Since the Geno Auriemma era has begun, the Connecticut Huskies have been as famous a basketball program in the country as there is. The legendary coach is now hoping Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa are next in line to help continue this annual tradition of UConn greatness.
A dominating program since Auriemma became the head coach, UConn has been developing stars left and right since 1985.
The names that have come through the program are synonymous with college basketball royalty. Rebecca Lobo, Nykesha Sales, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and so on. All of these names have become household stars.
The connection? They all started right there in Storrs, Connecticut.
Now Auriemma has added two more perennial high school stars to his current staple of players.
Christyn Williams is the consensus number one girls high school player in the country. Like many great prospects, she is committed to UConn for the 2018-2019 season.
From Little Rock, Arkansas, the 5-foot-11 guard from Central Arkansas Christian School is very strong at finishing around the basket and has a great jump shot from both the mid-range and beyond the arc. Out in the open floor and in the half court, Williams is a talented decision maker and will be a great addition to the Connecticut rotation.
Auriemma, at least from outside observers, can be a bit of a wold cards from an outsider’s perspective. Known as a guy who will buck the system just for the sake of it, new players could have concerns when entering his famed program.
That’s not exactly his relationship with players, however.
Speaking to ESPNW’s Walter Villa, Williams stated on meeting Coach Auriemma “I thought he was scary before I met him. I thought he was going to be intimidating, but he is the opposite. He’s a fun guy. I love listening to his stories.”
And how exactly did Geno Auriemma, famed for his ability to consistently land the best players in the nation, convince Williams to attend UConn? By boasting his program’s legacy and coupling that with Williams’ potential as a player.
“He said I had the potential to be legendary,” Williams said. “Obviously, Coach A knows what he’s doing. Look at everything they’ve done. I want to be a part of it, too. I want to be legendary one day.”
Williams is not the only player to commit to UConn for the upcoming season. That’s not how Coach Auriemma operates when its time to reload on talent to go for another championship.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa also to the Huskies back in 2017. The 6-foot-4 post player is the fifth ranked player in the entire country out. Coming out of Window-Barrow High School, she’s is a dynamic athlete who is a great rebounder and a skilled shot blocker. Offensively, Nelson-Ododa is a talented scorer on the block and can step out for the mid-range jumpers.
“They have a legendary program,” said Nelson-Ododa, speaking to Susie Arth of ESPNW. “And I felt like I could really get a balance of athletics and academics.”
The two McDonald’s High School All Americans will be essential assets to UConn. They should add to that vaunted rotation that’s looking to give Geno Auriemma his 12th national championship.
The Huskies already bolstered a talented roster that includes Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier. Adding two talented players in Williams and Nelson-Ododa only means they will have more to work with for the 2018-2019 season. UConn has always found ways to stay in the national spotlight and this season should be no different.