Katie Lou Samuelson, an agile 6-3 wing from Mater Dei High in Huntington Beach, Calif., – the school that produced Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis – said on her twitter page Monday that that she will play for UConn.
Samuelson, the newly appointed top player in her class by ESPN W HoopGurlz, chose the Huksies despite the fact her two sisters, Bonnie, a rising senior, and Karlie, a rising sophomore, play for Stanford. The Cardinal were also very interested in Katie Lou, as was Notre Dame.
She becomes the third high school player to join the Huskies Class of 2015, joining Napheesa Collier of St. Louis and Maryland’s De’Janae Boykin.
The class will also be joined in 2015-16 by 6-5 center Natalie Butler, the Big East freshman of the year last season at Georgetown, who transferred to UConn last week.
Samuelson is a long, agile perimeter performer; a an outstanding offensive threat with consistent range who is considered able to create her own shots off the dribble. Last season, she averaged 26.3 points and shot 62 percent from the field and 54 percent (81 of 151) from the three-point line. She is also an 89.4 percent free throw shooter.
Samuelson, the Gatorade Player of the Year in California, was named to the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 national team. She was also the Orange County Register Player of the Year and a first-team USA Today All-American.
Russ Davis, who coached former UConn guard Lauren Engeln in AAU with Cal Swish, also coached Samuelson her for years in the same program. And she played for Kevin Kiernan at Mater Dei, the same coach who helped develop Mosqueda-Lewis.
“She is a great kid, a great player,” Kiernan said. “UConn got another Mater Dei great!”
Samuelson made her official visit to UConn in April along with Collier , Boykin and Haley Gorecki of Palatine, Ill. Only Gorecki (Duke) did not eventually chose the Huskies.
Samuelson will try out this summer with Team USA’s U17 team, which is scheduled to play in the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in the Czech Republic, June 28-July 6. Tryouts are May 22-26 and training camp is scheduled for June 12-17 before the team departs for an exhibition tournament in France June 20-22.
Samuelson also averaged 9.8 rebounds for Mater Dei (27-3) last season. Mater Dei was eliminated from the state playoffs in the CIF Southern Section Open final by a team led by UCLA recruit Jordin Canada. But was also injured in that game, hyperextending her left elbow fighting for a rebound.
“She’s driven,” Davis told ESPNW of Katie Lou. “By the seventh or eighth grade, her shooting form was picture-perfect. Now she gets it off so quickly.
“All three girls are very competitive. Lou is just feisty. I never heard Karlie or Bonnie say they wanted to be the best in the country, but I’ve heard Lou say that. She knows she has ability, and she doesn’t want it to go to waste.”
The Huskies will now have eight players that are either sophomores of freshman on the 2015-16 team when Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson are seniors. Guards Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams, Sadie Edwards and Courtney Ekmark will join the team as freshman this season.