Calhoun Talks Recruiting, UConn’s Future

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NBC Connecticut

Coach Jim Calhoun spent part of his weekend biking in his fifth-annual Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk. After braving the elements (the event started amid a heavy downpour), Calhoun spoke to the media about everything under the just-emerging sun.

As has been the case for two months now, everyone wants to know if Calhoun will be the Huskies coach this fall. And, as has been his response for nearly two months now, Calhoun was vague, speaking mostly in generalities.

"“I want the program to be like Carolina’s and, somewhat Duke, but more like Carolina’s in the sense that Bill Guthridge went to the Final Four when Dean (Smith) left, Matt (Doherty) had a really great year then a not such a great year and Roy (Williams) came in and they moved on," he said. "What we’re selling in our situation is the ability to get you ready to succeed, get to postseason play and get to the NBA. We had a pretty good year this year doing that.”

That's a mouthful, though, not surprisingly, nary a mention of where Calhoun sees himself in all this. He did add that “The program is exactly where we want it to be,” which could be the latest not-so-subtle hint that he has no immediate plans to leave coaching. The closest thing we have to proof comes from Huskies 2011 recruit DeAndre Daniels, who said last week that “[Calhoun said] I don’t have to worry about him not being there. He said he’ll be there.”

Given UConn's suddenly sunny outlook (after weeks of post-championship bad news, the men's team landed two prized recruits), it's reasonable to think Calhoun might stick around.

There were concerns that when assistant coach and top recruiter Andre LaFleur left for Providence this spring, the stream of talent into Storrs would dry up. It hasn't happened. In part because Calhoun is still Calhoun, and even at 69 he seems to love recruiting. But also because his other assistants, Kevin Ollie and Glen Miller, haven't missed a beat in LaFleur's absence.

“They’ve done a terrific job, I didn’t expect anything less. When Kevin Ollie talks, you’re going to listen … (Glen) knows the terrain, he knows what he’s doing, he’s smart and he’s a great basketball guy," Calhoun said. "I think a lot of times we lock too many things into Kevin Ollie, Glen Miller or whomever it may be. It’s UConn.

"We happen to have very good guys in place, doing a wonderful job. But we’ve had other good players come in before. We got Ray Allen, we got Emeka, we got Ben Gordon ... we've got some guys who can play a little bit. I’ve always said that one of the great recruiting jobs of all-time in recognizing that he would be good was Andre (LaFleur) with Hasheem Thabeet. I didn’t’ see what he saw. He saw that, and plenty of other coaches didn’t see that. He did.”

So, no, nothing definitive from Calhoun, but all signs point so him being on the bench when the Huskies' season begins in the fall.

"I'll let everybody know if I'm going to do something," Calhoun said. "Right now I'm trying to get the best players, make sure the program is in a great place and go from there."

At this point, we'd expect nothing less from Calhoun.

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