Girls: Andra Espinoza-Hunter returns home
Clearly one of the top players in the country, 5'11" guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter '17 is a longtime UConn commit for over 2 years already. She played her 7th and 8th grade years for Ossining H.S. before making the move to Blair Academy in New Jersey for the start of her H.S. years.
Having proven that she is among the nation's elite, Espinoza-Hunter has decided for her senior year to come home as she announced this past weekend that she is transferring back to Ossining to help the Pride make yet another run at Class "AA" State and Federation Championships.
A star who has played for Team USA on the U-16 level in the past, Espinoza-Hunter said she had always thought about coming back to play at Ossining, having missed a lot of her teammates and friends from the past, and felt like her senior year was the perfect time to make the move.
"I have been thinking about it for a while and last week my brother was with Coach Ricci at a little BBQ and my brother then came up to me and said maybe you should consider coming home," Espinoza-Hunter said. "I started after that to think about it and if this was something I wanted to actually do and then I sat down with my mom and I decided I was going to come back."
One of the more fun experiences for Espinoza-Hunter was the call to Ossining head coach Dan Ricci to inform him of her decision.
Always known as a bit of a character, Espinoza-Hunter said she had maintained a great relationship with Ricci even after she made the move to transfer to Blair Academy, a decision she said Ricci fully supported, and that he was more than ecstatic at getting the news from her that she was coming home.
"He was real happy," Espinoza-Hunter admitted. "He has always told me that he loves coaching me and that he has always been a fan of mine and that if I were to come back I would be welcome so when I told him I was coming back he was happy."
Having already achieved just about everything she could've wanted individually including being named to Team USA's U-16 team last summer, being a commit to UConn and legendary head coach Geno Auriemma, and being an All-New Jersey performer, Espinoza-Hunter admitted there is some unfinished business for her left at Ossining.
They have been NYSPHSAA Class "AA" State Champions for 5 straight years now, with Espinoza-Hunter helping lead them to one as an 8th grade when she was already averaging double digits for the Pride at 12 points per game, but she didn't get to lift the Class "AA" Federation Championship with the Pride.
Ossining won the Federation crown first time last season, and while she may be a major star individually, she just wants to help the Pride get back to that point again and lead her hometown school to the promise land once again.
"We are going to take it one step at a time. We want to win sectionals and then regionals and then hopefully a state title, and if we can repeat as Federation Champions that's great and a big goal for us as well," Espinoza-Hunter explained.
With her move back to Ossining now finalized the question of how will she be motivated could easily come into play, but with a great family behind her she says her desire to get better and be the best she can be is what pushes her every day.
"I am going to be going to UConn so that pushes me every day because I want to be on the court for a national champion helping them win so I know I need to get better every day still, and my family as well, they are behind me helping me become the best player that I know I can be."
Becoming the best player she can be will be Ossining's benefit as one of the best in the country has now officially come home.