UConn women’s basketball added the newest piece to its backcourt on Tuesday night when Polish guard Anna Makurat committed to the Huskies. At the very least, Makurat will give UConn an extra body on the roster, something much-needed after Mikayla Coombs’ departure. But as an international prospect, Makurat isn’t rated by ESPN. So what type of player are the Huskies getting?
There isn’t a ton of film on Makurat out there, with just her 2015-16 and 2017-18 season highlights available. We’ll focus more on the latter tape since its more recent — though both are useful.
The first thing that jumps out with Makurat is her size for the guard position. She’s listed at 6-foot but has a strong frame, giving UConn a different look at the position compared to the 5-foot-5 Crystal Dangerfield and the 5-foot-11 Christyn Williams.
In the 2017-18 season, Makurat brought the ball up often for her squad and showed off impressive dribbling skills to not only beat a press and get past defenders to get separation for a shot. Makurat displays a strong crossover and is also fond of going behind the back with the ball.
Just look at this move here:
In addition to her strong handles, Makurat has good court vision and seems to know where her teammates are on the court. She’s also willing to dish the ball out to open teammates, something that definitely caught the eye of Geno Auriemma. However, her passing skills could still use work. Makurat will sometimes make a pass into a tight lane or dish the ball without much zip on it which might become a turnover once she gets to Storrs. This play is a good example of that:
While Makurat played the point frequently in Poland, she can also play off the ball. If she gets the slightest opening at the 3-point line, Makurat is more than willing to fire it up. She has a good shooting form and gets the shot off quick. The top of the arc looks to be her favorite spot to pull up from.
The tough part with highlights is they only show the made baskets. Without full game clips, it’s hard to determine if Makurat’s willingness to shoot can border on being trigger-happy from beyond the arc.
Along with her catch-and-shoot skills, Makurat also features a strong pull-up jumper. She does a good job of using her dribbling skills to beat the initial defender and find a pocket of space in the defense to get a shot off.
The highlights were almost completely offense-focused, so Makurat’s defense is still an unknown quantity. However, she does show a willingness to fight for rebounds when she ends up on the low block.
The biggest question mark with Makurat is her athleticism. She isn’t slow and has enough burst to beat defenders but she won’t to blow anyone away like Dangerfield can. Can Makurat defend faster players and can she get past defenders that might have the upper hand on quickness? That remains to be seen.
So how will UConn use her?
Despite coming in as a guard, Makurat could be moved to the wing or into the frontcourt, similar to how Auriemma deploys Megan Walker. The two players have similar frames and while their respective styles of play are different, both could fit into that stretch-four role in UConn’s offense.
Auriemma likes bigs that can pass the ball and Makurat already possesses the willingness and vision to do that. She can also float outside and hit threes, which would make her more of a matchup problem on the inside.
Ultimately, Makurat is going to give the Huskies some flexibility with what they can do. If Aubrey Griffin comes in and seizes the fifth starting spot, Makurat can come off the bench and replace anyone on the court aside from Olivia Nelson-Ododa. If Griffin isn’t ready to start as a freshman, Makurat can play a handful of roles and can just get plugged in wherever she’s needed.
Regardless of UConn’s depth, this is a solid pickup for the Huskies. Auriemma hasn’t explored European much until recently, but his close friend and USF head coach Jose Fernandez brings in a lot of foreign players, which could’ve had some influence.
Most of the time, it’s tough for freshman to come to Storrs and make an impact from day one. But since Makurat is older than most freshman at age 19 and has experience playing in a professional league already, her transition to Division I basketball should be less steep than most.
Gifs taken from highlights by tomice.info on YouTube.