The Hartford Courant's Dom Amore made his way to New York this week to get an up-close-and-personal look at UConn recruit Kentan Facey. When he arrives in Storrs for next season, the 6-9 big man should give the Huskies something they've lacked this season: a presence in the paint.
But Facey's a relative newcomer to basketball. He didn't pick up the sport until he was 16.
"Imagine if you decided you were going to try to learn to speak Chinese right now," John Buck, Facey's coach at Long Island Lutheran, told Amore recently. "It's hard. Just picking up the terminology and what we were trying to do. He's a great kid. He is very smart and he is starting to understand the game a lot better."
Three years ago, Facey was in Jamaica working on the family farm. Now he's preparing himself for the rigors of big-time college basketball.
"It was my dream from the time I started playing in Jamaica," he told Amore, "and now that dream has come to fruition."
Because of his athleticism and untapped potential, Facey has -- wait for it -- huge upside, First-year UConn coach Kevin Ollie welcomes the challenge of getting the most out of Facey.
“Kentan Facey has just got a relentless motor," Ollie said recently. "He loves the game and it shows every time you see him out on the court. The energy he exudes, playing with passion, running and diving and talking -- everything you want in a big. He has an upside on the offensive end. If he comes in and works on his body and gets bigger, he can make some money playing basketball after he’s done playing here. I love the kid, love talking to him and everything about him.”