Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rodney Purvis Transfer Helps Kick Off 'Era of Good Feeling' at UConn

The college basketball season is over (save for that pesky women's game tonight). No more talk of postseason bans and APR. It's all about moving forward now for UConn after this year's season in limbo, and the vibes coming from Storrs these days are very positive.

The buzz of construction trucks are a constant reminder of work on the new practice facility, which UConn officials hope will be done by the start of the 2014 season. Most, if not all, of this past season's team will return for next season (nothing official on Shabazz Napier yet, but all signs point to his return). Rodney Purvis, a talented and likeable kid, is transferring from NC State -- a very nice get for Kevin Ollie and his staff.

And while the Huskies aren't in the ACC or Big 10 like they want to be (yet), they'll be in a new league next season that won't be half-bad. The American Athletic Conference, after all, will feature the defending national champion (Louisville, for one season anyway), as well as good programs like Memphis and Temple and potential up-and-comers like SMU, Houston and Central Florida. For a year, at least, it will be at least as good (if not better) than the "new" Big East/Catholic 7 league.

Throw in three good recruits (so far) for next season and the Era of Good Feeling has begun in Storrs.

The addition of Purvis, the McDonald's All-America, for the 2014-15 season is a big coup for the Huskies. Purvis, who will complete his classes this semester at NC State before transferring, can play both guard positions at a very high level. If he wants to be a point guard, as has been written, he should be able to flourish in a UConn system that doesn't necessarily have a defined "point guard," per se.

In NC State's more controlled offensive system, Lorenzo Brown (who, ironically, recently declared for the NBA draft) was the point guard this past season, no if's, and's or but's. But in the Huskies' more run-oriented system, several different players can put the ball on the floor as point, or fill the lanes as two-guard. Purvis can flourish in either role.

And, as a well-liked kid who's well-connected on the AAU circuit, it's not unreasonable to think that Purvis could attract other top players to Storrs.

As for other guards UConn is recruiting for 2014, the program is still looking for players who can handle the ball. Assuming Ryan Boatright goes pro after next season, the Huskies would only have one true point guard in Terrence Samuel for '14. So while Purvis's transfer means the program may not need to recruit two new ballhandling guards, UConn is still on the lookout for one.

The Huskies apparently have interest in Bronx point guard Shane Rector, who de-committed from Rutgers today in the wake of the Mike Rice fiasco. UConn is one of several schools to reach out to Rector, according to Kelvin Jefferson, his coach at South Kent School.

It's not all wine and roses for the Huskies just yet. No doubt, they'd still like an invite to one of the BCS conferences. The Enosch Wolf situation still has to be resolved. Inevitably, other issues will crop up.

But the page is turned on this past season in limbo. No more postseason ban talk, which is a relief to everyone (writers included!). The program is moving forward, and things are looking positive in Storrs.

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