Haley Smith has yet to realize her full potential on the basketball court. She's hoping that four years in Boulder will help her to do just that.
On Sunday night, Smith, a 6-foot-1 wing from Sammamish, Wash., gave a verbal commitment to play for Colorado.
Smith took an official visit to CU over the weekend, returned home on Sunday afternoon and quickly called Buffs head coach Linda Lappe to tell her the news.
"I really love how it was kind of a family feel," said Smith, who plays at Skyline High School, located in a suburb just outside of Seattle. "I really got the impression that all of the staff and all of the players were really just one big family and they are really tight knit. It really felt like a team."
CU's newest assistant coach, Kelly Finley, led the recruitment of Smith and that proved to be key.
"I developed a great relationship with coach Kelly," Smith said. "She's really an amazing person and she really expressed how much she wanted to coach me and the potential she sees in me and how she really thinks that I can develop into an amazing player.
"I really wanted to be a part of that and be a part of the direction that Colorado is heading in."
Smith had narrowed her choices to CU and Northwestern. She took an official visit to Northwestern a week before visiting Boulder. That gave her an opportunity to compare the two schools with both visits "fresh in my mind."
Smith is the second player to commit to CU
Like Watts, Smith is a player with untapped potential. She averaged just 6.5 points per game in an injury-plagued season last year, but returned to help the Spartans make a deep playoff run.
Skyline coach Greg Bruns said Smith's numbers don't pop out because she's such an unselfish player. With a couple of stars from last year's team now gone, Bruns said he hopes Smith will blossom a bit more as an all-around player this upcoming season.
"We'd love for her to be that," he said. "We'll definitely give her a little bit more reign and see if she can be a little more selfish."
Bruns said Smith is a great jumper and defender, has a wide wingspan and is adept at getting rebounds and steals. He also added, "She makes everybody else better."
He said Smith plays and guards all five positions at Skyline, but figures CU will see her as a wing player because "she's got so much potential with her athletic ability and height."
Smith said she's heard from a lot of coaches that she's too unselfish on the court and said she is working on being more of an offensive threat.
"A big part of my game is being selfless and giving the ball to people, but definitely I have the ability to be a great offensive threat," she said. "That's something I'm excited with in working with coach Kelly and coach Lappe because they really have a vision for me that I really want to see come to fruition."
Smith is eager to play in the Pac-12 because she said she has family in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington that can come to see her play. ... Smith has been a state qualifier in cross country and track (middle distance) at Skyline. She placed 18th at state in cross country in 2010. ... In addition to being a three-sport star, Smith is an exceptional student. She was recently named as one of 21 students from her school district to be a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program. ... Lappe said during the summer she hopes to sign up to five players in the 2013 class. ... Smith and Watts both figure to sign during early signing period that runs Nov. 14-21.
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