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The UConn Fast Break- 5/6/2022
Baseball stays hot. WNBA makes final roster cuts. Van Demark, Fortt, sign undrafted deals.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Time for Jon Rothstein to go to sleep.
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Meet the New Football Transfer
Brandon Bouyer-Randle has been in college a while; for his seventh year, he’s decided to take his talents to Storrs. The former U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant—all the way back in 2016—was the subject of a nice feature in his hometown newspaper Thursday.
“[UConn] talked about that they wanted to bring in some older players, a veteran player like myself, to help change the culture there and get things off to a good start," he told the Battle Creek Enquirer.
The Michigan native has had quite a journey through the college football world, earning his bachelor's degree and two master’s degrees along the way.
Coming out of Battle Creek Central High School, Bouyer-Randle started his college career at Michigan State. The linebacker appeared in 13 games each of his first two seasons, racking up 21 tackles, 5.0 TFL, and 3.5 sacks as a redshirt sophomore and starting one game.
Bouyer-Randle played four games the next year before an injury ended his season, and time at MSU. He transferred to Texas Tech for the 2020 season, where he was reasonably productive as a part-time contributor and occasional starter for two years.
He missed the final three games of the 2021 season due to injury and entered his name into the transfer portal.
The veteran linebacker is looking to prove what he can do in a leading role at UConn, where head coach Jim Mora is looking for a lot of answers across the roster. Bouyer-Randle noted that the Huskies’ schedule offered plenty of opportunities to play against strong competition.
"They have a new staff at UConn with Jim Mora, a staff with a lot of NFL experience and I feel like that there is value in that and a good fit for me," Bouyer-Randle said. "They are a high-level Division I program that plays a lot of big-time competition. They are going to play Michigan this year, some ACC schools.”
Bouyer-Randle admitted that he expected to be in the NFL by this point, but he keeps hopes of that dream alive.
"That is what has continued to drive me to keep playing. I know I have the ability to get to the NFL. I have the athleticism, have the capability to play at the highest level and that's what has kept me going."
2021-22 backcourt review - Take a look back at the season that was for UConn’s guards.
2021-22 frontcourt review - In a similar vein as the guards, we also looked back on the Huskies’ forwards, including WNBA draftee Olivia Nelson-Ododa.
UConn WBB Weekly - This week’s version of the newsletter focuses on potential future WNBA players on the Huskies, as the league kicks off Friday.
Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the pod also highlights the WNBA, discussing how UConn alums will fare this year.
Inside Mike Cavanaugh’s decision to stay at UConn - The head coach was courted by his former employer in Boston College, but he instead opted to remain in Storrs.
Ryan Van Demark signs with Indianapolis - After going undrafted, the offensive lineman heads to the Colts with $175,000 guaranteed.
Omar Fortt received a minicamp invite - Fortt will join the New York Jets at rookie camp and have a chance to earn a training camp invite from there.
Another series sweep - UConn has now swept three of its four Big East opponents, as the Huskies went to Butler and took all three games from the Bulldogs.
Huskies closing in on NCAA Tournament bid - With just three weeks left until the Big East conference tournament, Jim Penders’ crew is on the brink of a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Jacob Wallace working his way to Boston - A third-round pick in 2019, the former UConn closer has reached Double-A.
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UConn baseball alumnus George Springer has been flashing the leather so far in the outfield for Toronto this season. He continued his string of incredible catches with this amazing play on Sunday, which was one of MLB’s plays of the week.
This weekend, UConn baseball welcomes Creighton to Elliot Ballpark for a pivotal three-game series. The Huskies lead the Bluejays by one game in the Big East standings with nine games to go and the winner will have the inside track to the regular-season title.
The last time these two squads matched up was in the 2021 Big East Tournament, with a trip to the final on the line. UConn starter Ben Casparius quieted more than just Creighton’s bats, striking out 13 and shushing the Bluejays’ dugout after his final punchout, which closed the seventh.
UConn, Great Pic
Ian Bethune was on the scene on Sunday for the Connecticut Sun’s preseason battle with Atlanta, as Tiffany Hayes and Megan Walker returned to Connecticut.
As UConn baseball closes in on the end of the regular season, the Huskies enter their most pivotal stretch. After rolling through weaker Big East opponents with an 11-2 record, UConn will play the only two other teams in the conference that are above Quad 4 in Creighton and Xavier.
With a series win against Creighton, Jim Penders’ team can clinch a spot in the Big East Tournament and go a long way toward securing the regular-season title. Xavier comes to town the following weekend, holding the second-highest RPI in the Big East behind the Huskies.
UConn is the favorite to win the Big East Tournament and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that goes with it, but with a pair of series wins at home, the boys from Storrs would likely have done enough to receive an at-large bid no matter what happens at the conference tournament. The next two weekends represent the biggest test of the season for UConn before the postseason starts and if UConn passes, the team will play June baseball for the fifth straight year.
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