Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kentan Facey commits to UConn

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 on Wednesday.

“We had a brief chat, took a couple of pictures,” Facey said.

Facey is more of a face-up power forward than a classic center.

“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.


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