Faris isn't moving far

Kelly Faris, left, who helped lead UConn to its eight national title last week, poses with WNBA president Laurel Richie in Bristol after being selected in the first round of the draft (11th overall) by the Connectictut Sun on Monday.
Kelly Faris, left, who helped lead UConn to its eight national title last week, poses with WNBA president Laurel Richie in Bristol after being selected in the first round of the draft (11th overall) by the Connectictut Sun on Monday. Jessica Hill/AP Photo

Mohegan Leave it to Kelly Faris, impervious to the bright lights of several Final Fours, to admit Monday night to being the most nervous she'd ever been in the more controlled setting of an ESPN studio.

That's because Faris was left to wait and wonder about her future. Would she return home to play women's professional basketball in Indiana?

Some other outpost?

It turned out she doesn't have to leave Connecticut.

The Connecticut Sun, quite happy Faris fell to the next-to-last pick in the first round, chose Faris with their first pick in the WNBA Draft.

"It means the world to me that they are going to trust me, put their faith in me just like coach (Geno Auriemma) did four years ago," Faris said. "I wasn't ready to leave (Connecticut) yet anyway."

The Sun also selected 6-foot-7 Iowa State center Anna Prins with their second pick and South Florida guard Andrea Smith in the third round.

Faris, who led the Huskies to their eighth national title last week, became the 13th player in program history to become a first-round pick, giving UConn the most first-rounders of any other school in the country.

"All the hubbub had been that she'd go higher," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "She does everything. She's a big guard that can play in the post. She rebounds, takes great pride in her defense. She's worked on her offense. You saw a completely different player (offensively) than her first three years at Connecticut.

"She's a coach's dream," Donovan said. "She does anything you need her to do. She doesn't need the spotlight. She's a blue collar kid that likes to do the dirty work."

Donovan said she didn't expect the high number of post players to be selected in the first round.

"There were a couple of wrenches in there from our own mock drafts," Donovan said. "We didn't anticipate Faris falling to us nor did I anticipate every big on the board going ahead of her. It worked out perfectly."

Donovan said she's "intrigued" by Prins, who spent the last four years guarding Griner. Donovan said Prins is more comfortable facing the basket, evidenced by her career 34 percent shooting from 3-point range. She helps the Sun's need for some post help, following Asjha Jones' decision to take the year off and Sandrine Gruda's delayed decision whether she wants to return.

The Sun open the season with a preseason game at Mohegan Sun Arena on May 11 against New York..

m.dimauro@theday.com

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