How Alex Karaban went from New England HS star to starting for the national champions
The Southborough, MA native played a key role in the Huskies' title run.
Alex Karaban went more than a year without playing in a live basketball game. It was worth the wait.
He ended 2020-’21 as the New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year at New Hampton in New Hampshire, winning the NEPSAC Class AAA championship before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. Two years later, he’s starting in the Final Four for one of the most dominant college teams of the modern era.
Karaban didn’t play in the 2021-2022 season due to an injury at IMG and his redshirt after enrolling early at UConn. The Massachusetts native had a lot to prove.
“I love basketball so much and to not play for two years …. I just had to release that anger out on an opponent,” Karaban said.
Once he got on the court, the 6-foot-8 forward wasted no time. He scored 13 points against Stonehill in the 2022-’23 season opener. He was a starter from the second game, hitting double-digit scoring seven times in the first eight games.
He rarely, if at all, looked like a freshman.
“[Karaban] does so many little things that probably go unnoticed until you watch the film a second or third time,” head coach Dan Hurley said. “So much nuance to what he can do.”
He finished fourth on the Huskies in scoring (9.3 points per game) and rebounding (4.5 pg) while logging a team-high 1,129 minutes, shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 40.2 on 3-pointers, making 66, second-most on the team behind Jordan Hawkins. He had the 59th-best individual O-Rating in the country in KenPom.
Karaban was not just any freshman. His old high school coach referred to him as “one of a kind.”
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