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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, May 19, 2017

UConn recruiting target Christyn Williams relishing challenges at U19 trials

UConn recruiting target Christyn Williams in action during U.S. U-19
trials at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado
(photo courtesy of Jenny Johnston/USA Basketball)
It would be easy to excuse the youngest player in Colorado Springs for the U.S. U-19 national team trials to be a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all.

A total of 23 of the 33 vying to be a member of the 12-member team playing in the FIBA U19 Women's World Cup have already played a year of college ball. However, highly-touted high school senior to be Christyn Williams is no stranger at the concept of playing against older players since it is something she has done countless times in AAU ball.

"I feel like the first couple of drills, I've noticed that I can keep up with them so I can (look ahead) to my freshman year of college and how I am going to do," Williams said in a phone interview after Friday's second practice session. "I really have an advantage because I compete with some of my potential teammates or people I'll play in college. It has given me a big head's up.

"I've always played against people two or three years older than me so that is why it is so weird in AAU now because we are in the old group and I am not used to it. Everybody I am playing against is either my age or younger. It hasn't been much of a change because I have been playing up a lot."
The 5-foot-11 Williams has cut her list to a final five of Baylor, Notre Dame, Tennessee, UCLA and UConn.

Tennessee is represented at the trials by incoming freshman Evina Westbrook. UConn guard Crystal Dangerfield is in Colorado as are signees Mikayla Coombs and Megan Walker and Class of 2018 UConn commit Charli Collier.

"A lot of the girls will be there on my official visits so when I get on campus, I will know them already," Williams said. "It's been pretty cool being able to play with them to see how we play together."

I'll refrain from asking Dangerfield, Coombs and Walker to comment on Williams since it could be viewed as an NCAA violation since all are part of the UConn program and Williams is an uncommitted recruit.

Williams, the two-time Gatorade state player of the year in Arkansas, is a dynamic offensive player who averaged 26.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.4 steals per game as a junior at Central Arkansas Christian. There is another aspect of her multi-faceted game she is looking to show off at the trials.

"My defensive showing that I can guard off the ball and on the ball because they know that I can score from previous USA Basketball experiences," Williams said.

That scoring prowess was on display last summer as Williams was the second-leading scorer and had a team-high 10 3-pointers for the U.S. team which earned the bronze medal in the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women. She had 20 points in a hard-earned 59-55 win over Italy and 17 points in a 56-45 victory over France in the quarterfinals.

Williams figures to be busy in September and October taking her five officials visits before making her decision "before the high school season starts next year. People say that recruiting process is stressful but it's been pretty fun with me. I am just enjoying it."

I haven't seen Central Arkansas Christian's schedule for the upcoming season but the team opened the 2016-17 season on Nov. 15.

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