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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Versatility and unselfishness hallmarks of newest UConn commit

Everything I have been hearing was that Napheesa Collier was the top of UConn's recruiting wish list in the star-studded Class of 2015.

Now that the 6-foot-1 forward out of Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis is committed to UConn, I figured I would try to get a scouting report on her game. I spoke to Incarnate Word head coach Dan Rolfes a little while ago and here's what he had to say about his star player.

"She's 6-1, long, lanky athlete, smooth offensively. She could play on the perimeter, post you up, take you off the dribble and a great offensive rebounder. Defensively we can have her guard anyboy from a point guard down to a post. I think her versatility and her ability to play different spots makes her so intriguing.

"She can fit into just about anybody's system because she can play so many different spots. If they recruit somebody else next year, she can slide over to a 3 (small forward) or play a 4 (power forward) spot and I think that is what one of her biggest attributes is, she can pretty much play anywhere."

Rolfes loves to recall the story of when Collier passed up shots she normally takes and makes with ease and when he asked her why, it was so one of her teammates to reach the 1,000-point mark in the game.

"She is a great kid," Rolfes said. "She came to us after her freshman year, her family moved (from Jefferson City), her mom got transferred. We were already going to be pretty good but she came in and was definitely the best player but was so humble and such a team player. She fit in extremely well even though she was getting 25 points a game. In every game it seemed like she has a quiet 25. A couple of offensive rebounds here, a couple steals and (baskets) in transition, she is a great teammate."

He was not stunned to see Collier's commitment come so early.

"In October they had narrowed it down to five and they had visited all of the schools and did a lot of homework so to be honest with you, I was not surprised. I think before she even started doing visits that she was ready to commit somewhere and I know when she went up to UConn she told me it just felt right. She was extremely excited to play for a national contender every year."

Collier averaged 17.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 3.6 steals and 1.9 blocked shots as a freshman at Jefferson City (the same town UConn great Maya Moore lived in before moving to Georgia). In her two seasons at Incarnate Word Academy she shot 70.7 and 70 percent from the field. As a junior she averaged 23.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.3 blocked shots per game while playing on a team with three seniors who signed with Division I teams. During her sophomore and junior seasons she had 160 assists and 101 turnovers. She heads into her senior season with 1,986 points, 942 rebounds, 282 assists, 342 steals and 200 blocks in 89 career games.

Rolfes said that there are a couple of openings remaining on Incarnate Word Academy's 2014-15 schedule and he would love to be a part of the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass. which normally includes a girls' game featuring a Connecticut commit or recruiting target if at all possible.


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