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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Add Erica McCall to list of First Night visitors

It's already been reported that UConn recruiting target Saniya Chong is planning to be at UConn on Oct. 12 when UConn hosts its annual First Night fan fest as well as taking in the Huskies first official practice the following day. I can report that fellow Class of 2012 recruiting target Erica McCall is also planning to make her official visit to UConn that weekend according to her father who I spoke to earlier today.

Greg McCall, the head women's basketball coach at Cal State Bakersfield, said that Erica is down to four schools (UConn, Duke, UCLA and Stanford). OK, so maybe we could make it five schools.

"The fifth is Cal State University Bakersfield, good old dad, I always put that in there," Greg McCall said with a laugh.

Greg McCall , who said he is planning to sit down with Erica tonight to go over some things, said that the UConn visit will be the final one Erica takes and that a college decision could come shortly after after.

"I think she will be ready," Greg McCall said. "I think we would know by then. I think tonight we are going to sit down and talk about some other things by that time she would definitely know. I don;t think she wants to drag it out long. We don't want other schools to have to continue to wait wherever she chooses to go just because. When she knows, she is going to go ahead and say it. It is not going to be one of those things where we are going to play games just to make people wait."

The Stanford visit is planned for the weekend of Sep. 14-15 but Greg McCall didn't remember the exact dates of the trips to Duke and UCLA. He also said that the paperwork for his daughter to be accepted into Stanford has been completed.

"She's done everything, they are supposed to be processing everything right now and letting us know what the word is going to be on that. All of those things are done."

Since he is a Division I head coach I was curious if there were any restrictions on him being able to take part in the official visits and if he was planning to accompany Erica on the visit to UConn. The answers are no and yes.

"I am treated like a parent. It just so happens that I am a Division I head coach but I am treated just like if I was a lawyer or a teacher or a plumber. I will be treated like any other parent. I am very excited about it (visit to UConn). I am looking forward to seeing what UConn is all about. It is an opportunity to watch a great coach coach."

When I reached out to him a couple of days ago to set up the best time to talk he came up with late morning (here in Connecticut) today. When I called him he was talking to somebody else - his older daughter DeWanna Bonner, a star forward with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. Naturally I understood that our interview started a few minutes later than originally planned.

Bonner is having an incredible season with Phoenix and when I spoke with Erica at the U-17 training camp in Florida in May she said it was invaluable having somebody like Bonner, who was a star at Auburn, to rely on for advice during the recruiting process. Greg McCall agrees that it is a major plus for Erica to have her sister to talk things through. So what are the main advantages of having a former Division I star and current WNBA player in her corner?

"Just talking to her giving her advice, things to look for, what to expect, how to carry herself which Erica has always done a really good job but how to carry herself, what to say to the media to coaches, to parents to fans and just how to do all of those things there and on the recruiting side what to expect on the recruiting trip. It is good to have that part of it because as a parent I can tell her and as a coach I can tell her what to look for but also hearing it from somebody that is close to your age is even better."

Speaking of Chong, UConn is going to be her final visit. The last time I spoke to her she was down to four schools but not having seen a date for a trip to Maryland I spoke with Ossining (N.Y.) coach Dan Ricci who confirmed that she would be visiting Louisville from Sep. 14-15, Ohio State from Oct. 5-6 and UConn from Oct. 13-14. Ricci said that there was no date for a trip to Maryland and it sounds unlikely that one will be scheduled. Much like McCall look for Chong to make her decision after she returns from her visit to UConn.

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