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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A day to remember for UConn commit Gabby Williams

In recent weeks Gabby Williams' physical therapist has sent out tantalizing hints that her most recent visit could be the final one during her arduous recovery from a torn ACL.

He had thrown out the "this is the last one" so many times that when he told the UConn commit earlier today that she was done with the rehab process Williams needed a little extra convincing.

"I took my final movement test and I scored really well," Williams said. "I go see the doctor next Tuesday and hopefully he will clear me. I have been doing drills, all the drills that everybody else can do but I just don't play."

So was Williams ready to scream to the high heavens in celebration when she realized that she wouldn't need to visit to physical therapist any longer?

"Oh my gosh yes," Williams said. "Usually he will tell me it is my last day and say 'no, come in one more day.' So finally I asked 'I'm done? I don't have to come back?' He said 'the next time I see you, you will be in a uniform.'"

Williams is hopeful that she will be able to suit up for Reed High School's season opener next month.

"I definitely am going to be more aware, not scared or timid or anything but more aware of what I am putting my body through and I am not putting myself in any position where I am asking for it," said Williams, who was injured in the first 30 seconds of a mid-January loss to Reno. "I feel good. I think I am going to come back with a lot of adrenaline and energy because I am so excited to play again."

Williams tried to be as positive as she could be with her teammates following the injury but she admits that it was hard on everybody involved.

"It was really frustrating because I was so used to winning and the team wasn't doing well," Williams said. "It was time for me to put them on my back. It was a very difficult time for me because I couldn't be there physically for my team. You can only do so much motivating them but at the end of the day you are not really doing anything so they can block you out or whatever. I tried my best to be motivational and another cheerleader on the bench but you can only do so much."

Williams will join fellow Class of 2014 commits Courtney Ekmark and Sadie Edwards at UConn's First Night festivities on Oct.18.

"I am super excited and excited to meet the other commits and recruits, see the girls up there," Williams said.

Top uncommitted Class of 2014 recruit A'ja Wilson is also expected to be in attendance. There's an outside chance that another highly-touted uncommitted member of the Class of 2014 could make an official visit to UConn that weekend.

The father of Canadian national team guard Kia Nurse said he was hoping to confirm the dates for a visit with UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph tonight and he expects Kia to visit UConn "at some point in the next month."

UConn usually tries to use the First Night event to bring in the top recruits so it would not surprise me to see that being the weekend that Nurse comes to Storrs.

"It's been a process," Richard Nurse said. "It has not been an enjoyable process but I don't think it is stressful because she had to focus on some other things with the national program so she has been playing some high level basketball so at the end of the day her focus has been on that as opposed of worrying about the process. She has a few thoughts in her mind of where she wants to go and what she wants to accomplish as an athlete so I think that has been more of the mindset."

Nurse, the youngest player on the Canadian team, averaged 10 points and 2.5 assists in the six games as Canada finished second to earn a berth in the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma's hectic month of September included a trip to Xalapa, Mexico to see Nurse in action early in the tournament.

Obviously spending the last two years playing on Canada's senior national team has only helped Nurse's emergence as a top-flight player.

"I think it is invaluable," said Richard Nurse, whose son Darnell was the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. "I think any time you get to play against some of the best players in the world internationally it can do nothing but boost your confidence to be a starter at that level, to be able to defend and score the basketball at that level that is invaluable coming into the NCAA"

So when is Kia going to make a college decision?

"That is the Million Dollar Question," Richard Nurse said with a laugh. "I am not exactly sure. It would be nice to have it done before the start of the early signing period. I am not sure if it will because of the time restrictions."

Some other recruiting notes, Ekmark will make two trips East according to her father Curtis as she will play in the prestigious Rose Classic on Oct. 12 in New York.

While I don't have the entire list of recruits UConn coach Geno Auriemma went to check in on during September, between Twitter and recruiting sources I know he went to see top Class of 2015 recruits Asia Durr, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, DeJanae Boykin, Kalani Brown and Arike Ogunbowale as well as top Class of 2016 prospect Lauren Cox.

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