The phone call when a prep athlete tells a college coach she wants to be part of the coach's program is hard to top, as phone calls go.
Natalie Romeo, a 5-foot-7 guard from Carondelet High School in Concord, Calif., made that call Thursday.
The coach on the other end was Nebraska’s Connie Yori.
“My high school coach set up a three-way call with Coach Yori,” Romeo said Friday. “And I told her I wanted to be a Cornhusker.”
That was music to Yori’s ears. Romeo averaged 21.4 points, 6.7 assists and 6.3 steals last season. A quick look at her video on YouTube shows a player who can handle the ball with either hand, drive to the basket and shoot the three-pointer.
“My passing ability is pretty good,” Romeo said. “And I don’t give up, no matter what. I try to be encouraging to my teammates. I shoot three-pointers, but I also like to drive and kick a lot.”
Romeo said her father put together an AAU team when she was in fifth grade. When that team started traveling and Romeo was competing against top-flight opponents, she started to realize she could have a college career. Going into her junior year, Romeo was being recruited by the likes of Utah, Oregon State, Louisville and St. Mary’s.
A little less than a year ago, Nebraska entered the picture.
“Coach Yori told me they really liked the way I played,” Romeo said. “I push the ball up the floor and they liked my passing ability. She said I like to play fast, so Nebraska was a good fit for me.”
Romeo, who is ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 38 guard, suffered a dislocated kneecap and strained MCL earlier this summer but said she expects to be ready for the start of her senior season.
Nebraska’s 2014 recruiting class now includes Romeo, 6-2 forward Kaylee Page of Wamego, Kan., and 5-7 guard Jasmine Cincore of Eads, Tenn.