Kelsey adds 6-foot-3 forward to 2012-13 roster

first_imgHead coach Bobbie Kelsey has been aggressive in addressing the UW’s lack of height heading into 2012-13. Daria Kryuchkova stands at 6-foot-3 while fellow recruit Malayna Johnson is 6-foot-4.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin women’s basketball program has already benefited from the competitive drive of head coach Bobbie Kelsey on and off the court. And Kelsey once again turned that approach over to the recruiting trail, as junior college transfer Daria Kryuchkova signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Wisconsin Monday.Originally hailing from Moscow, Russia, Kryuchkova (pronounced CRY-ooch-kova) played the last two seasons at Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Tex., where the 6-foot-3 forward averaged 4.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in her sophomore campaign. Kryuchkova originally gave Kelsey a verbal commitment this past December and comes to Wisconsin with two years of eligibility remaining.“We’re extremely pleased to sign Daria for the 2012 recruiting class,” Kelsey said in a statement. “She’ll add size, strength and, most importantly, collegiate experience to our young roster. Having already played on the collegiate level, Daria will have a unique perspective in all facets of the game.”The signing addresses the major needs of the Badgers in the frontcourt, as the team graduates both starting forwards Anya Covington and Ashley Thomas this offseason. This past year Covington averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a contest while Thomas chipped in 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds a game, respectively.With Covington and Thomas both measuring in at 6-foot-2 each, the Badgers roster for 2012-13 only contained one player taller than 6-foot-1 – the 6-foot-4 Cassie Rochel – before Kryuchkova’s signing. The Russian post player is just one player Kelsey had set her sights on during the past recruiting period, as the Wisconsin head coach also nabbed a verbal commitment from 6-foot-4 Malayna Johnson of Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill., the first commit of the 2013 recruiting class.Kryuchkova fills just one of Kelsey’s needs as she attempts to revive an underachieving Wisconsin program. Just a season ago, the Badgers ranked dead last in the Big Ten in rebounding offense, pulling in just 33 a game. On the other end of the spectrum, the Badgers limited opponents to only 34.9 rebounds a game, second best in the conference. With Rochel the only big left on Kelsey’s roster – the sophomore logged 4.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 15.8 minutes per game last season – the transfer adds several new options to Kelsey’s game plan.While the 2012 recruiting class – Kelsey’s first at Wisconsin – brings in plenty of talent and depth at the guard position, only one incoming recruit besides Kryuchkova in 6-foot-1 forward Shannon Malone from Flower Mound, Tex., will be added to the names in the team’s frontcourt options.The Badgers will need Kryuchkova to be able to run the floor on offense, as Kelsey runs a fast-paced transition game. But they will also need her to develop into a steady scoring threat, as the Badgers often relied on the three-pointer in games last year.Defensively, Kryuchkova will have to be active on weak side help for the team if the Badgers hope to improve their conference worst field goal percentage defense – giving up a .441 percentage from the floor to opponents – as the team often allowed easy drives through the lane.Besides adding depth to the Badger roster, the Russian forward will also be prepared for the academic demands of playing at Wisconsin. Kryuchkova brings in a perfect 4.0 grade point average from her time at Jacksonville, where she was a member of the President’s List and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.“She is also a very intelligent player having recently been named a NJCAA Academic All-American,” Kelsey said in her statement. “As her coach, I could not have asked for a more prepared player to join our program.”last_img

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