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The UConn Fast Break - 7/6/2021
Huge basketball recruiting news, Huskies in the Olympics, and big changes coming with NIL.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Can you believe it’s been one year since UConn officially moved to the Big East?
This is really, really, really huge. Donovan Clingan is a skilled, 7-1 center from Bristol Central High who chose UConn over a number of high major powers and also Syracuse. He’s the caliber of local player UConn had been missing out on in recruiting and represents a huge breakthrough for Dan Hurley and his coaching staff. The future rosters look absolutely stacked.
We also did a quick podcast discussing Clingan’s commitment, what he brings to the court, and what his time at UConn might look like.
And finally, @tcf_15 with the Scholarship Grid Update:
Name, image, and likeness rights are in effect - The NCAA has opened the door for college athletes to earn a little extra cash through sponsorships. This is a big change for all of college sports. At UConn, it will certainly present opportunities to a wide range of athletes. For someone with a massive social media following and a national profile like Paige Bueckers, she could become one of the highest-paid college athletes in the country.
13 UConn athletes to play in Tokyo Olympic Games - Ten women’s hoops alumnae will be playing for three different countries. Five are on Team USA, two are on the USA 3x3 team, two are playing for Canada, and one for France.
On top of that, two UConn men’s hoops alumni are playing, one for Germany and the other for Japan, and former Husky field hockey star Róisín Upton is representing her home country of Ireland.
UConn men’s hockey adds transfer, roster likely set - Jarrod Gourley is a defenseman from Arizona State and most likely the final piece of the Huskies’ 2021-2022 team. The world’s foremost UConn hockey expert Daniel Connolly broke down the roster and what they’re capable of this season.
Geno Auriemma breaks down his roster - Keeping with the theme of roster breakdowns, the head of the women’s basketball program shared some interesting thoughts on incoming top recruit Azzi Fudd and had something to say for just about everyone else on this year’s team too. Geno also said the battle for playing time this season will be the most intense he’s seen in years.
Matt Barnes makes MLB All-Star Game - Also good.
UConn MBB freshmen enter “the cauldron” - “I know he’s intense and he’s a little crazy, but that’s what I like and that’s what I need,” one freshman said of Hurley.
UConn football up to 13 Class of 2022 commitments - It is still very early, but nice to see the Huskies ranked 47th in the Rivals football recruiting rankings as of Monday night. After a very productive June, the most recent addition is Xavier Brown, a three-star WR from Texas. According to Rivals, the seven highest-rated players in the class so far are from either Texas or Florida.
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A great video of top plays from UConn men’s hoops last season. Two amazing putback dunks top the list.
A reminder that Reggie Crawford is the truth.
Friends of the blog Mac Cerullo and Tim Fontenault have been running a bracket of the best UConn men’s basketball teams. Check out the poll for the finals: 2004 vs. 1999… who you got?
UConn, Great Pic
This is another level.
Reflecting on one year in the Big East
On July 1, 2020, UConn officially joined the new Big East Conference, hoping to find a better home than the AAC. One year later, it would be hard to argue with the positive impact it has had on men’s and women’s basketball. It will be a little bit longer before we know what the move means in the long run for football, soccer, and baseball but in basketball it is already clearly paying dividends.
Almost directly in line with the announcement of the move to the Big East, basketball recruiting picked up. Paige Bueckers was already committed at the time but since the announcement of the move in June 2019, UConn landed top 2021 recruit Azzi Fudd, who is joined by players ranked No. 5, No. 15, and No. 30 among this year’s freshmen. They also have players ranked No. 3 and No. 5 in the Class of 2022 committed.
On the men’s side, it is hard to quantify how much of the recruiting improvement is due to Dan Hurley and how much is due to the conference change, but it is fair to say they most likely would not be doing as well in the AAC. Donovan Clingan’s father is the latest to help confirm this theory.
The talent upgrade UConn men’s hoops has made is particularly apparent among the big men. With Akok Akok, Adama Sanogo, Richie Springs, and Samson Johnson along with Clingan, the frontcourt future is incredibly bright. In the past, it was a real struggle to get quality and depth at forward or center.
Combined with the guard and wing talent, guys like Rahsool Diggins, Andre Jackson, and Jalen Gaffney, who will be a senior by the time Clingan arrives, it’s not crazy to think that Hurley’s team is on its way to being a Final Four contender.
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We hope you all had a lovely 4th of July weekend!
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