Greg Stokes has heard the rumors about his daughter. Wednesday, he shot them down.
“Kiah is not looking to go anywhere else,” Stokes said. “She wants to succeed at UConn.”
A 2011 graduate at Linn-Mar High School — she was the Gazette Female Athlete of the Year that year — Kiah Stokes is a member of Connecticut’s NCAA national-championship team. The Huskies wrapped up the title with a convincing 93-60 rout of Louisville in the title game Tuesday at New Orleans.
“From a father’s perspective, to watch your girl fulfill one of her dreams — to see the joy and enthusiasm in being the best in the country — you just can’t explain it,” Greg Stokes said while waiting for a flight home from Detroit.
The 2012 Big East Conference newcomer of the year, Kiah Stokes’ contribution level dwindled during her sophomore campaign. She averaged 2.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as UConn went 35-4.
A 6-foot-4 post, Stokes collected 14 points and 11 boards in the Huskies’ first-round NCAA win over Idaho. She played 20 minutes in that game, but only a combined 27 in the next five tournament games.
Rumors had been circulating around town that Stokes was unhappy and would be leaving UConn.
Kiah Stokes did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday, the day the Huskies were being welcomed home at Storrs.
Greg Stokes said, “I think it would be correct to say that it’s been a disappointing season for her. She’s been battling (leg and back) injuries.
“And the mental things, she’s had to deal with a lot. (Coach Geno Auriemma) has expectations for everybody, including her, that she has to bring it every time she steps on the floor.
“If she doesn’t bring it every day, she’s not going to be rewarded with playing time.
“She has the physical skills. That’s the easy part. Once she gets the mental aspect, she can be a beast.”
The pieces are there for Connecticut to win another title — or two — during Stokes’ stay in Storrs. Kelly Faris and Caroline Doty are the only key players that depart.
UConn will be the favorite to retain the crown in 2013-14.
“The sky’s the limit, and Kiah wants to be part of that,” Greg Stokes said.