UConn women’s basketball’s already-loaded 2020 class just got better. On Thursday, the Huskies landed Aaliyah Edwards, a wing out of Canada. She’s rated as the No. 26 player in the class and the fourth-best wing by ESPN. Edwards visited campus for First Night a few weeks ago.
A native of Kingston, Ontario — located on Lake Ontario — the 6-foot-2 Edwards is described as an “ultra-athletic perimeter prospect with off-the-charts potential,” by ESPN. Her former coach at Frontenac Secondary School compared her Kawhi Leonard.
“There’s a lot of parallels there for sure,” he told GlobalNews.ca.
On the AAU circuit, Edwards plays for Kia Nurse Elite — Canada’s only EYBL team started by former Husky Kia Nurse. Edwards has also spent time with Team Canada, making 33 appearances across all levels with 11 senior team caps. She made Canada’s AmeriCup roster and played against future teammate Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Team USA in the final. Edwards played 18 minutes in that game, recording nine points, four steals and three rebounds.
Edwards is now the fifth player in UConn’s class of 2020. Just three previous freshman classes have included that many scholarship players. In 1998, the Huskies brought in Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Keirsten Walters and Tamika Williams. In 2000, Ashley Battle, Maria Conlon, Jessica Moore, Diana Taurasi and Morgan Valley came to Storrs. Finally, 2010 brought Stef Dolson, Lauren Engeln, Bria Hartley, Michala Johnson and Samarie Walker.
Of those three classes, 2001 is the only class where every member played out their eligibility with UConn. 1998 saw Walters have to walk away due to injury while in 2010, Engeln, Johnson and Walker all transferred.
Currently, UConn’s 2020 class features guards Paige Bueckers (No. 1 in the class) and Nika Muhl (NR), wings Mir McLean (No. 21) and Edwards along with forward/center Piath Gabriel (NR). While Muhl isn’t rated by ESPN, the Croatian is regarded as one of the top European prospects while Gabriel received interest from Power-Five schools.
The Huskies will graduate five players after this season so the freshman will replace them in number at least. However, UConn still seems to be lacking post players beyond this year. Nelson-Ododa will be the starter for the foreseeable future but behind that, the Huskies will lack a reliable backup. Gabriel is the only player who fits the bill but it would be a stretch to rely on her as a freshman.
With 11 scholarships used for 2020-21, UConn still has the flexibility to add four more players (thought it won’t). It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them continue to be active in the transfer market to try and shore up the frontcourt.
Here’s a look at UConn’s scholarship grid with Edwards’ commitment: