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The UConn Fast Break - 5/20/2022
Football transfers, coaching staff changes, and more.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. It’s almost time for postseason baseball!
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UConn football active in transfer portal
Despite our last football coach’s beliefs, the transfer portal can be a big help to teams, particularly those outside the elite level. Proven players from lower levels or players with potential who didn’t get a chance to play at their first school can fill the depth chart, balance classes, and maybe also offer a better match for what that student wants out of their collegiate experience.
It’s early in Jim Mora’s tenure, but he acknowledged the value of the portal shortly after being hired in November, and so far seems to be acting on it as well. A pair of Power 5 transfers announced their commitment to the Huskies this week in Chris Shearin, a DB from Missouri, and Dajon Harrison, a Texas WR.
With just nine combined seniors and graduate students, in addition to nine redshirt juniors and six true juniors, the Huskies’ current roster is loaded with underclassmen. Incoming players with any kind of collegiate experience, let alone those that have played in the SEC and Big 12, are a huge help.
The transfer portal is not a cure-all, and Mora must also recruit talented high schoolers to play for UConn if the team is to rise above historically bad levels, but any sign of a UConn football coach changing with the times is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Tyrese Martin rising in pre-draft process - The standout guard performed well enough at the G-League Elite Camp to earn an invite to the NBA Combine.
Taliek Brown to join Iona coaching staff - After four seasons as the Director of Player Development, Brown will become an assistant coach on Rick Pitino’s staff.
UConn WBB Weekly - What it takes to play for a Geno Auriemma’s team and how the staff zeroes in on just a few players that fit their mold.
Injury updates - A litany of players are overcoming various ailments and starting to get ready for next season.
Minnesota Lynx sign two former Huskies - Moriah Jefferson and Evina Westbrook will join the Lynx this season.
Joe Periera to join Boston University staff - Mike Cavanaugh’s associate head coach will take the same position at Boston University, his alma mater.
Mora adds two Power 5 transfers - Chris Shearin comes from Missouri and Dajon Harrison arrives from Texas.
Big East Tournament scenarios - While baseball took a 13-2 loss on Thursday night against Georgetown, the Huskies are still locked into the 1-seed in the Big East Tournament. Regular season play closes on Saturday and most teams in the league are still fighting for a spot in the four-team bracket.
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Former UConn guard Tyrese Martin was called up to the NBA Combine this week. On Thursday night, the Pennsylvania native made his presence known, as he threw down this dunk as part of a 12-point performance, shooting 5-of-11 from the field.
This week, we’ll go approximately seven million years back to 2019, when Jim Penders surpassed Andy Baylock with his 557th career win on May 16 with a victory over Tulane on the road.
The Green Wave were up 4-1 in the fourth inning, but Pat Winkel came up with the bases loaded twice, once in the fifth and again in the seventh. He first cleared the bases with a single to tie the contest, then hit a grand slam to give the Huskies the lead, helping his team to take the series’ opening game.
UConn, Great Pic
Baseball closed out its midweek slate on Tuesday, traveling to Bryant and taking home a dominant victory. Ian Bethune shipped out to Smithfield to grab these gems.
On Thursday, following our own Daniel Connolly’s reporting earlier in the week, Boston University formally announced the hiring of Joe Periera as associate head coach under Jay Pandolfo, the position he also held on Mike Cavanaugh’s staff at UConn.
Losing Periera stings, badly, as he was the Huskies’ lead recruiter and responsible for bringing in many of the program’s top players, including Matthew Wood, who is slated to arrive in Storrs this fall. While Cavanaugh’s staff views recruiting as a team effort, it surely was Periera’s forte and helped elevate the program.
However, at the end of the day, as an upstart program, losing a crucial assistant coach in a lateral title move is the kind of thing that can happen, and while it might be detrimental, Periera is a Boston University alumnus—he won a national championship with the Terriers in 2009, playing among the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk and Nick Bonino, each of which carved out an NHL career.
While Cavanaugh is a strong coach in his own right, Pandolfo, who has already spent seven years on an NHL coaching staff, has the possibility to jump to the professional ranks someday. Working under that type of coach and also doing so at a premier program that happens to be Periera’s alma mater was an opportunity too good to pass up.
UConn lost a good coach, but it was a unique situation and Periera cannot be faulted for wanting to coach at his blue blood alma mater. The Huskies went 1-for-2 with these types of circumstances this offseason, as Cavanaugh was in the running to take the head gig at Boston College, where he worked for 18 years, but chose instead to continue building at UConn.
While it would have been great to keep both, as the Meat Loaf song (kind of) goes, one out of two ain’t bad.
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