Posted on: June 8, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:28 am
Posted by Matt Norlander
The news of Connecticut landing highly touted 2011 prospect DeAndre Daniels could cause an array reactions for Huskies fans, all of them positive.
Make no mistake about it -- the commitment is huge and meaningful on a lot of levels. Daniels had offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas (where he originally verbally committed to) and plenty of others, but he chose Storrs, Conn., to be his home for the 2011-12 season. It was a very surprising choice; many didn't even considering Connecticut to be a viable player in Daniels. Yet Jim Calhoun made it happen. Let that sink in, as it's probably going to be the last huge recruiting coup for Calhoun. It's one of his biggest. The man still has it, unbelievably.
This means UConn will have a team that's worthy of the preseason top 25 and should be thought of as an NCAA tournament team next season. Daniels will arrive on campus with Ryan Boatright, and extremely athletic guard who leaps out of the gym.
UConn will be fun, but young and frustrating.
The Daniels news, exciting as it may be, quickly takes a back seat to the conceit that Calhoun will be back. He has to be. No way Daniels commits to UConn if he doesn't have a guarantee from the 69-year-old coach that the 69-year-old coach will be returning, right? We're still waiting for official word from Calhoun that he'll be back, and I'd expect that news to come by the end of next week. All of this is savvy, classic Calhoun, and Huskies fans are no doubt reveling in this today. The program won't drift back to the pack. Not yet, at least.
Is this the right decision for Calhoun? Only he knows that right now. Retiring on top, after winning a national title, seemed the right way to go. But Calhoun doesn't seem to care about tying up his career with a bow. He wants to leave UConn with a sense of national prominence (he's said that means a top-10-program-type reputation, which exists today), knowing he built this thing from the earth with his bloodied knuckles. He's done that, and he's not done yet, it seems.
Calhoun has always loved proving doubters wrong, making cynics look silly. Once again, he keeps going while we keep underestimating what he's capable of. There are still three years left on that contract. I used to believe there was no way he'd finish those out. Now I'm wondering how he'll manage to pry himself away before it expires.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 8:36 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
For the latter stages of DeAndre Daniels’ recruitment, most of the discussions revolved around two schools: Kansas and Texas.
Would Daniels go back to the school where he gave his original commitment (Texas) or would he head to the Longhorns’ conference rival?
On Tuesday evening, Daniels finally made his decision. The 6-foot-7 California native chose . . . Connecticut?
“With the style of play and with what [Jeremy Lamb] did last year, we think that he’ll be able to be successful,” IMG Academy coach Vince Walden told Scout.com’s Evan Daniels, who broke the story. “With his ability to put the ball on the floor he could be a nightmare matchup. He’s a winner. We truly believe that.”
Based on Daniels’ entire recruitment, it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that his commitment ended up being a curveball. He originally committed to Texas, but opened up his recruitment and has since had multiple supposed “favorites.” At one time, it was Kentucky; another time, Duke. Daniels was also going to leave IMG Academy (Fla.) at the semester break and head to college this past January.
In the last few weeks, schools like San Diego State and Oregon joined the seemingly random fray of options.
But, it seems to be over now. Sources told Scout.com that Daniels will sign a financial aid agreement, as the date to sign a letter-of-intent has passed.
Daniels joins Ryan Boatright in Connecticut’s recruiting class for the fall.
Photo: NBA Camp
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:23 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
The grad-student loophole is gaining popularity. Even the steady recruiting machine at the University of Kansas is considering adding a refurbished gear next season.
Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World says 6-foot-7 forward Andre Walker, who has graduated from Vanderbilt with a year of eligibility remaining, is considering Kansasamongst a handful of schools vying for the rights to his final tour of duty.
With both Morris brothers headed for the NBA, the Jayhawks took a major hit in the areas of size and experience in the frontcourt. Reserve Thomas Robinson is expected to flourish in a starting role next season, but the team is looking for depth and support at the forward position. Walker is clearly more of a backup option rather than a star, but his size and experience, as well as his ability to pass out of the post, must be coveted by KU head coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks recently struck out in an attempt to nab La Salle transfer Aaric Murray, a 6-10 post player who will instead sit out a season at West Virginia before getting back on the floor.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:55 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
When he committed to North Carolina State in November of his junior year, many people felt Joseph Uchebo could develop into one of the better centers in the conference. Due to his athleticism and raw talent, Uchebo’s potential is higher than most players at his position.
Next season, the top-100 recruit won’t be able to fulfill that potential in Division I.
According to a source, Uchebo plans to go the junior college route and enroll at Chipola (Fla.).
“He’s not going to qualify,” the source said.
Since decommitting from NC State in April, the 6-foot-10 Nigeria native was being pursued by Kentucky, Wake Forest, Florida State and others.
Former Maryland commit on visit
Of the three Maryland recruits that received a release from their letters of intent, two have already made their second decision. Nick Faust recommitted to Maryland, while Sterling Gibbs popped for Texas.
The third, Martin Breunig, is taking his time with a decision.
“Everyone with a scholarship has called,” Martin Esters, Breunig’s mentor, said. “A lot of people have asked. We are trying to find out who has a genuine interest.”
Right now, Breunig is on an official visit to Washington. Esters is not sure what other colleges Breunig will visit.
“We have to talk about it,” Esters said. “I am waiting on his impressions from Washington. He is interested in seeing a mid-major, though, to compare.”
He also mentioned that the Terrapins were not out of the mix for the 6-foot-9 Germany native.
DeAndre Daniels decision postponed
The biggest decision of Wednesday was supposed to come from DeAndre Daniels, the top-rated player left on the board.
Of course, going along with his roller-coaster and unpredictable recruitment, Daniels has pushed back his announcement.
“He will announce tomorrow morning,” IMG Academy (Fla.) director Andy Borman said.
Daniels, a 6-foot-8 small forward, is considering Kansas and Texas.
Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 4:29 pm
Posted by Matt Jones
Every year, there is one elite high school basketball basketball player whose recruiting process turns into an exhausting, never-ending circus that becomes associated with the kid forever. Last year, it was Terrence Jones, who held a press conference to announce he would attend Washington, only to call John Calipari in tears immediately thereafter. Jones later changed his commitment to Kentucky, but his inability to make a decision in the first instance has given him the label of indecisiveness that has stuck with him ever since. Such recruitments stick with even the best of kids as they make a process that others seem to be able to complete at a normal pace, extend into perpetuity.
This year's version is DeAndre Daniels, an athletic small forward from the IMG Academy in Florida, who is now entering (we hope) the final moments of his college selection process. For those who have followed Daniels's high school career, the ride has been long and bumpy. Daniels seemed to initially have his process finished in 2009, when he made an early commitment to Rick Barnes and Texas. At that point, Daniels was considered an elite prospect and throughout most of his high school career, his future as an integral part of the Longhorn program seemed certain.
But then, early in his senior season at IMG, Daniels reopened his recruiting process in order to let all of the top programs in America give their sales pitches. Two of the elites, Kentucky and Kansas, attempted to convince Daniels that he should graduate from IMG early and potentially enroll in college during the second semester of the 2010-2011 season. Daniels considered both options, but ultimately decided to remain at IMG and be recruited throughout the course of the school year. Other top programs such as Duke and Florida then made contact, and for a time period, Daniels was like the final attractive girl sitting at the bar before last call...pursued by all with alone (or holding an open scholarship) with an extra sense of desperation because of the lack of other candidates.
Now we are just a few short days away from the end of the Spring signing period and Daniels still has yet to make a decision. May 18th is the final day in which a player can sign a Letter of Intent and nearly all of the few remaining elite players are planning on picking a school by that deadline. But there is no requirement that a player sign a Letter of Intent to play college basketball and Daniels has given no indication that he is planning on signing or announcing by the deadline.
In fact, Daniels has given recruiting observers little indication of any of his plans at this point. For most of the past month, it had been assumed that Coach K was working his blue devil magic on Daniels and had him headed towards Durham to join an already stacked roster for next season. But then today, Jeff Goodman reported that Duke was no longer an option for Daniels as speculation about potential academic hurdles erased the hastily arranged marriage. Kentucky has basically stopped recruiting Daniels this spring, leading most to assume that Kansas and Texas are the two favorites for his services. Whether Daniels picks either of those schools, signs a Letter of Intent or simply shocks everyone by choosing a path that no one has yet predicted, remains to be seen. Daniels final decision is (along with the reopening on Thursday of former Maryland commitment Nick Faust's recruitment) the final major story of the 2011 recruiting class and will go a long way in deciding the fortunes and playing time of a number of major college basketball programs next season.
For my purposes, I am openly pulling for Daniels to close his bizarre recruiting path by choosing to become a Longhorn. It would be the height of absurdity if two years after his original commitment and following six months of heated pursuit by nearly all of college basketball's elite programs and coaches, Daniels ended up right back where he started, playing for Rick Barnes at Texas. Every recruiting class needs a player whose path is so ridiculous that it becomes memorable. Deandre Daniels is well suited to become just that player.