Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

No place like home for A'ja Wilson

While I was out in Colorado Springs, there were plenty of familiar names and faces of players who were once on UConn's recruiting radar but opted to head elsewhere. At first glance I counted six former UConn recruiting targets taking part in the U-18 tryouts. Three of them (Recee Caldwell, Brianna Turner and A'ja Wilson) made the U-18 squad.

The way things work in recruiting is that once a player picks another school that tends to be the last update you provide on them. Occasionally during the season or especially in the postseason I may catch up with somebody facing UConn who was once on the Huskies' recruiting radar.

However, since Wilson generated more attention and speculation than perhaps any other non-UConn signee in recent memory from the UConn faithful, I spoke to her for a couple of minutes on my final day in Colorado.

Here's what she thought about the progress of the U-18 camp.

"I am having a lot of fun out here, it is great to be back," Wilson said. "Being out here is such a great feeling and even though the oxygen is different it is great, there are a lot of girls out there and we are very competitive so I just love every minute of it.

"It (being a member of the U-19 World Championship team last summer) has really helped me out a lot. I have to give it to Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart, those two kind of stuck out to me last year. Last year I was the youngest sitting back and watching everything. Now me and Bri (Turner) are the veterans so we are taking what we learned form them and hope it pays off in the end."

Wilson had a signing day event at her high school which was streamed live. When the Columbia, South Carolina native announced that she was signing with South Carolina, the folks sitting behind her in the gym at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School went crazy.

"It meant a lot," Wilson said. "The support system that Heathwood gives is just ridiculous, the community and state itself is ridiculous. Really being there and hearing my family and friends go crazy and just supporting me has been a great feeling.

"It's been a great reaction. The coaches there are great, the coaches have been respectful and I appreciate it, people saying thank you. I love giving back to my state, they have given so much to me so I want to give back to them."

What about the experience of being pursued by UConn?

"I loved every part of the recruitment," Wilson said. "Coach Auriemma, Coach Ralph they are great and very respectful and I love them for that."

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