April 6, 2024 

What top prospect Sarah Strong’s commitment means for UConn

Strong chose UConn over Duke and North Carolina on Saturday morning

On Saturday, Sarah Strong, ESPN’s No. 1 recruit for the class of 2024 and the daughter of former WNBA player Allison Feaster, announced her college commitment. She signed a National Letter of Intent to play for UConn, choosing the Huskies over Duke and North Carolina.

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During halftime of the high school national championship game between Montverde and IMG Academy in Florida, Strong revealed a shirt showing the team she intends to play for in college. Her high school teammates from Grace Christian jumped for joy and huddled around her.

In her high school career with Grace Christian, Strong averaged 23.0 points, 16.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game and won back-to-back state championships. She received accolades including the Naismith Girls’ High School Player of the Year award and back-to-back North Carolina Player of the Year awards.

“Definitely just winning with my team, that’s been the most [important] to me,” the 6’2 forward said during an interview with ESPN. “I love these girls and just having them on my side through everything has really meant a lot for me.”

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Strong joins Allie Ziebell (ESPN’s No. 4 recruit) and Morgan Cheli (No. 18) in UConn’s 2024 class. She is the third No. 1 recruit to join the Huskies within the last five years, following Paige Bueckers (2020) and Azzi Fudd (2021). Additionally, 12 No. 1 recruits have chosen to play for the program since 1998, including Diana Taurasi (2000), Tina Charles (2006), Maya Moore (2007) and Breanna Stewart (2012).

“Their history of winning and just them producing WNBA players,” Strong said as reasons for choosing the Huskies. “I really want to go [to the] WNBA, so I would definitely get better and just grow as a person on and off the court there. And I want to be coached by [Geno Auriemma].”

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On Friday night, UConn lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Final Four. But next season, the team will bring back Bueckers and get players such as Fudd, Aubrey Griffin and Jana El Aify back from injuries.

Regarding NIL opportunities, Strong has signed with Wasserman, an agency based in California, and will join her teammate Bueckers.

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Both of Strong’s parents had remarkable basketball careers. Her father, Danny Strong, played basketball for NC State from 1995 to 1997 and professionally for 15 years. Since his retirement in 2012, he has been running The Strong Center, a nonprofit organization in North Carolina dedicated to training and helping young basketball and football players.

Strong’s mother, Feaster, was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks as the No. 5 overall pick in the 1998 WNBA Draft. She became the first player from the Ivy League to be drafted after playing for Harvard from 1994 to 1998. She was named Ivy League Player of the Year three times and First Team All-Ivy four times. Feaster played in the WNBA for a decade with the Sparks, Charlotte Sting and Indiana Fever and was named an All-Star in 2004.

“Definitely God, my parents, just friends and family [all helped me], but I feel like my parents did help me the most,” Strong said. “They’ve walked through this. So them, just having them guide me through it, it just helped me a really good amount.”

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Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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