Two of UConn women’s basketball’s 2023 signees were named McDonald's High School All-Americans on Tuesday. Ashlynn Shade earned a spot on the East squad while KK Arnold is on the West team. A total of 24 players were selected for the exhibition, which will take place in Houston on March 28.
Arnold is ranked as the No. 6 player in the class while Shade comes in at No. 15 on ESPN’s rankings. The Huskies have one other 2023 signee: Qadence Samuels, a wing from Forestville, Maryland. The fourth player in the class, Jana El Alfy, enrolled early and arrived in Storrs on Sunday.
A native of Germantown, Wisconsin, Arnold is a point guard through and through. While she’s only 5-foot-9, she idolized former UConn star Moriah Jefferson as another smaller floor general.
“We think of all the point guards that are coming out of high school, she fit us better than anyone else,” Geno Auriemma said when Arnold signed in November.
Shade doesn’t fit as easily into any position. Though she’s only 5-foot-10, the Noblesville, Indiana native has played in a variety of spots on the floor in high school — something which is expected to continue once she gets to UConn.
“I think in Ashlynn we’re getting the definition of an old-school, really good basketball player,” Auriemma said. “You can’t even pigeonhole her into a position, you can just say she’s just a really good basketball player.”
Both players — along with Samuels — will join a UConn roster that isn’t expected to lose much. Dorka Juhász and Lou Lopez Sénéchal will graduate, but Paige Bueckers and Ice Brady should return from season-ending injuries. El Alfy will also suit up for the first time with the Huskies after redshirting the remainder of this season.
Arnold and Shade will be the sixth and seventh McDonalds All-Americans on UConn’s roster next year, joining Paige Bueckers (2020), Azzi Fudd (2021), Amari DeBerry (2021), Ice Brady (2022) and Ayanna Patterson (2022).