UConn added a fourth player to the Class of 2014 Monday when Kia Nurse, a 6-0 guard from Hamilton, Ontario, agreed to join the program.
“Go Huskies,” Nurse tweeted in announcing her decision Monday afternoon.
Nurse gives the No. 1 UConn four big guards in next season’s freshman class, joining Arizona’s Courtney Ekmark, Nevada’s Gabby Williams and Sadie Edwards of Meriden, who began her high school career at Mercy of Middletown and now plays for Blair Academy in New Jersey.
Ekmark, Williams and Edwards all committed to the program last year when they were juniors.
Nurse attended Sunday’s game at Penn State and was standing in the back of the media room during postgame press conferences for both teams.
The Lady Lions and Huskies were her final two schools, although Indiana was still in the running at the end. Nurse had cancelled scheduled visits to Kentucky and Tennessee.
Nurse also visited UConn as late as earlier this month and from all indications that is when she grew to really love the program.
The Huskies (4-0), who play Oregon Wednesday at the XL Center, are still waiting to hear from 6-4 center/forward A’ja Wilson of South Carolina, considered the top unsigned player in the United States. Wilson reportedly is deciding between South Carolina and UConn. The end of the fall signing period is Wednesday.
Nurse, the youngest member of the Canadian National Team, is the niece of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb and his wife, Raquel, a former Syracuse basketball player. Nurse helped Canada earn a silver medal at the FIBA Americas World Championships in Xalapa, Mexico.
Nurse’s brother, Darnell, a 6-4 defenseman, was a first-round draft pick of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and is still playing junior hockey in Canada.
Oilers in the first round.
“Congrats to my sister on her commitment to,” Darnell Nurse tweeted Monday. “I could not be more happy and proud for her as she pursues her dreams!”
Nurse, 17, took over the point for the Canadian national team upon the retirement of veteran Teresa Gabriele, the Sue Bird of her nation. And despite her youth, Nurse played well.
“She is the real deal,” Canadian national team coach LisaThomaidis said during the tournament
Auriemma and his staff pushed hard to Nurse, going to Canada for an in-home visit. Auriemma then went to Mexico to watch her play in the FIBA Tournament.
Conceivably now, when the United States defends its gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Auriemma could at some point be coaching against his own point guard since Nurse would have just completed her junior season at UConn.
Her father, Richard, played in the Canadian Football League. And McNabb was also a basketball player who was reserve on Syracuse’s basketball teams in 1995-96.
Kia Nurse says that McNabb has helped me many times with her basketball skills. And now he will get the chance to watch her play at the highest level in collegiate sports.