Destiny Slocum had a calm introduction to her Maryland basketball career. The Terps won by over 100 points in each of their exhibition games to start this season, allowing Slocum, the cornerstone recruit of the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, some time to mature.
Not that she needed it. She scored in double figures in six of her first seven games in a Maryland uniform. She was prepared for the Terps’ toughest test of the season — the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies, winners of 86 consecutive games.
Even in a loss, she showed everyone why she was the No. 7 recruit in this year’s freshman class.
Against UConn Thursday night, Slocum never left the court, playing all 40 minutes. After scoring four points in a slow first half, she turned it on to finish with 23 as the Terps tried to make an improbable comeback. They wouldn’t succeed, but Slocum displayed her talent to an audience she doesn’t usually get.
She shined brightest when her team was fighting to stay in the game late in the fourth quarter. She helped feed the ball inside Maryland slashed UConn’s lead from 19 to five. Here’s one of her game-high seven assists, which came at a crucial time:
She also hit threes from NBA range as the Huskies were pulling away.
After the game, Maryland coach Brenda Frese said all of the usual things you say when your No. 1 recruit does things like this.
“Age is just a number,” she said. “Class means nothing. Everybody go to witness tonight what makes her so special. She’s got a lot of experience and plays beyond her years.”
“My coach is really patient with me,” Slocum chuckled after the loss. “There’s a lot of times that she should be right in my ear, but she says something really motivating. It’s really good for me, because rather than being yelled at, she’s like ‘You got this.’”
Slocum got herself on the national radar, which is what happens when you play well against UConn.
Destiny Slocum of Maryland. Remember that name. Going to be a Player of The Year candidate every year she's in school.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) December 30, 2016
With Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones leaving after this season, fans should rest easy knowing they’ll have a new star to follow next year and beyond.