TUCSON, Arizona — Chandler native Madi Conner wanted to wear the Arizona colors long before they were a Final Four team.
"When I was getting recruited by them, they weren't that good, but I knew they were going to be good," said Conner.
Her intuition was as good as her timing. After graduating high school a semester early last year, she joined the Wildcats in what was technically her senior year of high school. She wouldn't lose a year of eligibility due to Covid-19 rules.
"I didn't expect Madi to come in and play right away just because she had to learn right away under fire, under pressure," said head coach Adia Barnes.
"I was definitely thrown into the fire but I think that helped me a lot," said Conner. " I definitely had to be where my feet were. And, it was a great experience. I learned a ton."
Conner mostly observed as the Wildcats reached the national title game.
"For her, it was a tremendous experience," said Barnes. "She was winning with us and going to the tournament."
This season, Conner returned as a true freshman, and with a chance for a regular role.
"I have confidence in my self and my shooting capabilities as well as other areas of my game," said Conner. " I put the work in so the results will show."
The work has paid off. She's a three-point specialist off the bench and is averaging six points in twelve minutes per game. Barnes is impressed with a maturity beyond her years.
"She's someone who I want to teach how to lead," said Barnes. "She's someone who I later want to fill a leadership role. She has the qualities for that. That's how much she's come along. And, she's a freshman."