the parameters for what she is looking for in her college of choice.
"I'm not really sure yet," Chong said. "I haven't decided the distance or how far I want to go, it is about me just visiting the schools and narrowing it down."
Chong is the fifth recruit on UConn's radar I have spoken to over the last two days and ironically the one seemingly the closest to making the decision is the youngest of the lot.
Courtney Ekmark, who recently completed a perfect sophomore season at St. Mary's in Phoenix, Ariz., told me last night that she'd like to commit before the start of her junior season. To say that Ekmark is high on UConn's Class of 2014 recruiting wish list would be an understatement of immense proportions. Sources have indicated that UConn coach Geno Auriemma is extremely high on the 6-foot wing.
Ekmark was in Hartford when UConn played Notre Dame in the 2011-12 regular season finale.
"I had a lot of fun at UConn," Ekmark said. "It was amazing the atmosphere there, meeting the team and it was a lot of fun."
Like so many others in Colorado Springs this weekend for the junior national team tryouts, Ekmark's main focus at the current time is trying to play her way onto the 12-player U-17 roster. It doesn't figure to be long after she returns home that she steps up the process of picking her college.
"I'd rather commit earlier than later, probably before my junior year, that is what I would like to do," Ekmark said. "I haven't really put together a list or anything. I know it's been a crazy past couple of months, I need to sit down with my parents and sort of figure it all out."
While Ekmark hasn't come up with an official list, she did say she was looking at "just a couple" of schools with UConn most definitely on the list.
The Huskies' winning tradition as well as Auriemma's demanding style is appealing to Ekmark who just led her high school team to the No. 1 ranking in the national high school polls.
"They are cool because they just recruit the best players and if you come, you come and if you don't, you
don't come but it would just be a challenge to go there," Ekmark said. "I feel like I would like the challenge."