UConn recruitiing target Mikayla Coombs making up for lost time
The rising senior guard out of the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Georgia is trying to set up an official visit to UConn and there is a little bit of time next month for her to make it up to Storrs. There's a slight problem, however.
"I have been talking to Coach Auriemma," Coombs said after Friday's afternoon session at the U.S. U-17 trials in Colorado Springs. "There is a weekend that we are trying to get but if I make this team then I can't go because it is will be hectic but if I make the team, I think I'll be able to go. I think it will be mid-June but I don't know the date yet."
Obviously Coombs hopes to have a tough scheduling decision to make by being one of the 12 players named to represent the U.S. in the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women.
Last year she was invited to try out for the U-16 team but a torn ACL suffered early in her sophomore season ended those dreams.
"It would be a blessing," Coombs said. "I am pretty driven because last year I had to sit out, I got invited and had to sit out because of my knee injury. It would mean a lot to me because I would have accomplished something that I could have done last year."
When Coombs was going through grueling rehab sessions, putting herself in position to make a national team was one of the things helping her to push through when things got tough.
"It helps me a lot because it is a mindset in rehab when it gets tough, you keep going,' Coombs said. "So when I come here and my shot is not falling in just in a game in general where I don't think I am doing well, I just to have to keep pushing."
Coombs views events like the U-17 trials as an opportunity to see where her game stacks up against the nation's best.
"It has been a great experience to play against the nation's best, it has been fun," Coombs said. "It helps me with what I need to work on. When I am working out, I know I want to play against the best and 'this is what I struggled with' so I can focus more on (improving)."
It also helps that Coombs has grown up in one of the top areas nationally for developing girls' basketball talent. Certainly Maya Moore stands at the top of any list of Georgia girls' basketball prodigies. In 2013 three of the top seven on ESPN's recruiting database hailed from Georgia as Kaela Davis, Diamond DeShields and Allisha Gray were ranked No. 2, 3 and 7 with Lexie Brown checking in at No. 15. Coombs is one of three Georgia products ranked in the top 30 by ESPN in the Class of 2017.
"When you go and compete against the best you can always compare them to someone because there is so much talent," Coombs said. "You think 'other players play just like her' and 'I know how to take her on this play.' It helps a lot to know what to compare it to."
Coombs admits that her No. 1 goal at the moment is getting her high school team another championship.
Wesleyan has won 11 state titles in the last 16 seasons including one when Coombs was a sophomore but the bid to repeat ended with an overtime loss to Holy Innocents in the Georgia AA title game. Coombs' knee injury limited her to one game in the only season that Wesleyan has won the state title since she got to high school. Even with the graduation of leading scorer Cairo Booker, Coombs wants nothing else but to be cutting down the nets in her final game with the Lady Wolves.
"It is honestly my main focus because I want to end my senior year on that note with a state championship, that is all I told the team and all we are working for is to win the state championship," said Coombs, a 5-foot-8 guard who averaged 13.3 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals as a junior. "It will be harder this year because we have moved down to 1A where they are better teams but I think this is our year. I think we can pull it off. We are all very driven so hopefully it is our year."
Coombs said she'd like to have made a college decision before the start of her senior season. She has already visited Penn State and Virginia. She is currently trying to set up visits to UConn and Stanford while an additional visit to Georgia is also a possibility.
Auriemma has made multiple visits to see Coombs play which has certainly made an impression on her.
"It means a lot to me because I know how busy he is and especially in one of my games, he flew into Atlanta and had to drive an hour and a half to Milledgeville, Georgia just to watch me play," Coombs said. "Having him do that stuff, it has an impact on me."
Coombs, a strong student interested in majoring in broadcast journalism, knows what she is looking for in her school of choice.
"A coach who makes me better every day and also academically, that is huge for my family, and where I can succeed in my major so a school I can get the best of both worlds," Coombs said.
If she opts to become the part of the Class of 2017, she could join two players also at the U-17 trials who have committed to UConn already. Here's the story I wrote earlier today on Andra Espinoza-Hunter and Lexi Gordon.
Labels: Mikayla Coombs