A look at the goals for the UConn men’s basketball class of 2023 and 2024 with ESPN’s Paul Biancardi – Hartford Courant


This offseason, UConn men’s basketball staff have been busy on the recruiting trail to add to their class of 2023 and 2024 commits.

Currently, the Huskies have one commitment, Stephon Castle of Georgia. Castle is a 6-foot-6 combo guard ranked No. 54 in the class of 2023 Top 100 ESPNs.

Including Castle, UConn has offered scholarships to 13 players in the class of 2023 and three in the class of 2024, according to 247sports. Although not listed, Scotty Middleton has also been proposed.

Three offered players signed up elsewhere: James Johns Jr. at Fairfield, Simeon Wilcher at North Carolina and Mackenzie Mgbako at Duke. Justin Edwards posted a top five, but the Huskies didn’t crack the list. The others are still considering UConn.

UConn head coach Dan Hurley, associate head coach Kimani Young, assistant coach Tom Moore and assistant coach Luke Murray constantly review player videos before making an offer.

“It’s a collaboration between the four of us when we watch a movie,” Moore said. “These days, because the live recruiting periods are so short, we see so few of these guys in person. We have to do a lot of these things on Synergy. It’s like a think tank when you watch the kids .

Moore said Hurley excels at identifying guard and wing talent.

“He’s got a great eye for picking up on things that guys are doing that he likes,” Moore said. “Great, subtle things. How to pass a ball and how did they catch a ball. With which hand do they beat pressure and with which hand do they beat a trap. Finishing shots to the rim, left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand, Hurley picks up on some things that are really weird.

Paul Biancardi is ESPN’s national recruiting director, but has previously coached at various places, including Boston College as an assistant coach when Hurley played at Seton Hall.

Biancardi said Hurley looks for a specific trait in his commits.

“I think for Danny you have to be serious about the game,” Biancardi said, “guys who are serious about the game and guys who can take hard training with love.

“The staff do a magnificent job of not only assessing talent, but understanding that you have to peel back some layers to find out who the person is, not just the player.”

The most difficult aspect for any coaching staff is finding the indicators that the player will succeed at the next level. However, Biancardi believes certain characteristics tend to lead to success in college basketball.

“Traits and characteristics, they protect the talent that you have,” he said. “There has to be a level of self-start, self-motivation, self-discipline, work habits. Those are the things that put you over the hump if the talent is there.

Here’s a look at the Class 2023 and 2024 players that UConn has offered to:

Name: Jayden Lemond

Class ranking: Not in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: Leader

Cut: 6 foot 3, 170 pounds

High school: Blair’s Academy in Blairstown, NJ

Hometown: Englewood, New Jersey

Summary: According to 247sports, Lemond has 13 offers, but UConn has signed him since 2020. He’s a quick and sneaky guard who can beat defenders with the dribble to get to the edge. Also, Lemond can end up in traffic and make the right call with the ball. He praised UConn to Jacob Polacheck of Zagsblog.com“I really like the guard game. They have good guards and a lot of talent from New Jersey. It is really good.”

Name: Taison Chatman

Class ranking: No. 63 in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: shooting guard

Cut: 6-4, 170 pounds

High school: Totino Grace in Minneapolis

Hometown: Minneapolis

Summary: Chatman received an offer from UConn in late April. “Excellent prospect,” Biancardi said. “He’s a great shooter and he plays balanced. He has a high IQ. He is a mature goalkeeper. Chatman would fit nicely into Hurley’s new four-out, one-on-the-move offense as his shooting ability opens up the floor.

Name: Darius Carr

Class ranking: Not in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: Combined custody

Cut: 6-3, 190 pounds

High school: Los Angeles Cathedral

Hometown: Playa Del Rey, California.

Summary: UConn sent Carr an offer on April 16, the ninth school to send him an offer at this point. He has elite athletics. “I love Carr,” Biancardi said. “He’s a fast athlete. He enters the painting with the training game. Excellent finisher. His ability to defend on the ball could be one of his strengths on the road. He is better as a mid-range shooter. He thrives in transition as a finisher.

Name: Taylor Bowen

Class ranking: No. 50 in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: small front

Cut: 6-9, 195 pounds

High school: Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH

Hometown: Newport, RI

Summary: Bowen has been a popular prospect with 25 offers, but his first unofficial visit was at UConn in August 2021. “He’s a gifted player,” Biancardi said. “When you get to the level of talent and you make the game look easy, you don’t have to put them in a place on the pitch. I think he brings that versatility to a roster. is a fluid player. He has a good combination of fluidity and athleticism that is hard to find at a young age.

Name: Gavin Griffiths

Class ranking: No. 26 in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: small front

Cut: 6-7, 185 pounds

High school: Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford

Hometown: West Hartford

Summary: Griffiths is a hometown kid and was offered by the Huskies in October 2021. He’s a sniper who can shoot from anywhere on the floor. He also has an impressive jumping ability. Griffiths praised the Huskies staff. “This relationship has been good” he told 247sports Dushawn London. “It’s 40 minutes from my house, so it’s my hometown school. I have a good relationship with Coach Hurley and Coach Murray, who are the guys who recruit me.

Name: Andrej Stojakovic

Class ranking: Not in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: small front

Cut: 6-6, 185 pounds

High school: Jesuit

Hometown: Carmichael, California.

Summary: The son of former NBA player Peja Stojakovic, Andrej has been linked to UConn since he was young as he watched the former UConn star Rudy Gay plays on the Kings. On April 15, he received an offer from UConn. Like his father, he is an impressive shooter. “Excellent shooter,” Biancardi said. “An IQ to play with the ball. He’s one of the best shooters in the class. It includes spacing. He understands how to get out of a screen and open up without the ball. When he catches it, he shoots with great offensive confidence.

Name: Scotty Middleton

Class ranking: No. 19 in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: small front

Cut: 6-6, 180 pounds

High school: Christian sunrise in Wichita, Kansas

Hometown: Miami

Summary: UConn was named to the final list of five Middleton schools it released in April. He can do a bit of everything on the pitch. “Middleton is the real deal,” Biancardi said. “He has incredible versatility. He can post. He can drive and can go out during the break. He reaches the free throw line and rebounds. He is a committed defender. He has excellent athleticism in terms of subsequent quickness and speed. He is one of the most versatile players in the class. »

Name: Isaiah Miranda

Class ranking: No. 39 in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: Center

Cut: 7-0, 200 pounds

High school: Commonwealth Academy in Springfield

Hometown: Malvern, Pa.

Summary: Miranda has 19 offers and received an offer from UConn in June 2021. He is an impressive shooter with the ability to handle the ball. On the defensive side, it deters players from driving to the edge. Miranda loves Hurley’s style. “When I went there, I saw that they were training and playing very hard, he says to On3.com’s Jamie Shaw. “Coach Hurley doesn’t give up on his guys at all; he takes everything very seriously. The biggest driver of their team is their greats. It’s the big guys who put the most energy on the pitch, and I like that. »

Name: J.P. Estrella

Class ranking: Not in the 2023 ESPN Top 100

Position: Center

Cut: 6-11, 210 pounds

High school: Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH

Hometown: South Portland, Maine

Summary: UConn sent an offer to Estrella on May 5. It is a return to the basket center par excellence. “The big guy is really big, long and just taking off,” Biancardi said. “He is still thin but really skilful and skillful with his back to the basket. He has footwork. It makes sense. He has the touch. He can also play face-up up to about 15 feet comfortably and efficiently. He can block some shots. It bounces the ball more with length than with force. I think he’s just starting to scratch the surface with how good he’ll be.

Name: Jeanuel Fland

Class ranking: No. 18 in the 2024 ESPN Top 100

Position: Leader

Cut: 6-3, 165 pounds

High school: White Plains, NY

Summary: Fland is one of the top-rated recruits in the Class of 2024 that UConn has sent an offer to. The Huskies offered him in November 2021. “Fland shows the ability to not only score in groups, but to involve others and make the right play,” Biancardi said. “He gets in his place to create and does a good job of bouncing back to start the fast break.”

Name: Tahaad Pettiford

Class ranking: No. 30 in the 2024 ESPN Top 100

Position: Leader

Cut: 5-11, 160 pounds

High school: Hudson Catholic in Jersey City, NJ

Hometown: City of Jersey

Summary: Pettiford was offered by UConn in December 2021. He creates an instant offense and can shoot the dribble. The guard praised the Huskies in Dushawn London by 247sports“This visit was really good. I got to meet the players, watch and learn the game from RJ Cole and see if I went there how I would play.

Name: ian jackson

Class ranking: No. 3 in ESPN Top 100 2024

Position: shooting guard

Cut: 6-4, 170 pounds

High school: Cardinal Hayes in New York

Hometown: New York

Summary: Jackson is the highest-rated recruit to whom UConn has sent an offer. He does everything on the pitch, but he is a devastating goalscorer. “Jackson could be special,” Biancardi said. “He combines athleticism with the ability to score. He knows when to score and when not to score. He’s not a selfish goalscorer. He plays in the flow of his team. He can beat you in a lot of ways: the 3, the midrange, the drive, the finish. He has elite athletics. Not only is he a terrific goalscorer, but he handles it pretty well. He’s a competitive kid and he plays hard.

Shreyas Laddha can be reached at [email protected] or @shre98 on Twitter.

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