Player to Watch: Saniya Chong, Ossining
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Saniya Chong will likely go down as the greatest girls basketball player in Section 1 history. The Ossining star has already won two Section 1 titles, scored 2,000 career points and is the most recognizable athlete in the Hudson Valley.
And man, you should see her play volleyball.
“If she wasn’t a Division I basketball player,” Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. “she’d be a Division I volleyball player.”
Few people even know Chong plays the sport. Yet she enters her senior season the fall among the top players in the region, an almost trivial distinction when you consider her stature in basketball.
Chong is the most highly-recruited girls basketball player in Section 1 history, drawing UConn, Rutgers, Ohio State, Maryland, Louisville, St. John’s and many others. This fall, she has scheduled visits to Ohio State, Louisville and UConn.
But Chong’s prowess in volleyball validates incredible athletic ability. Even at 5-foot-9, she soars above the net and is a vicious finisher.
“She’s a spiker,” Ricci said. “She gets off the ground so well.”
While many would discourage an athlete of Chong’s ability to play multiple sports, Ricci has actually encouraged it.
Chong, who played varsity volleyball as a freshman, was actually a standout softball shortstop but instead now runs track in the spring. Perhaps the most amazing part of Chong’s volleyball abilities is that she only plays the sport three months a year. The rest of her time is spent on the basketball court.
“Colleges like seeing kids their recruiting in a different setting,” Ricci said. “I remember Louisville came here last year to see her play volleyball. They like seeing kids in that setting. They want to see a star athlete in one sport and see how they react when they’re not the star in another sport, to see how they are when they’re humbled a bit.
“The only problem is that Saniya has become a star in volleyball, too.”
Chong enters her senior year with her eyes on setting the Section 1 all-time scoring record and leading Ossining to its first state title.
“She’s improved a lot,” Ricci said. “She’ll surprise you.”
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