As we await Wednesday’s college announcement on ESPNU (3 p.m.) by South Carolina high school star A’ja Wilson, the top-ranked player in the Class of 2014, I thought you might be interested in this stream of consciousness from Coach Auriemma.
What you will read has no direct connection with Wilson, who will chose between UConn, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, In fact, the question was about having 15 No. 1 draft picks in WNBA history and what that means to the program.
But it’s clear UConn does not expect to get Wilson. The program is not getting the subtle messages that would indicate it is. If it does, it will be a happy surprise to them. Things that usually happen when a kid is intent on attending UConn have not transpired regularly enough in Wilson’s case. There hasn’t been a lot of chatter, let’s put it that way.
But the biggest indication may very well be the passage of time between her official visit last autumn and Wednesday’s announcement. Most kids that visit UConn quickly reach for the pen to sign. Some [like Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis] don’t even make official visits. Wilson’s recruitment has dragged on for months..
That said, UConn could use Wilson, would gladly welcome her, and she would play a large roll in getting back to the Final Four next season,
Now, as to the answer to the No. 1 draft pick question: Geno always says that it takes a certain kid, with a certain mindset to accept the challenge of playing for him. Read on:
“That’s why we win national championships. We have the best players in the country. I read that in the paper all the time, so it must be true,” Auriemma said. “As you can imagine, when kids come to college now they talk about wanting to play in the WNBA, if they can, as well as wanting to be an All-American or win a national championship. All the good stuff.
“The more players we have drafted in the first round, the more players see that, the more they want to come to UConn because they may feel they will have a great opportunity to be a first-round pick. But if I hear a kid say their biggest goal is to be a first-round draft pick, we are likely not going to recruit that kid. If you play great, become an All-American and win a national championship, its likely you will become a first-round pick. All those things go together.”