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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Legendary coach dishes on UConn's incoming freshmen

Over the years there may not be a high school coach who I have sought out more often to get scouting reports on UConn's incoming recruits than Christ the King's Bob Mackey. So when I heard a familiar voice during the East team's practice in preparation for Friday's Jordan Brand Classic, I add Mackey to those I wished to talk to during my trip to New York today.

Mackey is an assistant coach on the East squad which includes UConn signee Napheesa Collier but I knew he would have plenty of insight on fellow future Huskies De'Janae Boykin. As I expected, Mackey, who was on the Christ the King staff when Sue Bird played there and the head coach when Tina Charles and Lorin Dixon were stars for the Royals, delivered.

"They are going to be incredible assets, (UConn) won't miss a beat," Mackey said. "Those kids know how to play, they know how to space, they know how to see the floor, they are fundamentally sound and they work hard."

The first player I asked Mackey about was Collier since he has had a chance to work directly with her.

"Wow," Mackey said  "She has tremendous upside, the kid can flat out run and she can't be guarded. She's a wing, she is a forward, she is a guard, she can play any position she wants. She is not Breanna Stewart but she is in that realm, she can do just about anything. They are not going to miss a beat, it is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

"I think every kid they recruit, you see some of that (competitiveness). They work hard, they are dedicated and they are coachable. You say I want you to step out three steps and make that back-door cut, they make that back-door cut. You are not going to get a player who say 'wait a minute.' The kids that they recruit are not going to do that."

As for Katie Lou Samuelson and De'Janae Boykin, Mackey was equally impressed.

"I don't want to say she's a better 3-point shooter (than Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who also played at California powerhouse Mater Dei) because I will get my butt handed to me by one of more alumni but they have a pretty good 3-point shooter coming," Mackey said. "I know the best 3-pointer shooter in history just graduated but that kid can shoot. I saw her play as a sophomore and junior, that kid can flat out shoot. She has one of the best 3-point shots I have ever seen. Geno doesn't miss a beat. CD doesn't miss a recruit.

"(Boykin) could be the x factor in that threesome because she has some intangibles in what she does. She can run the floor, can make the pass, can make the shot. She has a lot of versatility. I don't think you are going to see (a drop off). They are really going to complement the system really well, the rich get richer."

With Mackey being one of the truly legendary girls'/women's basketball figures in New York, I also wanted to get his thoughts on the Jordan Brand Classic adding a girls' game for the first time.

"Being a New York and having the Jordan game in New York is appropriate, having the girls game as a component of it I think it phenomenal and it is long overdue," Mackey said. "I think the fact that Women's Basketball Coaches Association isn't running a game any longer is deplorable, it is phenomenal that the Jordan people have picked up the game because I think it is necessary. They represent the game and they are the future stars of college basketball and it is tremendous chance to showcase that."

Finally, I did ask him about the landing spot of former Christ the King star Sierra Calhoun. Actually, I never mentioned the name of the former Duke guard/forward but just said I had a Christ the King related question when he volunteered that he hasn't spoken to Calhoun since before the news broke that she was leaving Duke. I took most of the conversation about her potential landing spot as being off the record so will not be revealing his thoughts on where she might land.

I caught up with Boykin, Collier and Samuelson as well as Meriden's Kiah Gillespie so there will be much more coming in the next couple of days.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous joe said...

Makes you wonder how they will all fit in with the existing talent.
Good to know that excellence will still be there after Jefferson and Stewart graduate next year!

1:33 PM 
Blogger JC said...

So Sierra Calhoun will enroll at Ohio State and play in the 2016-2017 season. There is a lot of chatter out there that Omar Sr approached Geno about accepting Sierra as a transfer and Geno said no. Any truth to that Jim? BTW, no need to respond if you don't know or don't want to say.

12:23 PM 

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