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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

UConn is next stop after U18 trials for Crystal Dangerfield

The reality of it all is about to hit Crystal Dangerfield.

The high school All-American point guard has already graduated from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She is currently in Colorado Springs trying out for the U.S. U-18 national team and on Tuesday morning she will board a flight for Connecticut.

"I am ready to start that chapter," Dangerfield said. "It is five weeks of workouts, two classes so I am ready to start working on team chemistry.

"It is surreal, a dream come true. I have been waiting for about six years now just to get up there and have UConn wore across my chest."

Dangerfield won't be playing with all of her college teammates in pickup games over the next five weeks. Rising sophomores Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson will be recovering from injury while Kia Nurse will spend some of her summer training with the Canadian national team.

She will get the chance to reunite with one of her teammates on last year's U.S. U-19 team as Azura' Stevens is transferring in from Duke.

"That is huge just having a versatile player like that, a great teammate and having the extra post presence,' Dangerfield said. "She creates matchup problems so that is something I am looking forward to next year and the year after."

It is not only Stevens' basketball skills she is impressed by.

"Just how welcoming she is, Dangerfield said. "Her personality is great. On the court she is a great leader, she is vocal, she is versatile, she can guard a post or on the perimeter.

"I was very (surprised). I wouldn't have expected her to leave (Duke) but I don't know how transfer situations go but to have her come to UConn is just really big."

Dangerfield was one of three players with remaining high school eligibility remaining on last year's team which won the FIBA U19 World Championship. All Dangerfield did was finish second on the team in assists (19) and steals (14). She averaged 6.4 points per game and had an impressive 19/4 assist/turnover ratio.

"Just the maturity level, the style of play it can transfer into some of the college games (she will play)," Dangerfield said. "The physicality and I feel even off the court (it helped). We had to travel so much and it was time for me to grow up and being around older girls helped."

The U-18 team will be announced Monday around 8:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. in Colorado).

UConn recruiting target Megan Walker is also trying out for the team but she has to leave Sunday morning because she is a part of the U.S. team playing in the FIBA 3z3 U18 World Championship. There will be more on Walker's hectic summer either later today or tomorrow. She did saw that she is intending to take official visits to her four finalists (UConn, Notre Dame, Virginia and Texas) in August and September with her decision coming in September. She is hoping to take her official visit to UConn in August and it would likely be in late August since UConn coach Geno Auriemma will be in Brazil coaching the U.S. Olympic team until Aug. 20.

The U-17 team is expected to be announced around 8 a.m. local time (10 a.m. here in Connecticut). The first cut was recently made to get down to 101 players. UConn commits Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Lexi Gordon as well as Class of 2017 recruiting target Mikalya Coombs, to the surprise of nobody, survived the initial cut.

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