Quest to be great leads to Gabby Williams' commitment
The bond that she formed with the UConn players and coaches, the uptempo style of play and belief that she could be a part of national-championship contending teams made it clear that the junior guard at Reed High in Sparks, Nev. was destined to become a Husky.
Williams made it official on Friday as she became the third member of the Class of 2014 to commit to UConn.
"I really liked the atmosphere and the way they play," Williams said. "I just want to be a part of that legacy and that tradition. I met with everybody and they really took the time out to make sure I really saw all of UConn and I appreciate that.
"I knew right away that UConn was the place. I know my family was kind of sad that it was so far away but they are going to support me anyways. I know they want to see all my games but making choices like this, you have to be selfish. I think at Connecticut I can reach my potential, they are going to make me the best I can be."
Williams' dad Matt, who played collegiate basketball at Nevada-Reno, admitted that convincing him was a major obstacle to Gabby heading East.
"I am extremely surprised but after meeting with Geno (Auriemma) and his staff, there are no regrets," Matt Williams said. "There are regrets on my end as a father but like my daughter reminded me, it is not about me because I wanted her closer to home. Between Stanford and Arizona State that is where I thought we were leaning and maybe I was pushing her a little bit.
"This is a young lady that could have dragged this process on. I think she is really excited. I think she was worried about what my thoughts would be. I told her I didn't want her to commit right after the visit because everybody is always in their honeymoon stage. She is ready to get rehabilitated and try to be one of the best players and athletes she can be."
Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in January and had surgery to repair a torn ACL six weeks ago.
"I played (against) Courtney Ekmark before," Williams said. "I have seen her play before and it is really nice to have players that good next to me."
Not only is Williams considered to be one of the best basketball players in her class but she is a world-class high jumper who finished fifth in the event at the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials. She has been quoted as saying that she would like to redshirt during the 2015-16 season so she could concentrate on the pursuit of Olympic glory. That is an option she is still debating.
"I am still thinking about, I haven't decided," Williams said.
What she does know is that her experience in the Olympic trials is not one she will soon forget.
"It was really surreal and humbling just to see I am not competing with the best athletes at my age, I am competing with the best athletes in the world and the nation," Williams said. "It was real eye-opening and a great experience, I learned a lot."