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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

UConn's Auriemma thrilled to see recruit finish in style

Everybody I've spoken to about UConn incoming freshman Napheesa Collier can't speak highly enough about one of the three recruits signed by the Huskies.

The folks at USA Basketball including those who coached her rave about her performance on the court and way she carries herself off the court. Incarnate Word Academy coach Dan Rolfes obviously has loved coaching Collier for the last three seasons.

The UConn coaches haven't been shy is expressing their praise of the 6-foot-1 forward.

Carl Adamec of the Manchester Journal Inquirer and I gave UConn coach Geno Auriemma another chance to talk up his incoming freshman after one of the press conferences at the subregional held at Gampel Pavilion.

Collier completed a dominant four-game run to lead Incarnate Word out of St. Louis to its third consecutive Missouri Class 4 title (one for each year Collier played there). Collier averaged 30 points (scoring 31, 31, 28 and 30 points in the tournament), 14.8 rebounds, 5.8 offensive rebounds, 3,5 assists, 4.3 steals and 5 blocks per game. She had a triple-double aided by a 10-steal game and another game with nine blocked shots. In the last three games of the tournament she was 40 of 50 from the field.

Obviously Auriemma was kind of busy here in Connecticut but he has seen Collier play enough that her postseason performance was not a surprise to him.

"She is a tremendous kid and their team wasn't as good as they were last year," Auriemma said. "They have a fabulous coach, he does a tremendous job and those kids are really lucky to be coached by a former college coach. I just think that goes a long way and they play really well together. she just kind of pulls it all into place because she is so versatile and so unselfish. I just love her as a person. She is a leader by nature, it just comes naturally to her and she is able to do it and it is kind of effortless. Some people have to work really hard at being (a leader).

"When you watch her play, you are amazed that she plays both ends of the floor equally hard. It is not some kids I see in high school, they do play both ends of the floor. You heard me say when they are on offense on this end, they play offense and when they are on offense  on that end, they play that end but rarely at the same time. She is one of those few kids who competes and competes really hard on both ends of the floor."

Collier finished her senior year averaging 26.7 points per game (shooting 70 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line), 13 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 4.1 steals and 4.1 blocked shots per game.

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