PHILADELPHIA -- Napheesa Collier was a member of the American Athletic Conference all-freshman team a season ago and helped the University of Connecticut women's basketball team to a perfect record and its fourth consecutive national championship.
Now, the Huskies and the rest of the country we'll see what she can do when she's 100 percent healthy.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore forward from St. Peters, Missouri, is six months removed from surgery for a torn labrum in her right hip. Not only is UConn expecting big things from her, but so are the AAC coaches who named her to the preseason all-league second team that was announced at Monday's annual media day.
"I feel good; it's totally healed," Collier said. "I don't do rehab anymore. I'd been dealing with it for quite awhile and that I did the work to get it healed feels really good.
"I feel more confident. I can move more freely and not worry about it hurting."
That Collier was hurting at all was one of the Huskies' best-kept secrets.
She played in all 38 of UConn's games with nine starts as a rookie. In 17.2 minutes per game, she averaged 6.8 points on 53.3 percent shooting from the floor, 91.7 percent shooting from the foul line and 5.2 rebounds. Her 1.2 blocked shots ranked sixth in the AAC.
Collier averaged 8.3 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the floor, 4.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots in six NCAA tournament games. She matched her season high with 14 points against Robert Morris in the first round. In the championship game against Syracuse in Indianapolis, she had six points -- including two baskets to stymie an Orange rally late in the third quarter -- and five rebounds off the bench of an 82-51 win that gave the Huskies their record 11th national title.
Seventeen days later, she had surgery at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, that Dr. Michael Joyce performed.
"It was more off the court that it was a bother," Collier said. "Like, if I would lie down in bed a certain way it would hurt. I'm just so glad I don't have to deal with that anymore."
After playing AAU summer ball through high school and winning gold medals with USA Basketball during the summers of 2014 and 2015, Collier spent most of this past summer on the sidelines.
"Sometimes not doing a lot during the summer is not a bad thing," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.
Collier got back on the court in August and was cleared for full activity in September. She took part in almost all of the Huskies' preseason workouts and was ready to go when practice began officially two weeks ago.
She comes in with something to prove.
"I'm trying to add more of an outside game than I had last year," Collier said. "And I'm trying just to be a more confident player now that I know what to expect.
"Everyone needs to step up their game. We lost such great players from last year that we need to take that extra step. Personally, I need to work on my communication skills. I was a freshman and I really didn't know what was going on. Now I have to help the younger guys because they're going through it for the first time. Every single thing for me was new last year and now I know what the freshmen are going through."
Collier scored in double figures 12 times last season, including her only double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds in a win at Cincinnati.
She showed last year that she had a knack of being in the right place at the right time -- her teammates called her a "ball magnet" -- and the ability to make things happen at both ends of the floor. Without All-Americans Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck on the front line, Collier has an opportunity to make her presence there felt.
"Pheesa is trying to, in her own words, be consistently good," Auriemma said. "There were times last year she was great and there were times she said, 'Coach, I know you couldn't put me in the game because I wasn't sure of myself. I want to be consistent and have you be able to count on me every night.' She has the ability to impact the game from a lot of different spots on the floor."
UConn will be tested early with its first game at Florida State on Nov. 14 followed by its home opener against Baylor three days later. Both the Seminoles and Bears could be in the top 10 when the Associated Press preseason poll is released Nov. 1.
"We're not talking about them like there's a sense of urgency about them, but we do go through each practice like we're about to play a big game," Collier said. "It's not like, 'Oh, we're playing a good team so let's practice hard.' We practice hard every day for every game. But playing those kind of games gives you a feeling of excitement."
And a healthy Collier is feeling good about what's ahead.