WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- De'Janae Boykin has been playing in pick-up games with her University of Connecticut teammates.
But the freshman forward is also playing catch-up six months after a fractured right wrist cost her most of her high school senior season.
"My wrist is healed," Boykin said Monday, "but I'm still trying to strengthen it and do as much as possible."
Boykin, classmates Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier, sophomore Gabby Williams, redshirt junior Morgan Tuck, and senior Moriah Jefferson spent part of Monday at Hartford Golf Club working at coach Geno Auriemma's "Fore the Kids" charity event that benefits the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
A 6-foot-2 forward from Springdale, Maryland, Boykin was the 2014 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year was limited to just six games as a senior at Charles H. Flowers High due to a fractured right wrist that needed surgery. Even with her limited action, she was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-America Game in Chicago and the Jordan Brand Classic in New York. She was also invited to USA Basketball's U-19 national team trials.
It was in Colorado Springs last month where Boykin, a three-time gold medalist in international play, realized that sitting out had caused her to fall behind. Her bid to make the U-19 team fell short.
"It kind of hit me at the U-19 trials I was and I still am playing catch-up," Boykin said. "But I'll be well soon."
Time is on her side.
And while Auriemma says she's not 100 percent yet, he has liked what he has seen from watching her play and her individual workouts.
"She's completely different than the other two freshmen in that some of the skills she has and some of the things she does are just very subtle," Auriemma said. "Sometimes Napheesa and Katie Lou are right out there in your face. But if you watch De'Janae closely, you see some of the subtle things she does that make her a really good player and allow her to contribute to winning."
Boykin's graduation ceremony was May 28 and she arrived in Storrs two days later. She's been trying to get a lot done during the short summer session at UConn.
"It's been interesting to be around everyone on the team instead of it being just me, Napheesa, and Katie Lou," Boykin said. "Being here has been fun. I'm working out and getting stronger, getting to know my teammates and coaches, and getting to know the campus."
Her work won't end when she goes home.
When September comes around, she doesn't want anything holding her back as the Huskies get ready to make a run at an unprecedented fourth straight national championship.
"I think that I'm working hard and staying motivated to improve," Boykin said. "I just want to improve every aspect of my game."