Even with coach Jim Calhoun sidelined after last weekend’s
bike accident, the UConn men’s basketball program snared its first commitment from the
Class of 2013. And it’s a good one.
Kentan Facey, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Long Island
Lutheran High, has decided that Storrs is the place for him after an unofficial
visit on Wednesday.
“The style of play, the coaching staff, the academics
meet my standards,” he said of his decision to pick UConn over numerous other
Division 1 scholarship offers. “I can come in, work hard and earn my minutes.”
Facey made his visit with his New Rens AAU coach, Karriem
Memminger. They sat down and had a good conversation with UConn president Susan
Herbst, who helped ease Facey’s worries about the program’s one-year postseason
ban and Calhoun’s future.
“She pretty much cleared air about penalties they face
and made it clear that she would implement things so that wouldn’t’ happen
again,” said Facey, who maintains a 3.5 grade-point average. “She made it clear
the program is going upwards.”
As for whether Calhoun will be there for the final two
years of his contract, Facey said: “She didn’t go in-depth about that, but
enough to make me feel comfortable.”
Memminger was convinced about Calhoun staying.
“It’s all on Calhoun,” he said. “If you know Calhoun, you
know basketball is everything to him. I’ve been doing AAU for a while, and they’ve
been saying the last 6-7 years that Calhoun is leaving. It ain’t anything new.
You’re going to have to take that guy out of there with a coffin. That’s his
baby, he built (the program) from scratch.”
Memminger added that Herbst “gave every indication,
though didn’t come out and say it, that Kevin Ollie would be the successor.”
Said Facey: “Even if that happens, it’s still a good
situation. (Ollie) is a good guy, he’s got plenty of experience. There’s
nothing to lose there, in my opinion.”
Facey didn’t get to meet Wednesday with Calhoun, who’s at
home rehabbing after fracturing his hip in a bike accident Saturday. He’s met
him and talked to him several times before the accident.
“(Calhoun) was great,” said Memminger. “He said Kentan
was their No. 1 priority for bigs. They did a good job. They showed the kid
they wanted him.”
Facey did get to meet one of his idols on Wednesday. When
Facey first came to New York from Trelawny, Jamaica a couple of years ago, his
first introduction to college hoops was watching Kemba Walker lead the Huskies
to their improbable 2011 national championship. Walker was at Gampel Pavilion
“We had a brief chat, took a couple of pictures,” Facey
Facey is more of a face-up power forward than a classic
“He shoots 3’s, runs the floor,” Memminger said. “His
talent is a little different than some of the other big guys there. And he’s a
great kid, a 3.5 student. It helps UConn to bring in kids like that.”
Facey said he’s planning on focusing on civil engineering
when he gets to Storrs next year.
Facey really blew up this summer and was offered scholarships from programs such as USC, UCLA, Louisville, Pitt, Memphis, St. John's, Providence and Rutgers.
And the Huskies will be getting a visit from one of Facey's highly-touted New Ren teammates on Friday, when Class of 2013 shooting guard Terrence Samuel visits the campus with coach Sean Marks.
Started as UConn men's basketball beat writer for the New Haven Register in August, 2007. Before that, was traveling Boston Red Sox beat writer from 2004-06 for the Journal Register Co. (which included the Register).