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The UConn Fast Break - 4/22/2022
Mike Cavanaugh to stay at UConn, men's hoops is making progress on rebuilding the roster, and baseball is absolutely jamming.
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Mike Cavanaugh to remain at UConn
The legendary Boston College hockey coach Jerry York announced his retirement last week after 50 years on the collegiate bench, including 28 seasons at the helm in Chestnut Hill. For 18 of those years, UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh was on York’s staff, before he came to Storrs in 2013. It was no surprise that the North Andover native was a candidate to replace York.
The job is a great one. The Eagles have five national championships and 25 Frozen Four appearances, the latter of which is an NCAA record. Seventy-eight former players have suited up for an NHL game, of which 13 have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup. Despite being maroon and gold, Boston College is the bluest of the blue bloods in college hockey.
And yet, Cavanaugh reportedly turned them down. While sources close to Cavanaugh have said that the job was his if he wanted it, others are reporting Boston College is not yet ready to make a decision.
Regardless, the coach issued a statement on Thursday affirming his commitment to the Huskies.
To state the obvious: this was a risky moment, but it ended up alright for UConn. When Cavanaugh came to campus in advance of the 2013-14 season, his team warmed up in the lobby of its modest rink, which officially seats 2,000 patrons, and he was without a full complement of scholarships.
The university invested in the hockey program, albeit slowly. It remained reliant on Hartford’s XL Center, where it has played all of its home games (aside from the COVID year) since the move to Hockey East. The highly anticipated on-campus arena will finally open this coming season.
As a result, Cavanaugh’s teams came along slowly, too. However, the progress has been there each year and it is clear that Cavanaugh cares about the program, even enough to spurn one of the best jobs in collegiate hockey. Without putting words in his mouth, it’s likely that unless the NHL comes calling, Cavanaugh won’t leave unless he’s either fired or retires.
With that level of care and dedication, UConn men’s hockey will continue to rise, especially as it opens a brand-new facility this fall. Progress may not has been as fast as desired for some fans, but Cavanaugh has brought the Huskies along and as evidenced by this year’s journey to the Hockey East Tournament championship game. It’s only a matter of time before the program is an NCAA Tournament competitor.
Nahiem Alleyne to transfer from Virginia Tech - The sharpshooting wing is the second incoming transfer of the offseason.
Player review: Adama Sanogo - We continue our review of returning players with all-conference big man Adama Sanogo.
Christyn Williams out for season - The former UConn guard suffered a knee injury in training camp with Washington and will miss the season.
Mike Cavanaugh to remain at UConn - Despite being in the mix for the head coaching gig at Boston College, Cavanaugh announced on Thursday he will remain at UConn.
Jones likely to be an early-round pick - The NFL Draft is next week and the defensive tackle could be UConn’s latest first-round selection.
Huskies notch two big midweek wins - UConn grabbed 23 unanswered runs in a rout against UMass on Tuesday, following it up with a shutout victory at Boston College on Wednesday.
Seton Hall swept - Easter and Passover weekend was a happy one, as UConn moved to 6-0 in Big East play with three road wins over the Pirates.
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Ian Cooke delivered a gem for the baseball team on Wednesday against Boston College. The true freshman pitched eight shutout innings, scattering just one infield single and a pair of walks, while striking out a career-high seven. One of those was Joe Vetrano, who went down looking on this fastball that dotted the bottom of the zone in the fourth inning.
UConn great Robert McClain’s NFL career was launched 12 years ago this week. In the 2010 NFL Draft, Sam Bradford was selected with the No. 1 overall pick. McClain, drafted by Carolina in the seventh round, was one of two Huskies picked in 2010, along with fourth-round pick WR Marcus Easley. The pair of UConn players continued a streak of NFL Draft selections that dated to 2007 and continued through 2018.
Easley played primarily on special teams for Buffalo, spending six years with the team, despite missing his first two seasons with injuries. He recorded three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, while also recording 50 tackles and forcing two fumbles, leading the NFL in special teams tackles in 2013.
Meanwhile, McClain spent eight years in the league, spending time with six different franchises, including two different stints with the team that drafted him and an appearance in Super Bowl 50. He played in 94 games, scoring three defensive touchdowns for Tampa Bay in 2017, including this pick-six against Chicago to push the Buccaneers’ lead to 24-0.
McClain spoke with The UConn Blog about his journey from 7th round pick, to out of the league, to starting in the Super Bowl, all the way back in 2016!
UConn, Great Pic
Against UMass, UConn baseball scored more runs than the UConn football scored points against in this same matchup. Jim Penders’ squad topped the Minutemen, 28-11.
Ian Bethune was at the lovely Elliot Ballpark, snapping some photos.
Four players from Dan Hurley’s roster last season have entered the transfer portal, including Akok Akok and Jalen Gaffney. This left Dan Hurley with six open scholarships, two of which have been filled. Tristen Newton, a point guard, committed to the Huskies on April 13 and Nahiem Alleyne announced his commitment on April 21. Each of the players has up to two years of eligibility remaining.
Alleyne, who comes to Storrs by way of Virginia Tech, will help shore up UConn’s outside shooting, with a career 38.7 percent mark from 3-point range, while also providing size at 6-foot-4. More than two-thirds of UConn’s attempts from beyond the arc will not return for the 2022-23 season.
Meanwhile, it seems as though Newton is the next UConn point guard. He was an all-conference performer at ECU, averaging 5.0 assists per game. Like Alleyne, Newton has good size, standing at 6-foot-5, and will surely help against larger wing players, who had the propensity to hurt UConn last year.
Hurley is surely not done, as there are still four open scholarships and the roster’s current construction likely requires playing Andre Jackson at power forward or instead slotting in redshirt freshman Alex Karaban or sophomore Samson Johnson. At 6-foot-6, the Huskies may prefer to keep Jackson at the three and find some additional forward depth.
However, despite the upheaval earlier in the offseason, it seems as though UConn will remain a contender in the Big East, as the two transfers added this offseason seem to be ideal fits who will contribute serious minutes. UConn is also in the mix for a number of other transfers.
Dan Hurley probably was not expecting this much roster turnover, but such are the times. It seems as though he’s adjusted well and will need to continue to do so for the Huskies to stay at the top of the Big East.
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