They all waited for Charles to announce where she is going to college, but someone forgot to tell Charles, casual and unaffected by the set-up, how to begin."I'm going to leave it you," said head coach, Bob Mackey. "You can say whatever you want."Facing a one-on-15 fast break, Charles, one of the top juniors in the country, slipped, hesitated, and after a couple of seconds of awkward silence, went strong to the basket."I'm going to play basketball at UConn," she said at a press-conference Tuesday at Christ the King HS. "I've chosen to go to UConn."Most people already knew where she was going. From the moment she entered high school, she had only one school on her mind. Mackey said afterward that if she could have committed last year, she would have. Such was her infatuation with UConn's head coach Geno Auriemma and his program. Charles has until November to sign a letter of intent with the school."I don't know; there's something about the way he is," she said. "He has a cocky demeanor where he wants to win all the time. I'm like that a little bit, too. I love winning. I've been waiting a long time to be able to tell people that I'm going to UConn. Geno was the only coach who kept it real."Charles made her intentions official two weeks ago when she visited the Storrs campus, her fourth visit in two years, and informed a Hartford Courant reporter that she had settled on the school. It was a banner year for the Royals and Charles. The school from Middle Village defeated Murry Bergtraum in the state Federation championships and finished the year atop USA Today's Super-25 national rankings with a 27-0 record. Charles averaged 21.2 points and 13.8 rebounds a game, numbers that would have been gaudier if Christ the King hadn't blown out so many opponents. In only two years, Charles has 936 points. In deciding on UConn, Charles is following in the footsteps of Sue Bird, who played at Christ the King and UConn and now plays for the Seattle Storm in the WNBA."This year was special," Mackey said. "Tina has the potential to be one of the best players we've had here. She has the complete package: she can run and rebound and block shots. She's at home on the basketball court. She loves to work."
©2005 Community News Group
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