Tuesday was the first day that Geno Auriemma was able to speak about three of his four recruits in the Class of 2014 – guards Courtney Ekmark, Sadie Edwards and Gabby Williams.
He can’t say anything about Kia Nurse until her paperwork is verified by the school’s compliance office:
“Getting the players we have gotten is perfect for us, considering how our roster has shaken out at guard, and will continue to, over the next few years,” said Auriemma. “We lost Caroline Doty and Kelly Faris, next year we lose Bria Hartley and eventually Moriah Jefferson [after the 2015-16] season.
“This class addresses an immediate need that we have. We do have other needs. But if the way this group players compliments what they do, as individuals, and what we do as a group, it’s going to be great. And not one of them is identical to the other, which is something we try to stay away from. We don’t want to recruit similar players; that’s when you run into problems.”
Auriemma thinks its possible that any of the three (not including Nurse, at this juncture) could wind up doing what Faris and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis have done recently – play some small or power forward in certain lineups.
“I don’t think Kelly or Kaleena came out of high schools as anything but guards,” said Auriemma. “The fact that Courtney and Gabby are 6 feet means there is no reason either of them couldn’t eventually do the same of us as those players once did. The way we use our players is, it might look like a mismatch, but I always feel like it’s a mismatch in our favor.
Williams [Nevada], Ekmark [Arizona] and Nurse [Ontario, Canada] are the latest examples of UConn’s recruiting reach. The player they still want for the Class of 2014, forward A’ja Wilson [South Carolina] would just balance out the map. Edwards is from Meriden.
“The area you recruit from often has to do with the level your program has reached,” said Auriemma. “It [recruiting] used to be determined by wherever the staff could drive too in a reasonable amount of time. We made a decision that the Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh triangle could be expanded upon. We figured the kids we used to recruit might not know us, but knew who were played against [in the old Big East]. We weren’t on TV. There wasn’t much else we could do. But once we started getting on television, and had the level of success, we knew it would mean getting kids from all over America and other countries [Svetlana Abrosimova from Russia]. They were all watching us play.”