Date: Sat, 25 May 2013 03:10:58 +0200
- UCONN | Sports
Women's Basketball: The Latest on Elena
- Elena Delle Donne, the consensus girls high school basketball player of the year and plum of UConn's freshman class, left campus early last week during her first week of summer school and headed home.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma confirmed Delle Donne's departure Saturday.
"This is nothing out of ordinary," Auriemma said. "It happens all the time. Maybe she's just not ready to make the move [away from home] yet."
Delle Donne saw Auriemma last Sunday with her mother and father and moved into her room on Monday. She attended class Monday and Tuesday, watched workouts in the weight room and played pickup with some of her teammates before deciding to return to her home in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday night.
What remains unknown was why Delle Donne, a 6-foot-5 swing and Delaware all-time leading scorer, decided she needed to return to her home so spontaneously.
Ernie Delle Donne, Elena's father, said late Saturday night that the matter was private and that his daughter would take as much time as she needed to sort through the situation.
Auriemma said he did not know if Delle Donne was planning to re-apply for the second session of summer school which begins on July 12 or whether she may be considering a transfer.
Ernie Delle Donne wasn't specific, either, but didn't indicate Elena was planning on transferring.
However, Ernie Delle Donne strongly refuted the contention of an AAU source in Philadelphia that Elena was bothered by something concerning her new teammates during her short time on campus.
"Elena has tremendous respect for her teammates [at UConn] and the coaching staff," Ernie Delle Donne said. "There was no problem."
"She wasn't up here long enough for anything to happen," Auriemma said. "Elena just had to take care of some issues at home. She told me she just needs some time at home. All I can go by is what she told me. Maybe she's just not ready right now to start the process. . .If she wants to come back for the second session she could do that."
Auriemma said he spoke to Elena Delle Donne again on Saturday and she promised to keep him advised of her plans.
"There isn't a freshman in the country that doesn't feel that way [a little apprehensive]," Auriemma said.
Delle Donne also took last summer off, saying she needed time to get away from basketball and the long recruiting process. By doing that, she passed up the chance to play for USA Basketball's U-18 team that featured Maya Moore and won a gold medal.
Her senior season was then complicated by mononucleosis that forced her to miss 10 games.
The Huskies played in their first Final Four since 2004 last season and were already being touted as overwhelming favorites to win the national championship in 2009 with Delle Donne joining a strong returning class featuring juniors Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery and sophomore Maya Moore, a first-team All-American and Big East Player of the Year as a freshman.
Delle Donne is to be joined by fellow freshmen Caroline Doty, a guard from Doylestown, Pa., forward Tiffany Hayes of Winter Haven, Fla., and center Heather Buck, Connecticut's two-time player of the year. She chose UConn over Tennessee and Villanova last summer, one of the greatest recruiting triumphs of the Auriemma era.