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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Auriemma thrilled with newly signed UConn recruiting class

While there might be those outside the UConn program devaluing the quality of the Huskies' latest recruiting class, UConn coach Geno Auriemma is quite thrilled to be adding the trio of Molly Bent, Crystal Dangerfield and Kyla Irwin to the fold next season.

Dangerfield is rated as the No. 3 overall player and top guard in the class according to the ESPN HoopGurlz ratings.

ESPN rated Bent as the 25th best guard and Irwin as the 15th best post player in the class which is a far cry from the current freshman class as Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier were the No. 1 and 6 rated recruits while Boykin was rated 23rd.

Still, Auriemma is rather delighted about the class that signed last week.

"It doesn't work every time but a lot of times you can tell a lot about a kid by obviously what their background is, what high school coach a kid plays for a lot of times has a lot to do with it, what AAU program they play in, what their family situation is at home, what the expectation level was for that kid growing up?" Auriemma said. "It is not always a measure and a lot of times it is and by all accounts, that group coming in more than anything, they love to play. They love to play, they understand what the demands are of playing here and they come from backgrounds where they have been well coached and they have been raised under certain expectations and I just feel real comfortable around them.

"There wasn't a lot of drama and maybe it had to do with that when they had the opportunity, all three of them really wanted to come to UConn and to me those are the exact type of kids you want to get. You don't want to get kids that you want to get on your hands and knees to try to convince them that this is the right place for you. You have to do that in a lot of cases anyways but you want to have kids who look around and go 'wow, I have a chance to go play at UConn?. That is what I have always wanted.' That is kind of where it fell with these guys and I couldn't be happier."

UConn was involved at some point in the process with seven of the top 10 players in ESPN's rankings but other than Dangerfield, the only other top 10 prospect pursued heavily throughout the entire process is No. 1 rated Lauren Cox who committed to Baylor.

The strength of the class figures to depend on what kind of players Bent and Irwin turn into. Kelly Faris, Tiffany Hayes and Kiah Stokes were among the recent Huskies who weren't exactly drawing an abundance of buzz when they committed to UConn although Hayes' rating did soar after she committed to UConn. Bent practically came out of nowhere before committed to UConn. it didn't hurt that when she was on her recruiting visit she impressed UConn's top recruiters. No, I am not talking about Auriemma, associate head coach Chris Dailey or assistant coaches Marisa Moseley and Shea Ralph. Auriemma and his staff has relied heavily on the input from the players when recruits visit campus and both Bent and Irwin received glowing recommendations.

"It is tough to find kids who are willing to put it on the line like that and go 'there are no guarantees.' Nobody guaranteed me a starting spot, nobody guaranteed me it would be easy,' Auriemma said. "I willing to go there, fight for whatever I want, whatever I can get and I want to be a part of a winning program. That is unusual today, in today's day and age it is more about what each individual kid can get out of their program. For us, these kids are exactly what we need in this point in time."

Dangerfield, who has been compared to the player she figures to replace (Moriah Jefferson). She is also well acquainted with the current Huskies. She was on the same U-16 national team with Samuelson and Boykin and over the summer she was a teammate of Collier's on the U.S. team which won the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
"She is a great player and person, she is the type of person you will get better with every day in practice, she is real dedicated," Collier said. "I liked how confident, aggressive and passionate she was."

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