For a team that desperately needs inside help, Friday's news couldn't have come soon enough for Connecticut.
The Huskies announced that freshman forward Kentan Facey has been granted a waiver by the NCAA enabling him to play in the 2013-14 season and have four years of eligibility.
“I am so pleased and excited that everything has worked out for this outstanding young man,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said in a statement. “It's great to see him go through this situation and persevere. He just kept working very hard and believed in our university.”
Facey, a Jamaica native who played at Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.) the past three seasons, had a confusing situation that left his status for this season up in the air. Reports in August indicated that Facey had passed a standardized test back in Jamaica that was the equivalent of graduating high school. As a result, it essentially meant that his college eligibility clock could have started before he even got to Long Island Lutheran three years ago.
Now that Facey is cleared to play this season, Ollie has another piece to add to his frontcourt. The 6-foot-8 power forward is still somewhat raw offensively, but he has great length and athleticism. He's a shot-blocker who runs the floor well and has a nonstop motor. He's only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
Connecticut's perimeter is loaded, but the Huskies' frontcourt could be the key to their success. DeAndre Daniels is excellent at the four, but senior Tyler Olander didn't bring enough consistent production at the five last season. He will battle this season with Facey, sophomore Phillip Nolan and freshman Amida Brimah for minutes down low.
The Huskies open the season on Nov. 8 at the Barclays Center against Maryland. They are currently No. 20 in the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one).