Just off the phone with Blair Academy coach Quint Clarke as he was about to board a flight.
To say that he loves coaching junior Sadie Edwards, who has offered UConn her verbal commitment for 2014, would be a fast understatement.
“She is extremely smart and not only about basketball. She can be much more than a basketball player if she aspires to do so,” Clarke said. “But she studies the game. She loves talking about basketball. He knows about the teams we’ve played, the strategy we’ve developed and how to get herself into positions to improve herself at a very high level for a 16-year-old.
“She’s a very out-going, personable young woman. combined with being a great athlete. She’s been able to put it all together and that’s fairly apparent because of UConn’s interest in her. She will be a tremendous player for them and likely will be a coach someday.
“In terms of growing up in Connecticut [Meriden] and playing for UConn, well, she will be as well-prepared as she can for it. I don’t think there is any way you can prepare yourself to play at there. People are already telling her that it’s more challenging than she even expects it will be. And she has a handle on it, having grown up in Connecticut. But she is a hard-working kid who really wants to improve and this will re-double those efforts. She wanted to get to UConn; it’s been the goal for much of her life. And now that she is there she is committed to working even harder.
“She knows the coaching staff can be tough on freshmen. She knows how demanding they are, how difficult it will be to earn playing time. But until you are in the environment, you really can’t understand what it is like.
She is a natural leader. She wants to bring people together. She is all about the team. As she progresses through the program, her inclination will be to lead her teammates. She will do whatever she can to earn the respect of her coaches and teammates.
She is a big guard [5-10] who always played wing. She very strong. We may move her to the point this year. She is a great ball-handler with a natural feel for the game. She almost un-guardable one-on-one. It’s not so much her first step as her innate ability to react to what her defender is doing. She can penetrate and is a gifted passer, a player who loves to pass.
She can play off the ball because she has a strong mid-range game and pull-up jumper. And he is a great defender, as well.”