UConn men’s basketball options when it comes to potential transfers

Dan Hurley wants to create a program from scratch, largely by recruiting top talent from high schools. His UConn men’s basketball team generally feels the same way.

Of course, dive into the transfer pool to fill a need here and there. Look no further than RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin.

But Hurley has turned both a moribund Rhode Island program and a cultureless UConn program into two NCAA Tournament qualifiers, mostly by recruiting and developing talent.

Unfortunately for Hurley, that’s just not the way to do it anymore. Not with over 1,100 players on the NCAA transfer portal and teams looking to age and improve immediately, without having to take a year or two to develop young players.

That’s how Providence went from a .500 team to the Big East regular season champion and the Sweet 16. That’s how Iowa State went from 2-22 to the Sweet 16. That’s how that Arkansas seems to do every year, including this year’s trip. to the Elite Eight.

This is how Kansas won a national championship.

That’s how it must be for UConn, especially now that six players from last season’s squad are moving on, including three starters, and the team is currently without a true point guard.

UConn focused on a dozen different players currently on the portal, breaking down movies about them and having daily discussions. This number will increase in the coming weeks as more players enter the portal and more engage in different programs.

It is a delicate process. On the one hand, it makes sense to let things unfold a bit before focusing on one player. On the other hand, the program cannot be too late to show its interest. How good a player is he? How accessible is it? Again, tricky process.

The Huskies currently have four scholarships open for next season. It seems unlikely that more will open. Will UConn fill all four slots? Will the Huskies fill two or three and carry one or two over the summer, or even leave them empty?

One thing is certain: UConn staff are looking for the best perimeter players they can find – point guard, shooter, small forward, big forward. The Huskies definitely want a point that can start right away. Jalen Gaffney and Rahsool Diggins might not have traded if Hurley hadn’t been honest with them about what the Huskies were looking for in the Portal.

Shooters must apply. Currently, UConn’s guards are Jordan Hawkins, Corey Floyd Jr. and Andre Jackson. Jackson is a dynamic athlete who can pass and defend, but shooting is not his specialty. Sure, he shot a respectable 36.1 percent on 3 (on just 61 attempts) last season. But ideally, Jackson would be surrounded by better shooters.

Cut? This is important, because the Huskies want to be able to switch effectively on defense. But if UConn can get a truly special player, size becomes less of an issue.

Hurley said he’s not ruling out bringing in a Class of 2022 player. The junior-college route isn’t a very likely option. At all. And Stephon Castle, a 6-foot-6 point guard rookie in the Class of 2023, isn’t likely to upgrade at this point.

“He’s an elite level goalscorer, nobody”

As for the transfer portal, here are the players that UConn has been publicly linked to:

Tristen Newton, 6-5 G, East Carolina, 17.7 ppg, 33.3 3-pointers: In a game only remembered for James Bouknight’s incredible one-handed dunk, Newton dropped 25 points to the Huskies freshman two years ago. Hurley certainly remembers that; Newton is a priority for the Huskies.

The junior even has a (distant) connection to UConn: Husky’s former assistant coach Raphael Chillious was an assistant at ECU when Newton was a freshman.

“A super, super smart, quiet kid,” Chillious said. “His game, I would consider it unorthodox, because you look at his shooting, he doesn’t look like the perfect form. But it fits. He’s always had a knack for scoring.

Chillious added that Newton is UConn’s coveted perfect scorekeeper, although he can also play with the ball.

“He’s an elite level scorer, an elite level person and I think he’s going to be an elite level player at major level,” added ECU assistant Steve Demeo last season.

Defending and ball sharing (151 assists, 104 turnovers) are areas where Newton needs to improve.

Newton told Hearst Connecticut Media that he hasn’t narrowed down his choices yet, but is currently discussing his options with his family and may soon be arranging official visits.

Devin Carter, 6-3 G, South Carolina, 9.0 ppg, 27.6 3-pointers: Sophomore announced Thursday that UConn was one of his final six schools, along with Arkansas, Providence, Oregon, LSU and UNLV.

Courtney Ramey, 6-3 G, Texas: 9.4 ppg, 36.5 3-pointers: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothsteinthe main guard has UConn interests with Kentucky, Missouri, Marquette, Villanova, DePaul, Gonzaga, Maryland, West Virginia, Wisconsin and several others.

Will Richard, 6-5 G, Belmont, 12.1 ppg, 32.6 3-pointers. pc: Belmont’s third leading scorer as a rookie last season was due to make an official visit to Florida on Thursday, according to Jake Weingarten of stockrisers.com. UConn, Arizona, among other interested schools.

Andre Curbelo, 6-1, 7.5 ppg, 17.6 3-pointers. pc: After a strong freshman season at Illinois in which he averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 assists, he had a dismal sophomore season last winter, maybe in part. because of a concussion suffered at the start of the season. A career 16.9 percent 3-point shooter, UConn’s interest is a bit of a surprise, but his skill could trump it all. The kid from New York is thought to be a skinny guy from St. John’s.

Jahmir Young, 6-1 G, Charlotte, 19.6 ppg, 34.1 3-pointers. pct. : According to ESPN’s Jeff BorzelloConference USA’s second leading scorer has heard of the Huskies, as well as Kansas, Xavier, Maryland, Florida, Miami, Georgetown and more.

Terrance Shannon, 6-6 G/F, Texas Tech, 10.4 ppg, 35.1 3-pointers. pc: The second leading scorer on an excellent Texas Tech team, the junior attracted early interest from UConn. However, the competition appears to be tight, with Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois reportedly also on him.

UConn will be linked with other players in the coming weeks, with some official visits expected to begin soon. Al-Amir Dawes, a 6-2 junior guard from Clemson who Hurley signed a few years ago, recently entered the portal and would seem like a good choice, although there is no indication the Huskies have inquired yet.

And if the Huskies end up looking for a 6-9 forward who can shoot a bit (32.4 3-pointers) and would like to return to Storrs, Jaiden Delaire could be available. Delaire, who just finished his senior season at Stanford, entered his name in the NBA draft but did not hire an agent. The North Granby product would like to come to UConn, according to his father, but so far the interest has been largely one-sided.


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