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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

UConn recruiting target Megan Walker not going to rush college decision making process

There are no lack of people ready for Megan Walker to pull the trigger on her college decision.

There certainly are plenty of folks proclaiming which way the Monacan High School star is leaning but Virginia's reigning Gatorade state player of the year is doing things on her own schedule.

Walker, who cut her list to a final four of UConn, Notre Dame, Texas and Virginia last month, has done the unofficial visit thing including a pair of trips to UConn but she intends to take official visits to her four finalists before announcing her decision in September.

"I have to take my official visits so two in August and two in September and after that I will make decision," Walker said.

She then added the fact that her final official visits will be taken in early September.

Walker, a 6-foot-1 wing who averaged 21.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.2 steals as a junior, has nothing but good things to say about her trips to Storrs.

"It was great," Walker said. "We played games and I bonded with the players, I saw the campus and it was a really good visit overall. First time when I spent the night, I was with Breanna Stewart but the rest of the time I was with the other girls. Those are the girls I am going to be with so you have to be able to have a bond with them, be cool with them off the court as well as on the court."

Walker is considered to be the best player in the Class of 2017 and has been turning heads on the AAU circuit for years. The buzz started before she was even in high school.

"Probably eighth grade year when I played 15U with Boo Williams and it just started clicking and the colleges started recruiting me and I realize them it was going to be something," Walker said.

It will really starting being something in September when the coaches start calling. Walker has been proactive and with just the four schools in contention, her phone shouldn't be blowing up that much.

Walker has handled the recruiting process in a manner which has keep things from getting overwhelming.

"It has been fun," Walker said. :I have been enjoying it and taking it slowly. I just want to have fun my senior year and not be worrying about anything.

"It's been great, if you get the chance take your visits and get to meet all the great people."

Walker won't be concerned herself too much with the recruiting process during the summer since she'll be kind of busy.

If playing in high-profile AAU events with the powerful Boo Williams program isn't enough, she has become a regular visitor to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in recent weeks.

Walker was named the MVP of the U.S. 3x3 18-and-under tournament helping the star-studded Takeover squad to the title. Teaming with Cal incoming freshman Jaelyn Brown, TCU signee Amber Ramirez and Sidney Cooks to earn a spot in the upcoming FIBA Women's 3x3 U18 World Championship in Kazakhstan.

USA Basketball typically hand picked a team to take part in the national championships so there is a strong representative competing internationally. If there is a team able to topple the one put together by USA Basketball, more power to them but normally, the hand-picked squad is the one advancing on. That is the case this time. While the other teams are put together with players who know each other, Walker admitted that she didn't know much about her teammates when they first got together.

"At first we didn't get the concept in practice but once we got it, we started winning, starting learning how to play together and how to feed off of each other," Walker said.

So what was the biggest challenging playing 3x3 compared to a normal 5 on 5 event?

"The extra cuts, the extra passes and knowing the difference between a good shot and a bad shot," Walker said. "It was a great feeling, we were ready to compete and represent the U.S. team."

The quartet came back to Colorado earlier this month for a training camp. Walker flew home and less than a week later she was on another plane bound for Colorado Springs for the U-18 national team trials.

The trials run until tomorrow when the team is announced but Walker, Cooks and Ramirez had to leave earlier today to fly to Kazakhstan for the 3x3 world championships. That meant that she had only one day to show what she was capable of in order to make the U18 team competing in the FIBA Americas U18 World Championship for Women.

"I came in here ready to go," Walker said. "I want to make a good first impression. I feel like I was in good shape for the first session."

The 3x3 tournament begins on Wednesday while the U.S. opens pool play on Thursday with games against Netherlands and Poland before wrapping up preliminary round play on Saturday against Kazakhstan and Italy. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game are set for a week from today. I believe there will be live streams of the event so I would check the USA Basketball site or Twitter account for more information on that.

The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will be played from July 13-17 in Chile.

ESPINOZA-HUNTER STILL ALIVE TO MAKE U17 TEAM
USA Basketball posted its most recent cut as the field of players competing for the 12 roster spots went from 139 to 101 to 73 and now 41.

UConn Class of 2017 commit Andra Espinoza-Hunter is still in contention to make the team but fellow UConn commit Lexi Gordon did not survive the third cut neither did UConn Class of '17 recruiting target Mikalya Coombs.

The team will be announced tomorrow morning.

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