Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Look at Some Potential Recruits for UConn, as it Looks to the Future

Greetings. Just back from a nice, family vacation to Florida. Did Busch Gardens, then headed down to Marco Island for four days. Real nice. Went to a Red Sox game. Didn't realize how close I was to Florida Gulf Coast University, which (like the Red Sox' spring training facilities) is located in Fort Myers. Stayed away from Panama City.

Now we're back, and we've got our mind on UConn and its future. No doubt, there are plenty of questions to be answered. First and foremost, of course, is whether Shabazz Napier (and Ryan Boatright, and DeAndre Daniels) elects to stay in school or go pro. Napier recently told the Boston Globe that it's a "tough decision," and that nothing's been decided yet. He's still got a few weeks to decide, but with NBA scouts I've talked to nearly unanimous in agreeing he should stay, coupled with the fact that his injured foot could limit him in the harsh NBA workouts he'd be going through, there seems a very good chance he'll remain in Storrs.

Boatright and Daniels seem near-certainties to stay in Storrs at this point. Then there's the Enosch Wolf situation. Nothing has been determined yet, as UConn awaits the outcome of Wolf's case. He's not scheduled for another hearing for a few weeks. While Wolf wants to remain at UConn, Kevin Ollie has a tough decision on his hands, and with UConn already reeling from the APR situation that kept it out of this year's postseason (did you hear?) -- not to mention angling for a better conference and, with that, a better image -- it's not inconceivable that Ollie could come down very hard on Wolf.

There's also the Tyler Olander situation, but it appears his transgression (while embarrassing for him and the university) was far more minor than Wolf's. In fact, according to Neill Ostrout of the Journal-Inquirer, Wolf has been accepted into a Pretrial Diversion Program and his trespassing charge is likely to be dropped.

As it stands, UConn has nine current scholarship players -- Napier, Boatright, Daniels, Wolf, Olander, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Niels Giffey and Leon Tolksdorf. Former walk-on Brendan Allen was awarded a scholarship this past season, but it was made clear to Allen and his family that that was a one-year situation and, almost certainly, he won't be on scholarship next season.

The Huskies have three incoming players -- Kentan Facey, Terrence Samuel and Amida Brimah. That would take up 12 scholarships, leaving UConn with just one more to give -- again, assuming Napier, Boatright or Daniels don't leave, Wolf isn't booted off the team or some other unexpected transfer happens.

The Huskies will be looking for the best available player, preferably someone that can put the ball on the floor and score the ball, to fill that remaining skolly. Doesn't have to be a point guard, but with really just two ballhandlers (Napier and Boatright) returning (along with the addition of Samuel), UConn could use someone else who can take the ball up the floor. With most Class of 2013 prospects already committed, the Huskies will be scouring for de-commits from programs that went through coaching changes, etc., as well as JUCO players.

As for 2014, the Huskies are in on seemingly dozens of recruits. It's a key recruiting class, as Napier, Olander, Wolf, Giffey, probably Daniels and maybe Boatright will all be gone.

UConn is definitely interested in former Seton Hall guard Aaron Cosby, who recently left the Pirates' program. What's that, you say? Don't players have to sit out two years when transferring from one conference school to another? True, but, of course, Seton Hall (Big East) and UConn (Conference To Be Named Later) no longer reside in the same conference.

Still, Cosby would have to sit out one season, so he's not on the scope until 2014-15.

Three of the Class of 2014 players highest on UConn's wish list are L.J. Peak, a 6-5 small forward out of Chicago; Khadeen Carrington, a 6-3 shooting guard out of Brooklyn who visited UConn on First Night back in October and is making an unofficial visit to Storrs on Thursday; and Ahmed Hill, a 6-5 shooting guard out of Georgia.

The Huskies also have interest in Abdul-Malik Abu, a 6-7 forward who plays at Kimball Union, and his AAU teammate Jared Terrell, a 6-4 shooting guard up at Brewster Academy.

UConn has some peripheral interest in Jacquil Taylor, a 6-9 forward out of Beaver Country Day in Brookline, Mass. Taylor, who transferred from Cambridge Ringe & Latin two years ago and just turned 18, is an athletic forward who could fit in very well in Storrs.



At 210 pounds, Taylor needs to add some muscle. He also fractured his foot midway through this past season, had surgery and just got out of his cast. He's in a walking boot right now, is slated to get his final screws out in a little over a week and is expected to make a full recovery. However, he'll miss the entire spring and (possibly) summer AAU season.

Maryland is very high on Taylor, and VCU, Providence and St. Joseph's have also offered. Stanford and Purdue have recently gotten in on his recruitment. UConn assistant Karl Hobbs (a Ringe & Latin product himself) has come to see Taylor play and has been inquiring about him quite a bit, though Taylor has yet to hear personally from Ollie. According to Taylor's dad, Maurice, they were slated to make a visit to UConn this winter but a snowstorm, then Jacquil's injury, intervened. Maurice said they're hoping to sit down with Ollie and the coaching staff at some point in the near future.

And, of course, there's 7-footer Pascal Chukwu at Fairfield Prep.

UConn also has shown some mild interest in Bonzie Colson, a 6-6, Class of 2014 power forward in the Jeff Adrien mold out of St. Andrew's School in Barrington, R.I. Colson has offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers and George Washington, among others. UConn has only shown slight interest to this point.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the update, dave!

March 28, 2013 at 6:44 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

No prob

March 28, 2013 at 10:23 PM 

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