Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some observations from U-18 and U-17 practices

I was able to check out the U.S. U-17 and U-18 squads at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex today and here are some random thoughts.

Watching UConn incoming freshmen Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck interact, you would think they grew up in the same neighborhood. The camaraderie between the two of them is hard to miss.

Moriah Jefferson, heading to UConn as well, is emerging as a vocal presence as a point guard. She has been rather noticeable on defense, especially in the first practice of the day. She hurt her wrist midway through the night session and that seemed to impact her play a bit. I spoke to Jefferson after the second session and she downplayed the injury. After taking a break to get her wrist and hand taped, Jefferson returned to play.

Kendall Cooper, an uncommitted 6-foot-3 post from Carson, Calif. really, really impressed me. This was the first time I saw her play and both during the morning and evening practices she was a force. She, along with UConn recruiting target Jannah Tucker, are the only players on the U-18 squad yet to commit.

I am extremely impressed with the teaching ability of U-18 and Miami head coach Katie Meier. Her lecture on the defense she was trying to teach her team was one of the highlights of the day. Some coaches win because they are good recruiters and there are some who are outstanding technicians. I have been to my share of USA Basketball junior national training camps and Meier is one of the more impressive teachers of basketball I have seen in these settings

LSU coach Nikki Caldwell, an assistant on the U-18 team, was at SEC meetings and is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

I spent most of my time watching the U-18s today. I will spend more time taking in the U-17 practice tomorrow morning and in the evening the U-17s will scrimmage the U-18s and I am definitely looking forward to that.

What little I saw of the U-17s, I understand why UConn recruiting target Linnae Harper is generating so much interest from the powerhouse programs. She is ultra quick, aggressive and knows how to get to the rim. I saw Kaela Davis score with a sweet drive to the hoop on one possession and followed it up with a 3-pointer.

I spoke with Brianna Turner, the only member of the Class of 2014 to make either team and will have more about her in a later blog but she said she doesn't plan on making a list of her top 10 schools until likely after her junior season is complete.

Also, somehow I got it into my head that the U.S. Olympic team will name alternates. I spoke with USA Basketball women's national team director Carol Callan today and she said that is not the case. The plan is to bring the 12 members of the Olympic team to the mid July training camp in Washington, D.C. and that the 20 players in contention for the 12 spots (which did not include Baylor's Brittney Griner who took her name out of consideration for a spot on the team) will remain on the U.S. roster. As long as no players are sidelined between now and the start of the Olympics, the 12-player squad will be the only ones heading to London with the U.S. Olympic team.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - agree on Katie Meier. While I am a die hard Husky fan, have admired her approach to the game the last few years. While I realize it may be sacrilege to many of the Husky faithful, I wouldn't mind seeing her following Geno at UCONN.

3:37 PM 

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