Moriah Jefferson has no idea why she chose Thursday as the day to end the recruiting process. She has known for some time where she wanted to play college basketball. But now that the process is complete she is relieved.
Jefferson, a 5-foot-7 junior point guard from Glenn Heights, Texas, gave an oral commitment to play for UConn. She spoke directly with Huskies’ coach Geno Auriemma, choosing UConn over Baylor.
“I prayed about it a lot and today I hadn’t thought about it until the second that I decided to call him,’’ Jefferson said. “I guess it was God telling me to do what he was telling me to do. It’s a big relief. I have nothing on my mind now but school and basketball. So I’m not focusing on anything else but that.’’
Jefferson, who is rated No. 2 in the Class of 2012 by ESPN HoopGurlz, becomes the third player from the class to orally commit to UConn. She joins Breanna Stewart, a 6-4 forward from North Syracuse, N.Y. who is regarded as the top player in the class, and Morgan Tuck, a 6-2 forward from Bolingbrook, Ill.
Jefferson will join current UConn freshmen Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, incoming freshmen Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes, Stewart and Tuck at the USA Basketball U-19 World Championship Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 22-25.
“UConn is getting a jewel,’’ DFW Elite AAU coach Daryl Horton said. “It doesn’t get too much better than Moriah. And she’s just as good of a kid as she is a ballplayer. She’s a special player. She’s going to do something every day that’s going to make you guys go, `My God, how did she do that?’’’
Jefferson twice traveled to Connecticut in the span of just over a month this fall. She attended the exhibition game between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Australia at the XL Center Sept. 10 before returning to attend First Night festivities at Gampel Pavilion Oct. 15.
By the time Jefferson left campus Oct. 16, she held a solid idea as to where she was going to play at the next level.
“I went there and it just clicked automatically,’’ Jefferson said. “I think that UConn really fits me well … the coaching staff and all the players. It was the attitude of everybody. UConn’s a great program and they’ve won a lot. But they didn’t have an attitude about it and they weren’t cocky. And I liked that a lot.’’
Jefferson, who is homeschooled, help lead the Texas Home Educators’ Sports Association to its fifth straight National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships title this season. She was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“She is a complete player,’’ Horton said. “She can defend. She’s a good 3-point shooter. She’s just a playmaker. She’s a difference maker. She’s going to be an impact player from Day 1. From the time she steps on campus, she’s going to be an impact player because that’s how hard she works. And the best thing as a coach that I can say about Mo is that nobody will outwork her. As talented as she is nobody outworks her. Nobody.’’