When senior Kelly Faris came to UConn in 2009 she was the only freshman in her recruiting class.
And now when she leaves after this season, she will be replaced on the Huskies’ roster by another one-player class, guard Saniya Chong of Ossining (N.Y.) High.
The Huskies received Chong’s verbal agreement on Oct. 14, the morning of their first practice. And her official Letter of Intent rolled into the basketball office on Wednesday.
So ends the recruiting season for the No. 2 Huskies. As usual, they pursued many of the nation’s top seniors, but were turned away by players like guard Diamond DeShields (North Carolina), forward Taya Reimer (Notre Dame) and forward Erica McCall (Stanford).
Chong is ranked No. 75 in the class by ESPN’s Hoop Gurlz. DeShields (No. 3), Reimer (No. 4) and McCall (No. 11) are all highly regarded in the rankings.
As often happens in recruiting, cycles ebb and flow. And coming off one of the most successful recruiting classes in program history – center Breanna Stewart, forward Morgan Tuck and guard Moriah Jefferson – UConn’s roster now features six players who are either freshmen and sophomores.
The log jam that creates for playing time is often foremost in the minds of recruits.
What’s also clear is that small UConn classes are usually followed by big ones.
The year after Faris arrived, UConn brought in five players – Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Samarie Walker, Lauren Engeln and Michala Johnson – to help compensate for the loss of Tina Charles, Kalana Greene, Kaili McLaren, Jacquie Fernandes and Meghan Gardler.
Now the focus turns to what’s considered an exception Class of 2014, which step in when Dolson and Hartley graduate. Walker, Engeln and Johnson all transferred before this season.
The Huskies already have a verbal commitment from Arizona guard Courtney Ekmark and are highly involved with many other Top 20 recruits like forwards Sierra Calhoun of Christ the King (sister of UConn men freshman Omar Calhoun), guards Jordin Canada of California and Recee’ Caldwell of Texas and center Aj’a Wilson of South Carolina.