Kaili McLaren set to take official visit to UConn

During the busy AAU season in the summer of 2005, one of the top teams in the country was the Boo Williams club from Hampton, VA. This outrageous collection of talent impressed coaches at major tournaments wherever they appeared. At the USA Cup in Chicago, one college coach was overheard telling another not to miss Boo Williams. When asked which player to watch, the first coach replied, "All of them."

One of the many talented players for Boo Williams is a 6-2 forward named Kaili McLaren. The high school senior from Washington D.C. is drawing attention from top programs from around the country.

McLaren is a post player who has range out to the perimeter. Her high school team needs her to shoot from beyond the arc but her AAU coach wants her to play in the post. Although she's a versatile player, McLaren won't admit to any particular strengths in her game.

"I'm my own biggest critic," McLaren said. "I'm hard on myself. I really like to get other people involved in the game and I think that's my biggest strength, that I'm a team player. But I've got a lot to work on."

McLaren is currently working on her jump shot and post moves as part of an overall program to improve herself. She strives to be a more complete player.

The physically demanding AAU season was trying, but McLaren enjoyed meeting new people and traveling with friends on the Boo Williams team. She has an outgoing personality and is easy and fun to talk to. She expressed some relief that she was spared wear and tear on her body as a result of the long summer.

"I'm used to playing a lot and we did get a break at one point. I actually didn't know what to do with the free time when I got it," said McLaren. "It could be tiring at times. There were so many good teams and the competition was tough, especially at the events in Georgia. It was more of a mental thing than a physical one, though. It's hard to maintain that focus for so many games so close together."

When she does get some time off, McLaren likes to relax with friends and go to the movies. But she admits that she "plays an awful lot of ball" and that free time is hard to come by.

Now that September has arrived, McLaren has started narrowing her list of interests and is setting up official visits. So far, only two visits have been arranged; one to Virginia and the other to UConn for the October 15th Super Show. Also in the works are trips to Maryland, Notre Dame and Ohio State. All schools have offered McLaren a scholarship.

McLaren has already taken one unofficial visit to see the UConn campus, arriving in early August without telling anyone in the basketball office that she would be on visiting.

"I wanted to see the campus on my own, to just look around and see what it was like. It wasn't what I expected. I thought it was relaxing, really nice," explained McLaren.

When asked which player McLaren admires most, she immediately mentioned former UConn player Tamika Williams. "I really look up to her, not just as a great player but also as a great person. She's a terrific role model," McLaren said.

While she hasn't met Williams, McLaren said she's spoken to her as Williams is an assistant coach at Ohio State. McLaren is looking forward to meeting her.

There are three elements that are important to McLaren as she considers her college choices. She wants to play for a school with good fan support saying, "I'm working really hard to get to college and don't want to play in front of a couple hundred of fans." Another important aspect is the location of the school, including the area's weather. Academics are also a consideration.

McLaren will sign her National Letter of Intent in November.

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