Jim Calhoun returned to the sideline Saturday following back surgery.
We've been consumed in recent weeks with the five players who left the program in the spring. All -- in one form or another -- have found new basketball-playing gigs, either in the NBA (Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb) or at other schools (Alex Oriakhi, Missouri; Roscoe Smith, UNLV; Michael Bradley, Vincennes). While coach Jim Calhoun hasn't committed completely to returning in 2012-2013, he's sounded on occasion like a man who will do just that. Particularly when he talks about the program's long-term recruiting plans.
In the fold for the upcoming season: Phil Nolan, Leon Tolksdorf, Omar Calhoun and transfer R.J. Evans. In all likelihood, these players by themselves won't be responsible for getting the Huskies back to postseason play in 2014 (NCAA sanctions means no conference or NCAA Tournaments in 2013), but they could be a piece of the bigger picture. Which leads us to UConn's 2013 recruiting targets.
The Connecticut News' Kevin Duffy wrote earlier this week about eight high-interest targets, whether the Huskies have yet to offer a scholarship, and when we should expect a decision. At the top of the list: Xavier Rathan Mayes, 6-4 SG, Ontario. Details via Duffy:
"I’ve never heard a recruit rave about a coach the way Rathan Mayes did about Kevin Ollie. He has 33 offers — that number may have gone up since last week — so UConn has some competition, but the Huskies are most definitely in the mix. A prolific scorer who once put up 63 points in a high school game, Rathan Mayes hopes to make a stop to campus while he’s visiting his father, a New Haven resident."
UConn has a scholarship offer on the table but Mayes is also considering Kansas, Baylor, Florida State, North Carolina State and Kentucky. Other names we could see in Storrs in the Fall of 2013: Akoy Agau, 6-9 PF, Omaha, Neb., Kendall Smith, 6-3 PG, Antioch, Calif., Davon Reed, 6-5 SG, Princeton, N.J., Stevie Clark, 5-10 PG, Oklahoma City, Reggie Cameron, 6-7 SF, Jersey City, N.J., Kentan Facey, 6-9 PF, Long Island, Jordan Bell, 6-7 PF, Long Beach, Calif.
Expectations for next season are predictably low; the roster has been depleted of its best players and the 2012-13 team will feature plenty of youth and inexperience. But if the list of recruiting targets are any indication, UConn won't be in rebuilding mode long.