I've never been asked to be a member of the McDonald's All-American selection committee.
And I've never in person seen Saniya Chong
, a senior from Ossining (N.Y.)
, play basketball.
But I've seen plenty of her on video and much more important, Geno Auriemma and the University of Connecticut staff have seen her in person numerous times. Enough times, in fact, to offer her a full ride scholarship next season.
That fact, combined with all of these:
* She's averaging 35.9 points per game — fifth nationally — and 9.5 assists — second in the nation. She also averages 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game, and shoots 87 percent from the line (169 of 194).
* Her team is 14-4 and ranked third in New York and is 65-13 during her career.
* She's broke state career scoring and 3-point shooting records.
. ... tells me her omission from the 2013 McDonald's All-America team was a major oversight.
Or more accurately, it's just plain wrong.
Anyone talented enough to secure a full ride to the country's premier college program combined with the mountain of accomplishments Chong has put together over four seasons — especially the last two — seems worthy of playing in the country's most illustrious girls basketball game that features 24 top players.
I've noted that ESPN has Chong rated the 75th top recruit from the 2013 class and I called a McDonald's All America voter, who said Chong isn't nearly as athletic or strong all-around as the 24 selected.
He said UConn is good enough to recruit specific role players — shooters or defenders or in Chong's case, a slashing, playmaker who can score (seems pretty complete right there) — meaning some years they don't always snap up necessarily the "best" players.
Combine that with Ossining's three straight decisive losses in its only national event — the Nike TOC in Phoenix — all hurt Chong's chances.
It should be noted she did have 91 points, 13 rebounds and eight steals in those three games and made 24 of 27 free throws. She also had 46 points and 12 assists in an 89-84 win over Christ the King (Bronx, N.Y.), a program with a storied national history.
All that considered, I still say she's a no-brainer McDonald's selection.
Admittedly, it's a tricky combination whenever picking All-American teams.
Is it simply a list of the most talented players or what one's accomplished — statistics and team success?
I've always felt it's a 50-50 split.
Everyone agrees Chong is one of the top 100 players in the country. If she's going to UConn, I would have to think she's in the top 40 at the very least. As far as what she's done on the court — it's hard to come up with many girls in history of the sport with better numbers for her position.
In that regard, in the opinion of this non-voter, Chong is a slam-dunk choice for the McDonald's All-American game.
Even if she can't slam dunk. See entire McDonald's All-America team