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UConn Rings the Bell: A busy week of offseason
The parade, roster announcements, and a bunch of fun news around UConn men's hoops.
The games may have stopped but our coverage will not. As you’ve probably seen, there are portal and return announcements happening all over college hoops (sorry Seton Hall and Creighton) as the race for 2024’s championship has already begun.
In Storrs, Donovan Clingan is confirmed back. Alex Karaban is too (we’re pretty sure). Jordan Hawkins announced his NBA intentions, and rumors are that anyone and everyone else could be staying or leaving.
It was a little premature, perhaps, to think that Tristen Newton and Nahiem Alleyne are leaving just because they participated in Senior Night festivities. Multiple reports say that either or both could stay. We’ll see.
It’s been a busy week for Dan Hurley, the UConn Huskies, and the world of college basketball. Let’s run through some of the highlights.
Not Our First Rodeo
In case you missed it, the proper authorities wasted no time getting the 2023 championship memorialized. Signage went up on campus and in the practice facility, and the iconic sign at Exit 68 was updated as well.
On Saturday, downtown Hartford was packed with 45,000+ attendees for the parade, offering Dan Hurley and the players another moment to address the public.
After a standout freshman season, the pride of Bristol, Connecticut announced he will be returning next year. Clingan heads into next season with major expectations and a large act to follow up as the Huskies’ starting center.
There are some follow-up implications about what this means for Adama Sanogo. He will likely explore his professional options and see if that path or returning to college is best for him. It appears that in the event he does return, it won’t be at UConn.
This stuff is part of the business. It would be sad to see Sanogo play for another school, but as previously discussed I think pursuing the next level is truly what’s best for him.
He may not be a first-round NBA Draft pick but he could still hang on in the G League, which may be less money in the short run than a NIL package but higher upside in the long run, as we’ve seen players get into the NBA or at least on more lucrative two-way contracts from there. The likelihood of him playing at any college next year is low, but not zero.
From UConn’s perspective, Hurley and staff probably could not keep the roster spot open for that possibility, especially with the need to lock down Clingan for another year.
Sanogo has accomplished just about everything you can at the college level. Even if he can make a good salary at, say, the University of Miami, it won’t present the challenge he needs to boost his game, which still has plenty of time to bloom given that he started playing basketball seriously as a teenager.
With the transfer portal open and UConn looking to be a player, Hurley and his staff have been tied to a couple of guards thus far. It’ll be interesting to see if they go after any big men from the portal in this cycle.
AJ Storr — St. John’s — SG
Moving on after Rick Pitino took over, Storr brings intriguing size and skill to the rotation as a potential transfer. His list of suitors is long, but UConn is reportedly on it.
Nicolas Timberlake — Towson — SG
Read more and keep up on the latest roster moves with The UConn Blog’s Transfer Tracker.
See you in Kansas
UConn booked Kansas in the Big East-Big 12 Battle, with the game scheduled for December 1, 2023, at the historic Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.
Sanogo Sunoco Deal
The 2023 Final Four Most Outstanding Player is finally able to publicize his NIL deals.
According to business types, this may signal that he’s going pro. He also may have signed the deal while in a different country to maintain NCAA eligibility.
Either way, good for him.
Ringing the NYSE Bell
Look at these Very Important People.
An Update on Our Newsletter
One month ago we took a big leap with The Fast Break Newsletter, hoping that people might be interested in deeper coverage of UConn men’s basketball.
In the time since, I am so proud of the reporting, podcasts, photography, and videos we’ve produced across the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. The work of at least six people can be found in our archive from the last month, including our intrepid photo and videographer Ian Bethune throughout, and we’ve got more on the way!
We’ve had in-depth previews, scouting reports, a look at the UConn players’ pro prospects, and had some fun along the way, while also trying to provide practical guidance for fans with articles like the UConn fan’s guide to Houston.
Judging by our growth in readers, UConn fans have appreciated this as well. In one month, our subscriber base has increased by 50% and we now have around 50 paying subscribers!
We’re also incredibly thankful for the 600+ people tuning into each public podcast before we ever pushed it out to any podcast platform, and hope our subscribers enjoy the rapid podcasts we’ve started offering after games. Much more to come there.
We plan to keep this energy into the off-season, through the next regular season, and beyond! Our mission is to keep dedicated UConn fans informed through insightful stories and thoughtful coverage of the action on and off the court.
In addition to monitoring the current roster build, we’ll also keep tabs on high school recruiting, which is still a very big part of Dan Hurley’s strategy. It won’t be at a Rivals/247 Sports level (we will not be DMing high schoolers for content), but we promise to find a healthy middle ground.
And finally, some roster and data resources are also in the works so that fans have a web-friendly way to look up basic info on the team without being bombarded by ads or auto-play videos. The official UConn schedule pages suck. Most stats sites are pop-up claptraps. We will do better.
We’re thrilled to have reached a level of support already that will allow us to start hiring freelancers to write more articles and produce more and better podcasts and videos.
With your help, we can continue to grow and provide top-notch, independent written and multimedia coverage of UConn men’s basketball for years to come!
If you made it this far, we’re happy to extend a 20% discount for joining the annual membership. Either way, we thank you for reading and appreciate your support however it comes.