Name: Renee Montgomery
Height: 5'7"
Position: Guard
Class: Senior
School: Connecticut



Montgomery entered her senior season as a starter in UConn's backcourt for the fourth consecutive campaign — a feat not many can claim, especially for a Husky point guard. Montgomery is not just your average point guard, however, as the 5-7 speedster combines an improving jumper with the ability to find her teammates in the open floor. Another fast-rising prospect, Montgomery is a quick player who has shown an ability to be a shutdown perimeter defender. Montgomery has improved her scoring in each of the last four seasons, and is averaging a career-high 5.5 assists per game in 2008-09.



"Montgomery has probably been the best point guard in college basketball this year. She's having a great season for the number one team in the country."



Graham Hays, Women's Basketball Contributor for ESPN

She's certainly used to being surrounded by WNBA-level talent. Make no mistake, the individual components of her game each paint a picture of a potential top pick, but deconstructing Montgomery's game risks missing the essence of who she is. More than a shooter, distributor, penetrator or defenders, she's a complete basketball player with tremendous leadership ability.



Joe Perez of the Norwich Bulletin

John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant

Many draft boards have Montgomery's stock rising up draft charts, even into the top-5. What do you attribute her senior season success to?

JP: It’s hard to argue against Renee Montgomery being the best point guard in the nation. What she’s done, particularly over the last two seasons, is develop into the kind of player who can take over games. Montgomery had always wanted to be a leader at UConn – from Day One. But she bided her time and began to really exert her will during her junior season. The team has taken on her personality and when the game is on the line, the ball is in Montgomery’s hands.

JA: During the first three years of her career, Renee did what most underclassmen committed to the team concept with skilled seniors do - she allowed the older kids to shine. Charde Houston, Barbara Turner, Ann Strother are all WNBA players and she gave them the ball. But now the ball belongs, for the most part, to Maya Moore and herself and her scoring ability and leadership skills are beginning to emerge.

As of January 23, UConn's floor general is averaging a career-high 17.1 ppg. How has her offensive game progressed throughout her career as a Husky?

JP: After an injury forced Montgomery to take on a greater scoring role during her junior season, it seemed as if it improved the other elements of her game and it’s carried over to today. Supremely confident, Montgomery has gone from a game manager to distributor to a top offensive option. This year in particular, Montgomery has rolled all of those into one. In the past when Montgomery has tried to take over a game, some of the better teams in the country might have had an answer for her. So far this season when she’s needed to take command of a game, Montgomery has left the opposition looking helpless.

JA: Montgomery has always considered herself a strong offensive player. But she wasn't asked to play the role, first and foremost, until nearly one half of her junior season was over. UConn lost guards Kalana Greene and Mel Thomas to season-ending ACL injuries within a month last season and Geno Auriemma was forced to move Montgomery from point to shooting guard as a result. That helped mature her offensive focus.

A four year starter at PG for UConn, a feat not many Huskies have been able to accomplish. How has she been able to hold down the job for so long and what areas has she improved on the most throughout her career?

JP: She's a tireless worker who is never satisfied or content with what happened in the last game. When you think about the history of UConn women's basketball and all of the great players to have played for the Huskies, Montgomery is among them. She is the third player to rank in the school's all-time top 10 in points, steals and assists ( Svetlana Abrosimova and Shea Ralph). She is also only the third player to have 1,500 points and 500 assists (Jennifer Rizzotti and Diana Taurasi). Her improvements have come in nearly every facet. The one that's impressed me the most is how she's developed from a third or fourth option to someone the team relies upon as much or more than Maya Moore. Her shooting touch has improved greatly. What she's also learned is that it's OK to get your own shot, especially if her teammates aren't open. It may sound as if she's selfish, but quite the contrary. Unless she's wide open, she'll look to pass first.

JA: Montgomery rarely losses focus and is one of the most intense players Auriemma says he's ever had. He compares her heart and mindset to a prizefighter. She is not afraid to speak her mind at practice and on the floor; Auriemma loves the "general" which is a part of her personality. She can be a streaky shooter - as most women seem to be - but she is not afraid to shoot. And now she is learning how to incorporate her old job, dishing the ball, with her new one, scoring the points.

What has impressed you most about Renee in her four years at Connecticut?

JP: For starters, Montgomery is highly competitive and won't back down from a challenge. She’s driven the lane against the likes Courtney Paris, Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles undeterred. Montgomery is full of courage and heart; you just don’t find that in most players.

JA: She is one of the nicest kids you'd ever want to meet off the floor and one of the toughest on it. She truly believes in team first.

In what area can Renee help a WNBA team out the most in come April's draft?

JP: It all depends on what a team needs. Montgomery is very well-rounded. If a team were looking for a passing point guard only, she’s going to be under utilized. Put in a situation where she has the freedom to be a scoring option yet still be expected to run the offense, she will thrive. The more responsibility placed on her shoulders, the better. She’ll play at whatever tempo, although she loves being able to run, and if given the chance, is unafraid of being the one who drives a dagger through the opposition's heart.

JA: Montgomery will bring the experience of leading a perennial national powerhouse to the No. 1 ranking and the Final Four to the WNBA. Not many point guards with her skill can say that. That will distinguish her immediately from Tolliver, Zellous and any other point guards teams may consider in the top 10.

How does her game compare to some of the other top collegiate senior point guard prospects, including Kristi Tolliver, Shalee Lehning and Kristi Cirone?

JP: The biggest difference between Montgomery and the others is that she's less likely to cost her team a game. That's not meant as a knock on the other players, but the reality is that Montgomery's game is more complete. She can find the open shooter as well as her peers, but she is a better defender and an even better offensive weapon. Montgomery can drive the lane (almost exclusively going to her right hand), shoot the mid-range or long-distance jumper. When you look at the caliber player available at the position, Montgomery is the best and her credentials speak to that. When the season began, there were a lot of debates as to who was better, Montgomery or Toliver? You don’t hear that question anymore because of the fantastic season Montgomery is having.

JA: Players that are incubated at UConn seem to have a maturity and understanding of the game's foundation that comes from playing for Geno Auriemma. Montgomery knows what's important and will have been through everything a college player can be through by the time April rolls around. She can score, assist and play defense. She is not afraid to get into the face of teammates if they aren't playing up to speed. She will be a great pro.




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