The UConn men’s basketball team’s Sunday showdown with rival Cincinnati is not only the Huskies’ final regular season game, and likely their biggest home game of the year, but also Senior Night at Gampel Pavilion.
For seniors Rodney Purvis, Kentan Facey and Amida Brimah, it’s officially their last home game in a UConn uniform. That’s not actually the case as the American Athletic Conference Championship comes to Hartford the next weekend, putting them back on the floor in front of their home fans at the XL Center.
But Sunday is their official send-off.
Storrs is Purvis’ second stop, after transferring from NC State, where he played his freshman year. He debuted in 2014-15, immediately taking over as one of the lead offensive options on a team attempting to defend a national title. He averaged just 11.6 points per game in the regular season, but elevated his game in the postseason with 17.8 per game, including a 29-point breakout in the American Championship game against SMU.
He led UConn the next year with 12.8 points per game, including 36 points in a pair of games in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. This season, Purvis has had an up-and-down season, given a bigger scoring burden after Alterique Gilbert and Terry Larrier suffered season-ending injuries. He’s currently second on the team with 13.2 points per game.
Facey didn’t play a huge role for the Huskies his first few years. Born in Trelawney, Jamaica, he came to Connecticut and averaged just 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds his freshman year. Those numbers jumped to 4.4 and 5.2 his sophomore year, but dipped back down to 3.1 and 3.6 last season.
However, this season, the season-ending injury to freshman forward Mamadou Diarra has increased his role to larger than it likely would have been, and Facey has shined. The senior is averaging 9.0 points and 7.4 rebounds, while playing excellent defense in a conference packed with talented power forwards. He’s also racked up seven double-doubles.
Brimah, whose hometown is Accra, Ghana, is the only remaining Husky to appear in the 2014 National Championship Game, when the program claimed its fourth title by beating Kentucky 60-54. UConn would never have made it that far without Brimah’s huge 3-point play in their opening game against St. Joseph’s, when the Huskies trailed by three with under a minute to play.
Starting the next season, Brimah took over the anchor role in the middle of Kevin Ollie’s defense and continued to handle those duties, when healthy, for the next three years. He led the American in blocks as a sophomore, and delivered one of the greatest statistical performances in UConn history in non-conference play that season, scoring 40 points on 13-for-13 shooting (14-for-16 from the line) in a 106-85 win over Coppin State.
He was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2014-15.
Brimah missed 11 games with a hand injury junior year, but has stayed fully healthy this season to rank second in the American in blocks.
Purvis, Facey and Brimah will be honored pregame Sunday when UConn takes on Cincinnati at Gampel Pavilion. Tip-off is set for noon, and the game will be broadcast on CBS.