UConn Class of 2014 target Recee Caldwell, a 5-foot-8 guard from San Antonio, is not expecting to make her decision for several months. In talking with her parents, Ray and Alba, she said it likely will not come until sometime after the completion of the Claudia Taylor Johnson High School basketball season this winter.
Also, a list of Caldwell’s top schools is not likely to be finalized until mid-December. However, the look on her face Saturday following a win over Hightower in the semifinals of the Fort Bend Varsity Girls Basketball Tournament in Houston spoke volumes about where UConn stands in the process.
Her face genuinely lit up when she was asked about the experience she had during her unofficial visit to Storrs Oct. 25-27.
“I loved it,’’ Caldwell said. “It was a really nice visit. It wasn’t as cold as everyone said it was going to be. So I don’t know what everyone’s been saying. But it was a really good visit. I talked to Coach Auriemma. I talked to the whole coaching staff. The girls were really cool. It was a good experience.’’
Caldwell, who is regarded as a Top 10 player in the junior class, had breakfast with Auriemma and the UConn coaching staff. She went on a tour of the campus; met with an official from the Business School because she wants to major in business; attended practice; and ultimately saw how Huskies live by spending the night with the players, notably Caroline Doty, Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley.
Caldwell said it was important for her to visit UConn unofficially to take in what it is like on an ordinary day.
“On officials they can roll out the red carpet for you,’’ Caldwell said. “So you get to see all the great things about it. But at this visit unofficial it’s just how every day is. Of course, there’s like meetings and stuff that I wouldn’t get every day. But I saw practice. I got to see how the girls interacted with each other. It was just a regular day. So the red carpet wasn’t rolled out for me. Like they didn’t have, `OK, you’re going to meet …’ So it was just regular day.
“I was kind of surprised. It was very normal. It was a great practice. I wasn’t surprised at the practice. That’s what I thought it was going to be. But all their girls were chill.’’
Auriemma was in attendance Saturday night to watch Caldwell compete in the tournament championship game against Cy Ranch. Today, Caldwell will be in attendance as No. 2 UConn meets No. 16 Texas A&M game at Reed Arena.
Caldwell considers her strengths to be her leadership skills and her shooting ability. She averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.6 steals last season for CT Johnson.
Caldwell said that she has scholarship offers from all of the schools she wanted, including UConn. She has also visited Duke, UCLA, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Texas-San Antonio. But she admitted that she is taking the process slow after first orally committing to Baylor in August of 2011, just weeks after returning from winning the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship in Mexico, and then decommitting and reopening the recruiting process in November of 2011.
“We’re not making any mistakes any more,’’ Caldwell said. “It wasn’t very hard (decommitting from Baylor). I realized that I was young. I was going into my sophomore year. I just came back from Mexico. I thought I already had everything I wanted. But you realize you make mistakes and you move on. I think in this process you have to be selfish because this is where you’re going to be for four years and you have to be put in great positions for what you want to do after college. So it wasn’t very hard.’’
Here is what Caldwell is looking for in a college …
“I have to get along with the coach,’’ Caldwell said. “Just the right fit I believe. Just if I’m going to have a good experience there and what’s going to put me in the best position that I can be after college. So that’s what I’ve been looking for.’’
Caldwell is a Lakers fan living in the city where the Spurs call home. She does not have a Facebook account. She has a Twitter account solely for the purpose of interacting with college coaches.
“I can’t stand Twitter. I don’t have Facebook. I don’t like (social) media,’’ Caldwell said.
Lastly, Caldwell idolizes NBA Hall of Famer Ervin (Magic) Johnson and present stars Deron Williams and Stephen Curry.
“I’ve always watched Magic Johnson tapes and Deron Williams and Stephen Curry. Those three I really like,’’ Caldwell said. “Because Magic’s always been a big point guard. I’ve always been bigger than most point guards. So just the way he can pass. He can always take over a game when he wants to. And the exact same thing with Deron. He’s a big, a thicker point guard than a lot of people. And he can also pass. But I think he’s underrated in my opinion because he can do everything. That’s what I want to be like. And Stephen can just shoot the ball.’’