Moriah Jefferson commits to UConn
Moriah Jefferson is ready to spread her wings and that means the home-schooled superstar from Glenn Heights, Texas, was committing to an out-of-state school.
The No. 2 player in the class of 2012, according to ESPN HoopGurlz, verbally committed to Connecticut Thursday.
"I'm just ready for something new," Jefferson said. "I've been in Texas all my life."
Jefferson picked the Huskies over Baylor and Texas A&M, which won its first NCAA championship this year.
Part of the reason Jefferson, a 5-foot-7 point guard, feels comfortable about leaving Texas is her familiarity with her future teammates.
"I think it's just the people," Jefferson said. "Me, I'm close with Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] and Breanna [Stewart] from USA Basketball and I think that was a big factor. I feel like I just fit there."
Jefferson participated in the USA Basketball U16 and U17 national team trials the past two summers. She got to know Mosqueda-Lewis, a 6-0 wing from Anaheim, Calif., and Stewart, a 6-4 forward from Syracuse, N.Y. The two are ranked No. 1 in their respective classes by ESPN HoopGurlz, Mosqueda-Lewis in 2011 and Stewart in 2012.
The trust in her future teammates will be important as Jefferson knows the high expectations of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma.
"I'm actually looking forward to it," Jefferson said of her future coach's demanding style. "I like stuff like that. I don't like people making things light on me. He's going to push my buttons and make me feel uncomfortable and take me to the next level of my game."
Connecticut has had a ton of success signing top-ranked players and top-ranked classes, but signing both Nos. 1 and 2 is a first, even for Auriemma. Jefferson and Stewart are no strangers as opponents. The two players led their respective teams to the championship of the Boo Williams Nike Invitational a few weeks ago. Jefferson's DFW T-Jack Elite team topped Stewart's Philly Belles.
There is a chance the two could be teammates before reaching Storrs. Both will try out for the USA Basketball U19 national team later this month. They will be joined by current Husky freshmen Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, 2011 signees Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar High School), and fellow 2012 verbal commit Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook, Ill.).
Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.