Sunday, January 24, 2010

You Don't Mess Around With Jim

Not surprisingly, UConn's commits and recruiting targets want to know what's going on with Jim Calhoun. What they're hearing from the Huskies' coaching staff is that the coach is fine, will be back this season and will certainly be back on the sidelines next year.

It doesn’t appear the staff has told the recruits what Calhoun’s ailment is (though “high blood pressure” apparently was the message relayed to at least one recruit) or how long he’ll be out.

“Coach (Patrick) Sellers said he was going to be OK,” Michael Bradley said. “He said they’ve got Coach (George) Blaney right now, it’s like (not) skipping a beat.”

Of course, if for whatever reason Calhoun is unable to coach UConn next year, Bradley, Roscoe Smith and others would consider going elsewhere. But they don't seem at all concerned that will be the case.

Brandon Knight? Yup, he's been asking, too.

“His family did ask me about Coach Calhoun,” said Dave Beckerman, the New Haven native who coaches Knight, a senior, down at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “With (Calhoun’s) latest announcement, they want to know what’s going on. I told them, ‘I don’t know, but from my knowledge, Coach Calhoun is a very intense, discipline coach. It looks like it’s not a physical problem, he just needed some rest and some time off.’”

Knight, a 6-3 point guard who is averaging 31 points, eight rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals per game this season, has narrowed his list of schools down to UConn, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida and Miami, in no particular order. He was slated to make his final official visit to Miami this past weekend, according to Beckerman.

It appears Knight won’t make a commitment until after his high school season is over in March. That will give Knight, a potential one-and-done college player, the chance to gauge what kind of talent teams have coming back for a potential run to a national championship next season.

Of course, the other inherent problem with Calhoun’s health issues is the potential for negative recruiting. You can almost hear an assistant, even a head coach from another program whispering to a recruit, “Hey, you can go to UConn, but can you be assured Jim Calhoun will be there for the next few years? Or even next year?”

Hurd, however, doesn’t believe that will be a big problem for Calhoun.

“There are a few guys you don’t mess with," said Hurd, "and he’s one of them.”

Read more about this in tomorrow's Register.

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