STORRS, Connecticut – The UConn women’s basketball team will welcome four freshmen next season as head coach Geno Auriemma announced Wednesday the signing lesson of the 2023 program.
UConn’s incoming class includes 5-foot 9 KK point guard Arnold, 6-foot 4 center Jana El Alfy, 6-foot 2-foot Qadence Samuels, and 5-foot 10-foot shooting guard Ashlynn Shade.
“We are as excited as possible about our class,” Auriemma said. “There were needs that we felt we had to address and we feel we had addressed each of them. We wanted to be faster in the backcourt, we wanted to stretch on the wing, we wanted to physically get a little harder and we wanted to add more athleticism and skill. up front I think we’ve accomplished all of these things.
“More importantly though, every member of this class really expressed an interest in coming here. They kept basketball at the forefront of why they wanted to be here. They kept coming back to I want to play basketball at UConn, I want to go. at UConn because I think that’s where I can reach my full potential. We feel like we’re forming a great group and they all come here for the right reasons. “
KAMOREA “KK” ARNOLD
PG, 5-9, Germantown, Wis., Germantown High School
Arnold is ESPN’s # 6 rookie in the 2023 class and second-ranked playmaker. She comes to UConn with extensive basketball experience in the United States. She was a member of the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, helping the team to gold. Arnold also represented Team USA at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup, helping the team take home gold for the third consecutive year.
As a junior last season, Arnold averaged 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 4.4 steals per game, leading Germantown to the Greater Metro Conference championship. Arnold was a two-time Associated Press Wisconsin State Player of the Year and a two-time Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year.
Geno Auriemma about KK Arnold:
“KK is probably the first point guard after Moriah [Jefferson] who plays at that pace and is a little louder. She can push the pace for us. Watching her play this summer, it was particularly evident how aggressive she was entering the lane and how defensive she was disruptive. She is an exceptional leader and her teammates respond to her leadership. We think of all the point guards who are coming out of high school, he suits us better than anyone else. “
JANA El ALFY
C, 6-4, Cairo Egypt, Al Ahly Sporting Club
El Alfy will be UConn’s first Egyptian player. She has represented Egypt in FIBA competitions three times, including the 2021 FIBA U16 African Championship, the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup and the 2022 FIBA U18 African Women’s Championship. At the 2022 African U18 Championship, El Alfy led the tournament with 24.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, taking Egypt to silver.
She has been on the NBA Academy women’s program since 2019, including current UConn players Aaliyah Edwards and Nika Mühl.
Geno Auriemma about Jana El Alfy:
“I think Jana’s skills are skills that translate well into the way basketball is played today. She’s a big girl, athletic and can play on the perimeter. She can score, she can bounce. She played a lot of basketball growing up. Her father. He is the national team coach, so he really understands the game. Everyone understands where Jana wants to go and what Jana wants to be. She wants to set an example for all girls not only in Egypt but across Africa. “
SAMUEL OF QADENCE
W, 6-2, Forestville, Md., Bishop McNamara High School
Samuels is the No. 41 player on ESPN. He led Bishop McNamara High School to an appearance in a state championship game last season. Samuels averaged 13.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season. Samuels plays AAU for Team Takeover.
Geno Auriemma about Qadence Samuels:
“Qadence responds to our desire to get more athletic, to get longer. She is one of those girls who is deceptively competitive. When you look at her on the pitch, you just think she is fluid and skilled. But she has this advantage for her that she is really dynamic. . I think she is one of the best shooters to come out of this class. She is a really impressive shooter and is not averse to mixing things up and wants to make big shots. Qadence is an exceptional teammate and comes from a family with many players who have competed at the university level. He understands exactly what it is. “
SG, 5-10, Noblesville, Ind., La Lumière
Shade is ESPN’s # 15 player. As a junior, he averages 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.9 steals per game. Shade took Noblesville High School to the state championship last season, scoring 31 points in the game for the title.
Shade scored 1,698 points, 606 rebounds, 282 assists, 314 steals and 17 blocks in 78 high school games. She was named Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year 2022.
Geno Auriemma about Ashlynn Shade:
“When I talk about getting tougher, getting physically harder and getting more athletic, I don’t think there’s anyone like Ashlynn who is physically stronger and who is so athletic and has that kind of midrange and is so competitive in defense. in Ashlynn we “We’re getting the definition of a good old school basketball player. You can’t even pigeonhole her in one position, you can just say she’s a really good basketball player. “