Like Shea Ralph, Geno Auriemma is naturally very excited about Saniya Chong, the only member of his Class of 2013.
“I don’t know how to describe her, really,’’ Auriemma said. “She just puts points on the board. She’s just one of these kids that scores. I watch her sometimes and at the end of a half I’ll just say to somebody, `How many did she have?’ And they’ll tell me and I’ll say `That’s impossible.’ She’s fast. She can handle the ball.
“She’s a tough kid. And she scores. And she likes to pass the ball. She’s unusual for kids who score that many points. She reminds me a little bit of Shea. She’s not as big and strong as Shea, but Shea wasn’t that big and strong either when she came in. She reminds me of Shea, except that Saniya shoots the ball from the perimeter better than Shea did. Shea wasn’t a 3-point shooter when she came out of high school.
“But she reminds me a little bit of Shea in that she just scores points in a lot of ways. She gets to the free throw line a lot. She’s a little bit better passer than Shea. Although that’s hard to say because I never did see Shea pass the ball in high school. I just like her. She’s a nice kid and the kind of kid that will be successful here at Connecticut.’’
Chong has already scored 2,060 points with 473 assists and 362 steals. She averaged 33.3 points, 9.7 assists and 5.0 steals last season for Ossining, which was to 23-1.
“We knew going in that it wasn’t going to be one of those recruiting classes like we had last year,’’ Auriemma said. “But what’s better … one player that you know is going to play 30 minutes maybe or five players and only two of them are going to play. With the advent of practice players, and the fact we’ve got such a good history here with them, I don’t really worry about how many people are on our roster.
“The danger with a program like ours is that everyone thinks you should have 15 players. There’s coaches that think you should have 15 players to offset injuries. Tell me how you’re going to get 15 players to stay happy, especially when the first five are all first-team All-Americans and some are national Players of the Year.
“Do you really think the bottom five are going to be at that level? Probably not. So you’re better off not having them. We’re going to have a pretty good recruiting class next year.’’