Dangerfield excited to begin life as a Husky
Yet, the speedy 5-foot-6 Dangerfield knows that when she puts on a UConn uniform that she will invariably be compared to All-American Moriah Jefferson. While she may take a certain amount of pride in the comparisons, she is not going to spend her collegiate career chasing a ghost.
"On our official visit, I pulled her (Jefferson) aside and she (said) I don't have to go up there and try to be her," said Dangerfield after recording seven points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in the East's 100-94 loss to the West in the second girls' game at the Jordan Brand Classic. "I have to go up there and be Crystal. I talked to Coach Shea (Ralph) last night, she said I don't have to come in and be thinking 'I have to replace Moriah Jefferson. I have to do what I do.'
"The coaches have said the same thing, just be me. Me and her know we aren't the same player. When I was younger, I was more like her but now we have gone our separate ways. At the same age I an not like she was and she is not like I am."
Dangerfield averaged 23.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game as a senior. She had 21 20-point games as a senior and seven 30-point efforts.
In her first three seasons Dangerfield played a role similar to the one Jefferson had at UConn as she not only was a double-digit scorer but also ran the team as she averaged a career-high 5.6 assists as a junior. However, when three of Blackman's top five scorers graduated, Dangerfield was asked to look for her own shot more than in past years.
"It was a longer season because the kids hadn't had as much experience but the season was pretty enjoyable even though we didn't meet our ultimate goal of a state championship," Dangerfield said. "Being able to take that role as a leader is going to help next year. The read and react are going to be key. They are going to have to guard all five people, say they focus on Kia (Nurse) or Lou (Katie Lou Samuelson), they are going to leave somebody open and if it is me, it is me."
So what does Dangerfield, who was named the Morgan Wootten Award winner as the McDonald's national player of the year, believe she will bring to UConn?
"A whole lot of speed, that is not going to be anything new coming from Moriah though, just a floor general and trying to be vocal," Dangerfield said. "Coach Auriemnma has already voiced that is going to have to be done, handle the ball because he has expressed that as well that he going to have somebody that he can lean on to get the ball where it needs to be."
Thanks to her time in high school and with USA Basketball, she has been on the court at the same time as UConn rising sophomores Samuelson and Napheesa Collier which could make the adjustment to playing with them go all the more smoothly.
"Sophomore year I played against Napheesa twice and Lou, I have been with her since the U-16 USA team so just having that experience with them for basically my entire high school career has been helpful and I know it will carry on when I get to UConn," Dangerfield said.