The long list of legendary UConn women’s basketball guards starts with the likes of Jen Rizzotti and Nykesha Sales and goes into more recent years with Moriah Jefferson and Paige Bueckers. The next on that long list? It could very well be Kamorea “KK” Arnold, the highest ranked player in the class of 2023 for the Huskies.
Arnold stands as ESPN HoopGurlz’s No. 6 ranked prospect in the 2024 class and is the second best point guard on the list. She doesn’t lack for accomplishments, logging a long history with USA basketball. A spot with team USA is something that is common for Huskies, with Bueckers, Azzi Fudd and others having already done so too, but is nonetheless a fantastic accomplishment. Arnold brought home the FIBA U16 trophy in 2021, contributing 34 total points and 12 boards over six games. She also helped out in America’s win in the 2022 3×3 U18 tournament and was a member of the first ever women’s team at the 2023 Team USA Nike Hoop Summit.
Aside from being successful outside of the States, she has also found success locally. Behind her average of 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals in her junior year, Arnold led Germantown High School to a Division I State Championship and a 29-1 mark. Along with the team success, Arnold is decorated with more accolades than most trophy cases can hold. She won AP’s Wisconsin Player of the Year award three times and twice won Wisconsin women’s basketball Gatorade Player of the Year, among many others. Arnold fell just short of the award this past year, which was pulled away by Connecticut 2024 commit Allie Ziebell. Perhaps her greatest achievement was being named to the McDonald’s All American squad, annually consisting of the 24 best players in the country.
While Arnold appears qualified on paper, the eye test is even more encouraging. Many players that UConn has recruited in the recent past don’t lack for confidence, but they aren’t flashy either. There have been very good basketball players, but sometimes a team needs an alpha, or someone who will score and let the other team know about it. Bueckers has added that attribute to a degree, but Arnold takes it to a whole new level. She brings an air of excitement to the court, where every possession she takes the ball up the court, it’s something to watch.
The Germantown, Wisconsin native is an excellent offensive player at all three levels. Contact doesn’t scare her, as she uses it to her advantage to finish at the rim. Although a tad undersized at 5-foot-9-inches, Arnold makes up for it with sturdiness, resilience and poise. She routinely is awarded old-fashioned three point plays, which compliments nicely with modern ones.
Arnold is deadly from behind the arc, with a stroke not quite as visually appealing or effective as Fudd, but still excellent. She has no hesitation in pulling the trigger, an attribute that helps greatly as a freshman, with many being overly tentative at a school with standards as high as UConn’s.
Her mid-range game is as potent as her inside and outside, with an effective sense of touch and judgment. The glue that holds the different aspects of Arnold’s scoring together is her handle and various dribble moves. As she creates space for herself, the move that stands out the most is her quick crossover, which compliments her in-and-out. They’re not complex moves, but she has them nailed down in a way that makes them tough to defend.
As a passer, Arnold is impressive. She makes nice reads and can deliver the ball in a number of flashy and conventional ways. Scoring comes first with Arnold, but when the defense tightens up around her, she is as adept at finding her teammates as anyone else. Her defense is great, with an exceptional knack for getting in the passing lanes and she can stay ahead of the offense. Her ability to read plays helps her on both sides of the ball and is what makes her so good as a point guard.
She displayed these skills already on Connecticut’s European tour. In three games against three overmatched local squads, Arnold averaged over 13 points per game and wowed fans with two six-assist games and one six-steal game. Take these numbers with a grain of salt, as many star players played less than they normally would, but it’s still an encouraging sight.
“KK’s probably the first point guard since Moriah [Jefferson] that plays at that pace and is a little bit stronger,” Coach Geno Auriemma said in a press release last fall. “She can push the tempo for us. Watching her play this summer, it was especially noticeable how aggressive she was getting into the lane, and defensively being disruptive. She’s a terrific leader and her teammates respond to her leadership. We think of all the point guards that are coming out of high school, she fits us better than anyone else.”
As stellar as Arnold is, minutes at UConn are difficult to come by. Bueckers is going to command at least 25 minutes per game and was recently fully cleared for action after tearing her ACL last year. Nika Mühl is fresh off a season where she set the all-time UConn record for assists in a single campaign and played 36.5 minutes a night. Although Mühl will likely play less than that, the whole situation leaves less minutes for Arnold than she’d get in most other places.
Unless the injury bug gets the Huskies as it has for the past few seasons and Arnold is thrust into a bigger role, think of this as a developmental year for her. She’ll get the chance to learn from two talented point guards that already have their names sufficiently etched in the UConn record books, while starting to make a name for herself. There are certainly worse situations to be in as a freshman. Regardless of what happens, Arnold is equipped with the skills needed to excel when her time comes. Until then, she will show the crowd flashes of potential when given the opportunity.