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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saniya Chong hoping UConn becomes her second home

When UConn signee Saniya Chong talked about her time at Ossining (N.Y.) High School shortly after a letter of intent signing ceremony she spoke about the family type of atmosphere she has been a part of. When she felt the same vibe during her official visit to UConn last month, that sealed the deal.

While Chong was struck by the big-time nature of the UConn program, she ultimately was wooed to Storrs not by pomp and circumstance but by the way the Huskies’ coaching staff took an interest in her as a person.

“I think the best thing is they didn't just look at my ability to play but they also looked at my personality,” Chong said. “You actually have to take time out of your day to know who I am. I might be shy at first but I am very outgoing but a little humble. For them waiting for me, taking the time it really showed me a lot.”

Chong was equally impressed with the no-frills way that the Connecticut players acted while she was there. Among those who made her feel right at home is current freshman phenom Breanna Stewart whose Cicero-North Syracuse team knocked Chong and Ossining out of the New York state playoffs last season.

“We played them in the (New York Class AA) semifinals and I visited them for an unofficial and I thought 'Breanna Stewart, wow you guys beat us by a lot. You guys beat us pretty bad,'” Chong said. “But it never came up in conversation. Breanna Stewart is such a humble person and has such a nice personality. I knew that would be a great, perfect fit for me because I don’t really brag about it either.”

Chong averaged 33.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 5 steals and 1.4 blocks as a junior. She scored at least 20 points in all but one game and had four 40-point games. Her best scoring games as a junior were 55-point efforts against Archbishop Molloy and Irvington. She also had four triple-doubles. Chong enters her senior season with a school-record 2,060 points.

Ossining had its first official practice on Tuesday and the first game is against Archbishop Molloy on Dec. 7. The Pride will be playing in the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona next month and will host New York powerhouse Christ the King on Jan. 4.

“I am so excited,” Chong said. “Yesterday was our first official practice. It was the greatest feeling ever even if it was kind of sad that it was senior year. Basically this is my last year to give it all I've got but it is also a great feeling knowing I want to go far and I want to win a state championship.”

Chong began to play basketball when she was 6 years old and the family lived in the Bronx. After a move to basketball-crazy North Carolina Chong was able to improve as a player. By the time the Chong family relocated to Ossining before the start of Saniya's freshman year of high school, she was on the verge of basketball stardom.

"We didn't think she was going to be a basketball (star) because she did all the different sports," said Leslie Chong Saniya's mother. "When she started playing with the boys and started going to the AAU tournaments it was like 'OK, there is something there.' I didn't think she was going to be like this but she did it."

Chong actually signed her letter of intent around 8 a.m. and faxed it over to UConn but that didn't diminish the exhilaration she felt at the quaint afternoon ceremony inside the Ossining gym.

"Today, there are no words," Chong said. "I feel happy and I am excited. You only get this chance once in a lifetime and I think it is very special.

"When I first said (she was committing to UConn) it I felt relieved because it has been so long and so much, having to commit somewhere and know it is the perfect fit it was a relief and I was just very grateful that I am going to one of the best colleges in the countr.y"

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Blogger James Kerwin said...

MS Saniya Chong you will fit in perfectly with our other sweet humble Women. A high scoring guard fits the UConn system just great. Sue/Rene/Svet/Shea/and a dozen other UConn great guards all had your attirbutes.

10:13 AM 

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