DeAndre Daniels, a highly touted 6-8 small forward, has committed to the UConn men's basketball team. But it gets better: he's eligible to play in 2011-2012, meaning he's the 10th and final scholarship player for the Huskies heading into next season, replacing Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who transferred earlier this spring.
This is huge news because Daniels immediately adds quality depth to a team desperately in need of it. We wrote about Daniels' interest in UConn several weeks ago, and at the time we cited a source who had explained the situation to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
"The Huskies would make perfect sense for Daniels. They bring back talented young guards and wings in Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Roscoe Smith as well as forward Alex Oriakhi, but could certainly use an agile 6-8 scoring wing to help compensate for the loss of Kemba Walker."
Yes, yes they could.
And with the addition of Daniels, UConn's high-profile recruiting class just doubled.
Illinois' Mr. Basketball, guard Ryan Boatright, had long been the lone Huskies recruit -- and one that was looking at a lot of playing time as a freshman. Now there's Daniels.
Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant writes that Daniels had withdrawn from a commitment to Texas last year, and was recruited by Kansas, Duke, Florida and Tennessee, among others. "The Huskies heated up their recruitment of Daniels during their run to the Final Four, but it was said to have cooled about six weeks ago," Anthony wrote. "Apparently, UConn made a late push to land the 6-8 forward, originally from Woodland Hills, Calif."
In light of all that has happened in recent months -- from the highs of a national championship to the lows of NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations and academic shortcomings and UConn losing its best recruiter to Providence, landing Daniels is a coup for the basketball program.
And who knows, maybe this will cement Jim Calhoun's decision to coach in 2011. You know, assuming he hasn't already secretly made that decision.
ESPN describes Daniels as "an elite scorer for his size and can hurt his opponents in a variety of ways. However, if he could implement passing to his offensive arsenal and develop some savvy for how the game should be played with other teammates his game would go to another level."