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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A'ja Wilson in no hurry to make her college decision

Wander around the Internet these days and it won't take long for rumors about where top high school junior A'ja Wilson will decide to go to college. However, the multi-faceted 6-foot-4 star for Heathwood Hall in Columbia, S.C. is still months away from figuring out her college of choice.

I spoke with Wilson for about 10-15 minutes by phone after today's first practice session at the U.S. U-19 national team trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I will be writing a story for tomorrow's paper about Wilson's humbling early days on the court but figured I would pass on some of her thoughts on the recruiting process.

"I am taking all of my officials," Wilson said. "I sit down with my parents and every night we have a discussion about what is going to happen over this summer and pray over it

"I am very open right now because I am focusing on getting out of junior year," Wilson said. "I don't have a top 10, a top five, a top three. Once I get out of school and that is May 31. In June that is when I will start settling in because I will have a lot more time on my hands without worrying about school so much and that is when I will start thinking about it."

So what is she looking for when she picks her school?

"Just having a great relationship with the coach and the team, of course and also what would I do after I graduate from the school, where could I go, where could they get me. I want to go to the next level, I want to go to the highest level of basketball I could possibly go. Also, if I would get hurt or couldn't play anymore, could I still see myself there for the rest of the years that I have there. In college my team is going to be my second family, almost pretty close to my immediate family because I am going to be around them for so long."

As luck would have it, she ran some of the UConn players heading to Colorado for the U-19 or World University Games training camp in the Dallas airport.

"When I got to the airport the first people I saw were Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley and Morgan Tuck and it was amazing because they had just won a national championship and I was in the airport with them," Wilson said. "Then I look over and I see (North Carolina's) Xylina McDaniel, Meighan(Simmons) from Tennessee and Cierra (Burdick) and it really hit me 'wow, I am here with these girls and I am flying on the same plane with these girls.' It is great to see how they could have lost to a team but they come together as one here."

When I spoke with her AAU coach recently, he said one of Wilson's greatest attributes is her work ethic. Maybe since she was on the small side of things when she first started playing basketball before a major growth spurt between her freshman and sophomore years in high school, but she doesn't act like the resident superstar on or off the court (until the ball is in her hands).

"I never walk off the court with a 'what if' question in my mind," Wilson said. "I give it 110 percent every single time."

Considering how much passion Wilson plays with, the last several months have been trying for her at times.

She missed the first seven games of the season for Heathwood Hall due to a wrist injury. When her team opened the season by losing three of the first four games, she was just a tad bit restless.

"It was so hard to watch because I was out with my wrist injury," Wilson said. I missed our opening game and it was against Pinewood Prep and they are out rivals. It was very tough, I don't even think I slept that night because it was very tough to watch and knowing that I can't go out and help my team but on a positive note, it helped me build my leadership skills. I have a goal for myself every year and last year my goal was to be poised on the court and I think I handled that pretty well. This year it is building my leadership role. That really helped me from a leadership perspective."

More recently, Wilson injured her knee during an AAU game.

"I came down on a girls' foot and I tweaked my LCL so I have been in therapy for two weeks leading up to the trials so it was good to get back," Wilson said.



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