A top prospect in the 2017 class, Chantel Horvat, a native of Geelong, Victoria (Australia) has seen her recruitment heat up recently, and for good reason.
Horvat, a 6’2” versatile wing, who is currently on a scholarship with the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in Canberra, was training with Australia’s representative team (the Opals), when she was noticed by veteran Opals member, Penny Taylor, who also plays for the Phoenix Mercury.
It was Taylor who put the call in to UCONN‘s Head Coach and friend, Geno Auriemma, alerting him to Horvat’s talent and suggesting UCONN take a look at her. A month or so later, after doing their due diligence, Horvat received an email from UCONN’s Assistant Coach Shea Ralph inquiring about her interest in playing college basketball and expressing their desire to recruit her.
When a program like UCONN, a school that exudes excellence and has a winning record to back it up, shows interest, it puts the whole recruiting process into perspective.
According to Horvat herself, “It’s pretty surreal to think that UCONN is now also one of the schools that are recruiting me. Their presence will definitely make it harder to make a decision now.”
Horvat’s parents, former Australian Socceroo Steve Horvat and his wife Tina added, “The addition of UCONN now being in the pool of schools recruiting Chantel is high praise for how far she has come as a basketballer. Obviously, they have been the most successful women’s college program in the past 20 years and for them to believe Chantel has a role to play there is an honour. Having said that, she is fortunate to have such an amazing list of schools that are interested in her. She has made us proud and we have no doubt she will continue to do so.”
With official visits coming up in the Fall, Horvat and her family recognise the importance of the decision that lies ahead for her. Horvat is eyeing her next step with careful attention to detail. Horvat commented, “There will be a number of factors that will come into play when I make the final decision. The conference, academics, player development, location and the overall vibe of the college, amongst other things, are all factors I will be taking into account.”
Further, Horvat noted “I haven’t locked in the 5 schools I will be visiting as it’s proving to be a difficult task to try to narrow that list down. I feel very honoured with the list of schools that have shown an interest in recruiting me.”
Per usual, for an Australian talent like Horvat, the recruiting process has been lengthy which her parents highlighted. “The recruiting has lasted well over 12 months now, and we have been mindful of Chantel’s emotions not getting too up or down throughout the process. We have tried to keep her focused on the present, her schooling, and CoE Scholarship…the college stuff will sort itself out eventually after the visits.”
Her parents followed up, “The decision of where to go to college will be hers and will most likely come down to the visits, however, we would like Chantel to go to a college that will push her both academically as well as on the basketball court. Having faith in our daughter’s ability and her happiness is our ultimate goal.”
There is no doubt that Horvat will be a positive addition to whichever school she ultimately decides upon, and she will continue to play a significant role in the Australian program as well. Horvat looks set to grow both as a basketball player and as a person in the coming months as her big decision awaits.
Australian women’s basketball has been shining on the international stage of late, and Horvat’s interest from UCONN is just another indication of that.