OSSINING, N.Y. – Ossining High School senior Saniya Chong could break the all-time Section 1 scoring record Wednesday afternoon but whether or not it happens, she’s already being considered one of the top 20 girls basketball players in the country.
The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association selected Chong to play in the 2013 WBCA High School All-America Game. The top 20 high school female basketball players in the nation will compete in the 22nd annual game on Saturday, April 6 at the New Orleans Arena, the location of the NCAA Women’s Final Four. She’s already earned national recognition the Wall Street Journal, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated, but Chong said she was shocked when she found out Tuesday.
“It was really a shock to me. It’s such an amazing and just a huge, huge opportunity for me,” Chong said. “I am so excited to be a part of this and I really couldn’t be happier.”
Chong and the rest of her teammates on the Ossining Girls Basketball team have faced stiff competition before while making a run in last year’s state tournament and will likely face even tougher competition this year. But playing with and against the other 19 best girls high school basketball players could be something else entirely, she said.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to meet the best of the best and getting to know them,” she said. “Seeing other opportunities and seeing how amazing other players are and playing with them is going to be huge.”
The U-Conn bound senior is not only the only girl playing the game in New York, but Ossining coach Dan Ricci said she is also the first girl from Section 1 to be named to the All-America game.
“A lot of kids play AAU basketball with well-known and well-publicized teams and Saniya chose to stay here and try to win a state championship with this team,” Ricci said. “She was told that if she stayed, she wouldn’t be seen by any major colleges and she wouldn’t be an All-American. Well she’s going to the best college basketball program in the country but she’s going to be an All-American. She not only did it, she did it her way.”
Ricci said Chong is so humble off the court that a lot of the fanfare and publicity hasn’t fazed her or her classmates at Ossining High School.
“She’s the most humble and hard working person you’ve ever met in your life,” Ricci said. “She always says yes to every interview or any request and she’s always humble and positive and hard-working. She’s just a great kid.”
Chong credited her friends and community for helping her become an All-American.
“I couldn’t have done this without my fans, family and friends in this community,” she said. “Everyone in Ossining, especially Coach Ricci, has helped push me so hard and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them and their support.”