Saint Mary?s High School
Courtney Ekmark is everything you could ask for in an incoming freshman?not just in basketball, but in college in general.?She?s got the grades?she was on track to be valedictorian at her high school?the extracurriculars?she was home-schooled during her senior year so she could meet with business leaders and gain different experiences,?and oh yeah? she can shoot the lights out.
Ekmark might be the best shooter in the country in her high school class, and next season, she?ll bring that sweet stroke?along with all those intangibles, to Storrs.
?I?can?t wait,? Ekmark said. ?It?s such a powerhouse?in women?s basketball, and I wanted to go somewhere where I could win national championships. And the fans aren?t too shabby, either.?
When Ekmark spoke to us, she was in Kansas watching her brother Andrew play at a high school showcase.
?I?m always doing something basketball related,? she said.
The 6-0 guard comes from a line of athletic prowess. Her father Curtis was a basketball player at Marquette, and her mother Meg played tennis there.
As a kid, Courtney played soccer, basketball, and tennis, and was so busy with so many different teams all the time that her mother told her she had to choose just one sport.??I was kind of out of control,? she laughs. ?I decided I loved basketball, and so I stuck with that.?
It?s worked out pretty well so far. Coached by her father, Courtney?s Saint Mary?s (Phoenix) high school team won three state titles and a?national championship in 2012. She?s also trained?with family friend and former Phoenix Suns head coach and player Frank Johnson.
?He taught me a bunch of NBA guard tricks,? Ekmark said. ?He?s been great for me.?
Ekmark?s?home-school year allowed her?more time to work on basketball, and since she was just three credits shy of graduating coming into her senior year, she figured she?d learn more outside of a classroom. Instead of going through the motions as a senior, she explored various areas of interest, meeting with some of her father?s business friends, including a lobbyist. She also?went on a few trips with her family.
?Courtney took Advanced Placement U.S. Government classes last year at St. Mary?s and got A?s the whole year,? her father Curtis told ESPN.??But she said she learned more about how politics worked in one meeting with the lobbyist than she did the whole year at St. Mary?s.?
Courtney also met with a businessman who started out as a pool guy for a multimillion-dollar company and became its CEO.??She?s getting a lot of real-world experience,? Curtis said.
Now, Courtney?will bring her intelligence and worldliness?to UConn, where she?ll look to give the Huskies even more backcourt depth.
?I?m going to attack it with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,? she said, quoting San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Too bad she can?t put that in the yearbook.
As told to Kels Dayton