STORRS, Conn. - In six months, the best point guard in women's college basketball will leave the University of Connecticut. A few weeks after that, the best point guard in high school girls basketball will arrive on the Huskies' campus.
The comparisons began even before Crystal Dangerfield made her oral commitment to attend UConn in October 2014. The 5-foot-5 senior guard from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, made it official Wednesday when she signed her letter of intent at a ceremony at Blackman High School.
So is Dangerfield the next Moriah Jefferson?
"No, she's Crystal," Jefferson said. "She's going to come here and she's going to put her own stamp on the program. She works really hard and she has a lot of the qualities a UConn point guard is supposed to have.
"It's the way that she leads her team. She's out there and confident in herself. She defends. She's loud. She's always bringing energy to the court. Those are things that are very important when you come to play here."
Dangerfield is rated as the top guard and the No. 3 recruit overall in the Class of 2016 by ESPN HoopGurlz. In her three seasons, she has led Blackman to a 92-8 record and the 2014 and 2015 Tennessee state 3A championships, compiling 1,468 points, 351 rebounds, 358 assist and 286 steals.
She was named the Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year and the Tennessee state tournament MVP as a sophomore and junior, as well as the District 7-AAA Player of the Year both seasons. She averaged 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.5 steals as a junior as Blackman (32-2) successfully defended its state, district, and regional titles.
Dangerfield also has two gold medals playing for USA Basketball. She was a teammate of UConn freshmen Katie Lou Samuelson and De'Janae Boykin on the 2013 U-16 team that won gold at the FIBA Americas Championship in Cancun, Mexico, averaging 7.0 points, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals in five games. Last summer, she was a teammate of UConn freshman Napheesa Collier on the 2015 U-19 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-19 world championships in Chekhov, Russia, averaging 6.4 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in seven games.
Jefferson got the chance to watch Dangerfield play at the U-19 trials in Colorado Springs last May while Jefferson was taking part in the Pan American Games/World University Games trials at the United States Olympic Training Center.
"I loved the way that she gets to the rim," Jefferson said. "It's crazy to watch somebody as fast as she is with the ball. And she's really strong, too, so she can knock you out of the way and take contact and get to the cup."
Of course, the two spoke and Jefferson tried to let Dangerfield - who is part of UConn's class that includes Kyla Irwin and Molly Bent - know what she'll be getting into playing for Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma.
"I told her that when she does get here to not really worry about every little thing," Jefferson said. "She'll have Kia Nurse here, and Kia will have her back. Crystal needs to come here and just make plays. Once she learns that, once she learns what the coaches want from her, she's going to be fine and she'll fit right in."
Though her letter of intent has been signed, sealed, and delivered to UConn, Dangerfield has another decision to make.
Dangerfield wears No. 32 at Blackman High, in part because it was Jefferson's number with the THESA Raiders. Dangerfield and Jefferson both wear No. 4 with USA Basketball. Of note, Heather Buck had No. 32 when Jefferson came to UConn and the Glenn Heights, Texas, native took No. 4 here and decided to keep it after the Huskies won the 2013 national championship.
So, should Dangerfield keep wearing No. 32 - which is available - or Jefferson's No. 4.
"I don't know," Jefferson said with a laugh. "You have to ask Crystal that question."
AAC tournament tickets
All-session ticket packages for the 2016 American Athletic Conference tournament to be held March 4-7 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.
A package includes admission to all 10 games over the four days of competition and costs $99.
Tickets may be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and will be available through the ticket offices of all 11 AAC schools. Tickets may also be purchased online, at http://www.MoheganSun.com or http://www.Ticketmaster.com, or by telephone at 800-745-3000. Information on discounts for groups of 10 or more people is available through the Connecticut Sun Group Sales Department at 860-862-4000.
All 11 AAC teams will compete in the event. UConn is the two-time defending tournament champion.