Breaking News
More () »

Shade, Samuels, El Alfy, Arnold sign commitment letters for UConn

These four make up UConn's 2023 signing class.

STORRS, Connecticut — The UConn women’s basketball team announced Wednesday four of the 2023 signing class.

Ashlynn Shade, Qadence Samuels, Kamorea "KK" Arnold, and Jana El Alfy have signed their national letters of intent to join the Huskies next year.

It is part of a weeklong early signing period for Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball players that started Wednesday.

RELATED: Swin Cash's number to be retired from UConn women's basketball

Shade, a 5-foot-10 guard from Noblesville, Indiana, is nationally ranked at No. 15, according to ESPN. She committed to UConn earlier this year and made it official on Wednesday.

The teenager was named the 2021-22 Gatorade Indiana Girls Basketball Player of the Year after an impressive junior season at Noblesville High School. She will play her senior season of high school at La Lumiere.

Geno Auriemma on Ashlynn Shade:

“When I talk about getting tougher, getting physically tougher, and getting more athletic, I don’t think there’s anyone like Ashlynn who’s physically tougher and who’s that athletic and has that kind of midrange and is that competitive defensively. I think in Ashlynn we’re getting the definition of an old school really good basketball player. You can’t even pigeonhole her into a position, you can just say she’s just a really good basketball player.”

Samuels, a 6-foot-2 wing from Forestville, Maryland, is ranked at No. 41. She plays for Bishop McNamara, which is part of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference where current Husky star Azzi Fudd also played in at St. John’s.

Geno Auriemma on Qadence Samuels:

“Qadence addresses our desire to get more athletic, to get longer. She’s one of those kids that is deceptively competitive. When you look at her on the court, you just think it’s smooth and skillful. But she has this edge to her that’s really dynamic. I think she’s one of the better shooters coming out of this class. She’s a really impressive shooter and she’s not adverse to mixing it up and she wants to take big shots. Qadence is a tremendous teammate and comes from a family with a lot of players who have competed at the college level. She understands exactly what this is all about.”

El Alfy, a 6'4" center from Cairo, Egypt that played for Al Ahly Sporting Club previously, will be UConn's first player from Egypt. She's represented Egypt in FIBA competitions three times. At the 2022 U18 African Championship, she led the tournament with 24.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, leading Egypt to silver. 

She's participated in the NBA Academy Women’s Program since 2019 – fellow alums include current UConn players Aaliyah Edwards and Nika Mühl.

Geno Auriemma on Jana El Alfy:

“I think the skills Jana has are skills that translate well into the way basketball is played today. She’s a big kid who’s athletic and can play on the perimeter. She can score, she can rebound. She’s played a lot of basketball growing up. Her father is the national team coach, so she really understands the game. There’s an understanding from everyone of where Jana wants to go and what Jana wants to be. She wants to set an example for all the young girls not just in Egypt but in all of Africa.”

"KK" Arnold, a 5'9" point guard from Germantown, Wisconsin is ESPN's No. 6-ranked recruit in the 2023 class and the second-ranked point guard. As a junior at Germantown High School last season, she averaged 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 4.4 steals per game, leading Germantown to the Greater Metro Conference championship. Arnold is a two-time Associated Press Wisconsin State Player of the Year and she is a two-time Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year.

Geno Auriemma on KK Arnold:

“KK’s probably the first point guard since Moriah [Jefferson] that plays at that pace and is a little bit stronger. She can push the tempo for us. Watching her play this summer, it was especially noticeable how aggressive she was getting into the lane, and defensively being disruptive. She’s a terrific leader and her teammates respond to her leadership. We think of all the point guards that are coming out of high school, she fit us better than anyone else.”

RELATED: UConn Athletics to launch UConn+ streaming platform


Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com



Download the FOX61 News APP

iTunes: Click here to download

Google Play: Click here to download

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.

Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.


Before You Leave, Check This Out