Nicole Wolff ...On The Court
UConn-bound recruit Nicole Wolff led her Walpole HS basketball team to a MASS div-2 South semi-final victory over King Phillip on 3-7-02. It was the only opportunity I had to see her, after missing a few chances last season, and then earlier this season. I'm glad I did. She showed the tremendous potential that others have raved about. Her next 4 years at UConn should be a great experience for her... and fun for us fans. She looks and moves like the talented athlete she is... very graceful; reminding me a lot of Svetlana... and that's quite high praise from me. Although it may take a few months and a few dozen games for Nicole and her fellow freshman class-mates to fully absorb the plays, assignments, and options of a new system -- when they do... look out!
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Now, lets get on with the show...
Warm-up's can't tell you much about how a game will play out,
A classic jump shot with smooth release... really pretty. A lot of girls shoot an unconventional shot because they don't have the arm and shoulder strength as young kids to use classic form. Although it matters little with final results... it's nice to see it done so beautifully. The fact that she's a lefty will only confuse her defenders a bit more.
Always cool and relaxed.
"AND HERE'S NICOLE"
How many point guards take the opening jump?
Nicole has the reputation of being a quiet, soft-spoken kid... but her basketball is "quiet" only in it's fast efficiency. But the thing that impresses me most about her is her academic achievements. Humble, talented, AND smart?
Looks like UConn coach Chris Dailey (that's her) moved from her original seat to across the court. She's no dummy -- the crowd just kept coming in during the whole game, making it VERY annoying for those of us interested in actually watching it! Besides getting me highly ticked-off, it meant many missed photos.
Although this game was not a classic like the one I saw the previous night with NFA, it was fun to watch the big, bad Wolff. King Phillip's (#10) point guard's mom went to NFA... small world.
Nicole can slice through traffic toward the basket like a hot knife through butter. Just like Svet. It's impossible to know how she'll be used next year, but she can handle the ball very well. It'll be a nice feeling for Geno knowing he has some more depth at that key position if he should need it. The UConn coaches will have fun learning the talents of so many good new players... and moving them around on the chessboard. Opposing coaches won't be having fun.
Double team? Nicole's 6-foot height and strong passing ability neutralized that in quick order. She can pass cross-court effortlessly. Nicole also gives opposing guards problems, because at 6-ft, she's hard to shoot over on defense. She shows solid fundamentals in her defensive position, and offensive movement.
Better keep your eye on her... this kid is going far.
At the top, the tears and agony of defeat for a senior's last game. The opposite for Walpole, although the coach inexplicably waited till under 30 seconds left to take Nicole out for some applause. The game was out of reach for most of the last quarter.
UConn fall all the way back to "just another pretty good team" after losing their great senior class? I don't think so. The vision of Diana Taurasi, Ann Strother and Nicole Wolff snappily passing the ball around the perimeter next year ...with each player's ability to shoot long, or take the ball toward the paint for a pull-up or a dish-off will make opposing coaches start drinking. Guarding any one would be a task.
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