UCLA offered Elkhorn North HS (Omaha, Neb.) guard Britt Prince a scholarship, news that falls under our purview until 2024, when USC and UCLA join the Big Ten Conference. (I hoped that was a rumor. USC joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1922. Crosstown rival UCLA and USC are further west than the University of Pacific, for heaven’s sake.)
Prince, a 5-foot-11 guard, has led the Elkhorn North Wolves to two state championships in two years, remarkable in itself because Elkhorn North opened two years ago. They might still be looking to fill teaching and administrative positions, but their girls’ basketball team has two championship banners in their gym. For the year, Prince averaged 24 pt, 7 rb, 4 st, and 4 as, while shooting 40.4 3FG% and 84 FT%. (See the video below for off-the-chart passing ability.)=
Legend goes that observers notified the University of Nebraska WBB program about Prince before she was was in junior high school. So you might compare the phenomenal status of Britt Prince with two players: Indiana’s Damon Bailey, and Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers.
Back in 1986, when sportswriter John Feinstein followed the Indiana men and coach Bob Knight ahead of his book Season on the Brink, Knight heard about 8th-grader Bailey, and went to watch him play. Knight said Bailey was already better than any Hoosier guard, which included Steve Alford the year before they won the NCAA championship.
With Coach Knight, you never knew if he truly meant something, or used it to motivate his current roster. In either case, it meant that before Damon Bailey entered Bedford North HS, he was booked for the University of Indiana, where he helped the Hoosiers reach the Final Four in 1992 (though he didn’t live up to his junior high school hype).
Paige Bueckers is an entirely different story, given the fact that it’s possible you’ve never heard until Damon Bailey until now, while millions follow Bueckers on social media, and she’s already one of the greatest beneficiaries of the NCAA’s new Name Image Likeness policies.
That would all be fluff if Bueckers couldn’t play, but she can. Britt Prince has been labeled “Paige Bueckers 2.0”, which fits insofar as they’re both hugely talented and versatile guards with yellow hair who hail from the Midwest. When I first heard of high school sophomore Bueckers, her Twitter profile said she saw herself as graduating from Stanford in ’24, which suited me just fine.
Then Connecticut entered the picture like a last-second eBay sniper, and there’s Bueckers is in Storrs, Connecticut, wherever that is. The University of Connecticut has been at the top of women’s college basketball for almost 30 years, but I still couldn’t find UConn on a map. It would be different if I were walking blindfolded, and Coach VanDerveer called ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ from center court at Maples Pavilion.
For far too long, if a high school star wanted to join a team that could win an NCAA championship, her choices were limited to Connecticut, and perhaps a team from last year’s Final Four, but if a prestigious college education and beautiful weather were attractions, then Stanford.
Maybe Prince wants to be a dentist after her basketbal career is over, which would put the mid-major University of the Pacific in the picture (true story, swear to god: a chap saw my Pacific Women’s Basketball jacket, and his first question wasn’t whether I was connected to the team, but if I were a dentist), but let’s say that’s too far-fetched, and her decision primarily pertains to basketball (and associated NIL opportunities).
The most recent Nebraska players of the year stayed close to home. 2022 player of the year Taylor McCabe ventured furthest, where Iowa is 270 miles from Fremont HS. 2021 Nebraska PY Alexis Markowski might have literally stayed home; U. Nebraska and her high school are five miles apart. 2020 PY Morgan Maly from Crete HS in Crete, Neb., chose Creighton.
Creighton is 15 miles from Elkhorn North, and reached the round of 8 last year, and I think were among the first to tend Prince an offer. I reckon if Prince has drawn a short list already, Creighton is on it. UCLA’s move to the Big Ten means the Bruins visit Nebraska on road trips.
Please go anywhere but UConn, Britt.
^Creighton, Nebraska, South Dakota State, Louisville, Iowa State, Omaha, Iowa, North Carolina, Maryland, Oregon, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Marquette, Penn State, NC State, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Harvard, Missouri, Mississippi State, Belmont, DePaul and Florida.