Piath Gabriel

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Sauer was never end of the bench in the sense that Rigby was. She started most of her senior year also, on a championship team, although she was usually subbed out early. Ashley Valley beat Rutger almost single-handedly her senior year--I remember Vivian Stringer complaining that they covered everyone else but a "no-name" beat them. Dixon in her senior year was the sixth person in a six player rotation and was used by Geno to tire out opposing point guards. Heather Buck, it's true, never made the big-game rotation, EXCEPT that the two best games of her college career were very good performances against Brittany Griner.
 

oldude

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This happens almost every season when we have players who are end of bench reserves, at least as far back as I can remember.

There was great hope for Paige Sauer, Christine Rigby, Ash Valley, Tahirah Williams, Cassie Kerns, Meghan Gardler, Jacquie Fernandez, Lorin Dixon, Heather Buck, Natalie Butler, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent, Batouly Camara, Evelyn Adebayo, and now Piath Gabriel.

In that entire list, the only players who ever earned starts, or major minutes in any significant games (that I can recall), were Gardler and Irwin. And they were unique reasons.

For Gardler, the roster her senior year was Charles, McLaren, Fernandez, Moore, Dixon, Hayes, Doty, Buck and Faris. That was it. A roster of 10, with an injured Doty, timid Buck, disappointing Dixon, and almost walk-on Fernandez. Starters of Charles, Moore, Hayes, Doty and Faris. I honestly don't recall how much Caroline played her senior year, but that left bench players of Gardler, McLaren and Dixon.

If Caroline was out, or limited, Geno had no confidence in Dixon, Buck or Fernandez in important games, so that left Gardler and McLaren as the other players. Anyway I tried to find stats for that season, but was not able to access it from the UCONN website.

At any rate, it's a similar situation with Irwin. A roster of 10 with starters of Danger, Walker, Williams, ONO - then who else?? Irwin, Bent, Camara, Adebayo, and freshmen Anna and Aubrey. There was literally no one else so Kyla got major minutes in numerous games. And she tried her best, but was just not good enough to be a starter of the quality UCONN really needed.

Fast forward to now - UCONN has a roster of 11, but when healthy, can go 8 deep with high quality, 9 if you count Mir. We have the luxury of more quality depth. So Piath will never be needed.

I don't mean for any of this to sound harsh or overly critical, if it does. Most all of those kids I mentioned above were awesome people, great teammates, and true gems of the UCONN basketball program and legacy. And most of them had amazing experiences at UCONN. I'd LOVE for Piath to be the exception, develop like gangbusters, and earn solid reserve minutes as a post player, I just don't see it happening.
I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not willing to give up on Piath just yet, for several reasons. I start with Kiah Stokes, another big girl who could run the court. Admittedly, Kiah had a much better HS resume, and she played on a UConn team with very little depth. But for 2+ seasons Kiah had terrible hands, and I never thought she’d be a factor at UConn. But starting midway through her jr season, Kiah started to provide meaningful minutes off the bench and that carried on through her senior year in college right into a pro career.

Liv will move on to the pros after next season, and UConn’s front court will be some combination of Aaliyah, Aubrey, Amari & Ice. Against most UConn opponents that should be more than enough. But when I think about the multiple BIGs at Stanford, OR, SC and perhaps others, the thought of having a physical 6’5” presence in the paint who can just play defense and rebound has a lot of appeal.

No doubt Piath has a very long way to go to become a factor for UConn WBB. But she’s already come so far, starting out as a refugee in war torn Sudan. I know she’s a project, but there’s a really talented contractor by the name of Jamelle who’s pretty good at building basketball players. I’m going to keep pulling for Piath, hoping that she achieves her goal.
 
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In earlier games Piath looked a bit lost. Last night in 4 minutes, she had a nice block and took a pass for a smooth layup. She might have gotten a second layup on the subsequent possession, but, when the pass came to her, she was like, "Whoa, another pass, what's happening here." I see that the way she already handles herself on the floor could really allow her to be incorporated into team offense and defense more readily that previous bench players mentioned.
 
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Gabriel came to UConn with the full knowledge that she would not play. She's a project. I'd say a 2 year project before she can be counted on to contribute. And both she, her family and Geno are probably happy with things so far. Basketball bodies like hers are not that plentiful and often have slow feet and stone hands. She has neither. Then there is the effort factor. Geno has been very happy with her effort and her attitude. Geno felt her upside was worth a shot. I agreed then and still agree.
 
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I agree she’s much more athletic then I thought when she got recruited. But her minutes won’t or shouldn’t increase until her skills do. We only see her 1 minute per game. Geno sees her everyday. He discusses everyone on the team including Autumn. I’ve not heard him discuss Pia regarding practice or getting better so I’m assuming she’s not impressing. Now if she does she could become a dominant inside force. We shall see. As far as the red shirt no. She’s got 5 years as it is. Some of these players are gonna be collecting pensions before this is over
 
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If I remember correctly from articles, she didn't start playing organized bball until some time in middle school. I would say she has made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. I don't think people should count her out. She's making progress...
 
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Geno seemed to really put emphasis on Piath's potential when they recruited her, at least what I recall from an interview that he did. It wasn't the usual yadda yadda, he seemed convinced that all parties involved would eventually show that she was a hidden gem. She's a true freshman on a #1 team, give her time. In the small sample I've seen, she seems to have the foundation.
 

EricLA

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Gabriel came to UConn with the full knowledge that she would not play. She's a project. I'd say a 2 year project before she can be counted on to contribute. And both she, her family and Geno are probably happy with things so far. Basketball bodies like hers are not that plentiful and often have slow feet and stone hands. She has neither. Then there is the effort factor. Geno has been very happy with her effort and her attitude. Geno felt her upside was worth a shot. I agreed then and still agree.
That's very well said.

For the folks who tried to point out that Paige Sauer and Lorin Dixon were more productive than I gave them credit for - Lorin was definitely a top 20 recruit. I believe Paige was top 10 per blue star, or one of the other services. And for Paige, her senior year, she averaged 11 MPG and under 4 PPG. Not the improvement you'd expect from a top rated player, regardless of who came in behind her. Dixon averaged 16 MPG and 2.5 PPG over her career, so for minutes, I should have left her off my list as well.

But my point was not to compare Piath to kids rated in the top 20 or top 10, even tho some of the comments turned into that. My point was - to expect Piath to be anything more than a 4-6 minute per game player at the end of blowouts is most likely not going to happen, and those minutes in blowouts is what we can most likely expect from her. Hoopgurlz did not have her in their top 100. The other services who did rank her had her at 41, 71, 107, and 66.

Yeah we can all point to Angel McCaughtry as woefully under ranked coming out of HS, but my point was - most of the kids on that list I made were ranked close to Piath, or even higher in many cases, and most of them never got more than mop up minutes for their career.

Some on here commented that they hoped the upside of Molly Bent was to be somewhat like Kelly Faris. That Kyla Irwin would develop into something like Sara Hammond (L'ville post player similar size/build). That Tahirah Williams could be somewhat like Ashley Battle. Cassie Kerns --> Jessica Moore. Etc. Etc. None of them developed that way.

Piath has to compete with ONO and Edwards for the next 1.5 years. Next year she will be also competing against DeBerry. The following year, we lose ONO but add Brady. These kids are LIKELY too good to be behind Piath on the depth chart.

Bottom line is I hope Piath is happy. I hope she knew what to expect more or less, and I hope she loves her experience here. Regardless if she ever makes it into the regular rotation or not, if she wants to be here, and Geno wants her here, then I'm thrilled with whatever she gives us.
 

cohenzone

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She seems pretty athletic. Obviously she gets to play in garbage time against lesser competition. But she looks to be a good rebounder and uses her size well. As coaches say, you can’t teach how tall a player is. Time will tell.

Someone mentioned Mir. She seems pretty capable of production when she plays. Her time has been relatively limited, I’d like to see more of her earlier occasionally in games than with 4 minutes left. She is active, rebounds, finishes pretty well and shoots foul shots reasonably well. Sub at 2 or 3 forward positions. But it’s not Geno’s normal MO.
 
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There was great hope for Paige Sauer, Christine Rigby, Ash Valley, Tahirah Williams, Cassie Kerns, Meghan Gardler, Jacquie Fernandez, Lorin Dixon, Heather Buck, Natalie Butler, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent, Batouly Camara, Evelyn Adebayo, and now Piath Gabriel.

In that entire list, the only players who ever earned starts, or major minutes in any significant games (that I can recall), were Gardler and Irwin. And they were unique reasons.

Fast forward to now - UCONN has a roster of 11, but when healthy, can go 8 deep with high quality, 9 if you count Mir. We have the luxury of more quality depth. So Piath will never be needed.
I think you are forgetting about players who DID become major contributors despite being relatively unheralded out of high school. I would start that list with Kara Wolters, and it would also include Maria Conlon, Kaili McLaren, Ketia Swanier, and several people on your list that did get significant minutes in significant games, even though they may not have started -- especially Lorin Dixon, Ashley Valley, Natalie Butler, and Kyla Irwin. Another player in that general category is Mel Thomas, who (although rather highly rated in HS) was immediately tagged as being slow and unathletic (which she was) but became a three-year starter.

So there have been more successful "projects" than you are acknowledging.

I also question your last statement: "Piath will never be needed". As everyone on this board knows, "UConn needs bigs". A major reason is that almost all bigs get into foul trouble with alarming frequency, so they need backups. And you really can't expect to replace Olivia, Aaliyah, Amari, or Ice with someone like Aubrey or Mir, who really cannot be expected to contend with the Aliyah Bostons and Tamari Keys of the WCBB world. So if Piath can give Natalie Butler minutes (similar in quality and quantity) by next year or even the following year, that will be very definitely needed -- and she will get that opportunity. Based on raw athleticism, she should be able to be more effective than Natalie in a year or so.
 

EricLA

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I think you are forgetting about players who DID become major contributors despite being relatively unheralded out of high school. I would start that list with Kara Wolters, and it would also include Maria Conlon, Kaili McLaren, Ketia Swanier, and several people on your list that did get significant minutes in significant games, even though they may not have started -- especially Lorin Dixon, Ashley Valley, Natalie Butler, and Kyla Irwin. Another player in that general category is Mel Thomas, who (although rather highly rated in HS) was immediately tagged as being slow and unathletic (which she was) but became a three-year starter.

So there have been more successful "projects" than you are acknowledging.

I also question your last statement: "Piath will never be needed". As everyone on this board knows, "UConn needs bigs". A major reason is that almost all bigs get into foul trouble with alarming frequency, so they need backups. And you really can't expect to replace Olivia, Aaliyah, Amari, or Ice with someone like Aubrey or Mir, who really cannot be expected to contend with the Aliyah Bostons and Tamari Keys of the WCBB world. So if Piath can give Natalie Butler minutes (similar in quality and quantity) by next year or even the following year, that will be very definitely needed -- and she will get that opportunity. Based on raw athleticism, she should be able to be more effective than Natalie in a year or so.
Kaili MacLaren was a top 10 recruit. Ketia Swanier was a top 20 recruit. They were not projects. For Maria Conlon, especially her junior and senior years, there was hardly anyone else. I don't know what Wolters was rated coming out of high school - she was 6'7" or taller. Raw for sure. Ash Valley - don't remember her being a significant contributor.

Nat Butler was a transfer and left UCONN after 2 years to be a star at George Mason averaging almost 20 PPG and 35 MPG, but with 2 years under her belt before coming to UCONN, wasn't a project in the traditional sense. Butler averaged 14 or 15 MPG and about 5.5 PPG for UCONN. If we have to rely on Piath for 15 MPG in the next 2 years, we won't be winning any NC's.

I would not be surprised to see Geno go out and recruit a post transfer or graduate transfer. Piath could play at UCONN for 10 years and likely be unable to handle going up against Boston or Keys or Cunane or Collier or Hillman, or any other elite post in WCBB. He needs to surround Fudd and Bueckers with enough talent to win NC's. Multiple. Even with the talent we have, it may not be enough...

UCONN will have 2-3 better post players for all of Piath's career. This year, Edwards and ONO. Next year ONO, Edwards and DeBerry. The year after that, Edwards, Deberry and Brady. IF as a junior, Piath has developed enough that she gets into the lineup ahead of AA recruit Ice Brady, I will be shocked, but thrilled.
 

donalddoowop

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Kaili MacLaren was a top 10 recruit. Ketia Swanier was a top 20 recruit. They were not projects. For Maria Conlon, especially her junior and senior years, there was hardly anyone else. I don't know what Wolters was rated coming out of high school - she was 6'7" or taller. Raw for sure. Ash Valley - don't remember her being a significant contributor.

Nat Butler was a transfer and left UCONN after 2 years to be a star at George Mason averaging almost 20 PPG and 35 MPG, but with 2 years under her belt before coming to UCONN, wasn't a project in the traditional sense. Butler averaged 14 or 15 MPG and about 5.5 PPG for UCONN. If we have to rely on Piath for 15 MPG in the next 2 years, we won't be winning any NC's.

I would not be surprised to see Geno go out and recruit a post transfer or graduate transfer. Piath could play at UCONN for 10 years and likely be unable to handle going up against Boston or Keys or Cunane or Collier or Hillman, or any other elite post in WCBB. He needs to surround Fudd and Bueckers with enough talent to win NC's. Multiple. Even with the talent we have, it may not be enough...

UCONN will have 2-3 better post players for all of Piath's career. This year, Edwards and ONO. Next year ONO, Edwards and DeBerry. The year after that, Edwards, Deberry and Brady. IF as a junior, Piath has developed enough that she gets into the lineup ahead of AA recruit Ice Brady, I will be shocked, but thrilled.
You have NO idea how much Piath will improve during her time at UConn. DeBerry will have to compete with Piath. It may take DeBerry as long as it has taken Ono to blossom. In the meantime Piath may be well on her way to being a big part of UConn's rotation. Don't underestimate Piath's abilities. Comparing her now to more experienced players is unfair. Her potential may be just as great as some of the players you named.
 
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There’s Something About Piath...

Seriously, lots of players come through who have been coached since they were kids and are fundamentally sound.

But they don’t improve enough to get playing time, partly because they’re maxed out athletically and/or just don’t have that high BB IQ on the court. Basketball isn’t instinctive for them, it’s learned.

Piath looks different than those players. She appears on the eye test to have natural BB talents, innate, coupled with size and athletic ability.

I think she has a chance to become that exception to the rule of low-ranked HS players nearly always being career bench players at UConn.
 
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I seem to remember an unheralded center who became an All-American. I was expecting Piath to be slow, ungainly with no sign of any potential basketball aptitude. Quite the opposite, she shows some speed, a certain grace and potential basketball skills. An All-American or starter, probably not; but, with time, good coaching and perseverance, who knows.

She might be needed in a couple of years. You never know what players will be injured.
 
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You have NO idea how much Piath will improve during her time at UConn. DeBerry will have to compete with Piath. It may take DeBerry as long as it has taken Ono to blossom. In the meantime Piath may be well on her way to being a big part of UConn's rotation. Don't underestimate Piath's abilities. Comparing her now to more experienced players is unfair. Her potential may be just as great as some of the players you named.

He's expressing an opinion. Everyone does it. I share his opinion. But nearly all of the opinions on here we can say the people that express those opinions "have NO idea."
 
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This happens almost every season when we have players who are end of bench reserves, at least as far back as I can remember.

There was great hope for Paige Sauer, Christine Rigby, Ash Valley, Tahirah Williams, Cassie Kerns, Meghan Gardler, Jacquie Fernandez, Lorin Dixon, Heather Buck, Natalie Butler, Kyla Irwin, Molly Bent, Batouly Camara, Evelyn Adebayo, and now Piath Gabriel.

In that entire list, the only players who ever earned starts, or major minutes in any significant games (that I can recall), were Gardler and Irwin. And they were unique reasons.

For Gardler, the roster her senior year was Charles, McLaren, Fernandez, Moore, Dixon, Hayes, Doty, Buck and Faris. That was it. A roster of 10, with an injured Doty, timid Buck, disappointing Dixon, and almost walk-on Fernandez. Starters of Charles, Moore, Hayes, Doty and Faris. I honestly don't recall how much Caroline played her senior year, but that left bench players of Gardler, McLaren and Dixon.

If Caroline was out, or limited, Geno had no confidence in Dixon, Buck or Fernandez in important games, so that left Gardler and McLaren as the other players. Anyway I tried to find stats for that season, but was not able to access it from the UCONN website.

At any rate, it's a similar situation with Irwin. A roster of 10 with starters of Danger, Walker, Williams, ONO - then who else?? Irwin, Bent, Camara, Adebayo, and freshmen Anna and Aubrey. There was literally no one else so Kyla got major minutes in numerous games. And she tried her best, but was just not good enough to be a starter of the quality UCONN really needed.

Fast forward to now - UCONN has a roster of 11, but when healthy, can go 8 deep with high quality, 9 if you count Mir. We have the luxury of more quality depth. So Piath will never be needed.

I don't mean for any of this to sound harsh or overly critical, if it does. Most all of those kids I mentioned above were awesome people, great teammates, and true gems of the UCONN basketball program and legacy. And most of them had amazing experiences at UCONN. I'd LOVE for Piath to be the exception, develop like gangbusters, and earn solid reserve minutes as a post player, I just don't see it happening.
Roster of 12
 
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I think you are forgetting about players who DID become major contributors despite being relatively unheralded out of high school. I would start that list with Kara Wolters, and it would also include Maria Conlon, Kaili McLaren, Ketia Swanier, and several people on your list that did get significant minutes in significant games, even though they may not have started -- especially Lorin Dixon, Ashley Valley, Natalie Butler, and Kyla Irwin. Another player in that general category is Mel Thomas, who (although rather highly rated in HS) was immediately tagged as being slow and unathletic (which she was) but became a three-year starter.

So there have been more successful "projects" than you are acknowledging.

I also question your last statement: "Piath will never be needed". As everyone on this board knows, "UConn needs bigs". A major reason is that almost all bigs get into foul trouble with alarming frequency, so they need backups. And you really can't expect to replace Olivia, Aaliyah, Amari, or Ice with someone like Aubrey or Mir, who really cannot be expected to contend with the Aliyah Bostons and Tamari Keys of the WCBB world. So if Piath can give Natalie Butler minutes (similar in quality and quantity) by next year or even the following year, that will be very definitely needed -- and she will get that opportunity. Based on raw athleticism, she should be able to be more effective than Natalie in a year or so.
Joe, you and Eric appear to be looking at the same issue from different sides. Some want Piath to get more minutes but the key is whether she is able to be ready for the big games. As every season goes on, Geno invests and focuses more on the lineup he thinks can win the NCAA's. In February, I doubt he is giving much thought to the 10th person on the bench. Piath may look good running the floor against the 3rd string of a 4-12 team, but UConn's and Geno's goals are unique-be #1. Hope some are right that Piath can be a star but she has a big hill to climb.
 
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If everyone stays, the roster next year is 15. A nightmare for developmental minutes.

At the beginning of the season, Coach Geno admitted that he was surprised to get so many freshmen, and that seven was not an ideal number. He made that clear. Though we won't speculate on individuals, 15 kids is too many, and we have too many players who are about 5'11".
 

donalddoowop

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He's expressing an opinion. Everyone does it. I share his opinion. But nearly all of the opinions on here we can say the people that express those opinions "have NO idea."
That is not true. Some people do have an idea based on information they have. His statement did not come off like an opinion. It was stated in a matter of fact way, as if he knows what her progress will be. What information does anyone have that shows Piath will not be an important part of the UConn team?
 
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None of the bench players get the minutes they should get, but there's only 200 of those puppies to go around. That's the way it is. Whatcha gonna do?
Based on what? Based on what I see, she is getting what she deserves. She has a lot of work to do to get minutes on this team. It seems like people view these girls like their grandkids playing in the rec league. You don't get minutes by being "a nice kid".
 

EricLA

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You have NO idea how much Piath will improve during her time at UConn. DeBerry will have to compete with Piath. It may take DeBerry as long as it has taken Ono to blossom. In the meantime Piath may be well on her way to being a big part of UConn's rotation. Don't underestimate Piath's abilities. Comparing her now to more experienced players is unfair. Her potential may be just as great as some of the players you named.
You are 100% right. I have NO idea how much Piath will improve. As I've said about 5 times in this thread, I hope she becomes a regular contributor off the bench earning 15-20 minutes per game. But history is not on her side when you compare her lowly ranking with others, even ranked much higher, who never earned much more than end of game minutes in blowouts.

Side note, Piath started hoops pretty late - I thought I recalled reading she didn't even start playing until 7th grade or so. Given that post players take longer to develop anyway, it would not surprise me if she is the exception to history, especially given all the highly rated post talent that will be on the team during her tenure.

Just a guess on my part, but it will be interesting to see if Geno goes after a post transfer, JUCO post, or grad transfer post. That might tell us a lot about what he thinks about Piath's chances to contribute in a meaningful way.

Let me say it for a 6th time. I HOPE PIATH DEVELOPS INTO A SOLID/GOOD PLAYER AND CAN GIVE UCONN SOLID MINUTES IN MEANINGFUL GAMES.
 

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