UConn Huskies men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie has a lot of work to do in the coming weeks. Following the transfers of Steven Enoch, Vance Jackson and Juwan Durham, along with the de-commitment of class of 2017 point guard Makai Ashton-Langford, the Huskies’ roster lacks depth and needs an infusion of new talent.
That fresh talent can come in one of two ways. First, Ollie can look into some recruits that have yet to commit to a school and those that have de-committed in hopes that they will sign with UConn, even after their first losing season in 30 years. The second way is by bringing in graduate transfers that will be eligible to play for the Huskies and contribute immediately.
One big recruit that Ollie can go after is Tremont Waters, 5 feet 9 ,inches point guard product out of Notre Dame High School right here in Connecticut. Waters is the eighth ranked point guard on ESPN’s Top 100 and is 33rd overall. Waters had previously committed and signed with the Georgetown Hoyas, but reportedly requested a release from his commitment following the firing of the Hoyas’ former coach John Thompson III.
UConn was among Waters’ original list of schools and Ollie would definitely welcome him into the guard rotation following the de-commitment of Ashton-Langford. The diminutive point guard would likely slot in as one of the first off the bench, assuming Alterique Gilbert and Jalen Adams occupy the two guard spots.
If the Huskies can’t snag Waters, perhaps they could go after another de-committed point guard in Blake Harris. Harris had previously been committed to the Washington Huskies, but backed out of his commitment following the firing of head coach Lorenzo Romar and the de-commitment of No. 1 overall recruit, Michael Porter Jr. Harris, who is ranked 99th overall on ESPN’s Top 100 and is the 20th ranked point guard, might not get immediate playing time like Waters would, but he would definitely add depth to Ollie’s bench.
Ollie is also waiting on a decision from Jordan Tucker, 6 feet 7 inches, small forward from Marietta, Georgia. Tucker would be the perfect replacement to Jackson with his three point shooting ability and the size and strength to attack the rim. He still has work to do on the defensive end, but Ollie can coach him up on that end of the floor and would probably be thrilled to have him on the Huskies.
UConn’s biggest need at the moment is in the frontcourt. The addition of junior college transfer Eric Cobb will help a little bit and he might slide into the starting lineup as the only remaining big body on the team, but Ollie and his staff will need more big men. According to ESPN’s recruiting reports, UConn isn’t currently associated with any top big men, which suggests that coach Ollie will be targeting grad transfers to find frontcourt depth.
One potential option Ollie could bring into the fold is Kerem Kanter, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Enes Kanter. The younger Kanter has a similar body to his older brother and did well at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in limited minutes. Averaging 20 minutes a game, Kanter tallied an average of 11 points and six rebounds per contest. Those respectable numbers might be worth a look for Ollie and company.
Another graduate transfer to consider is Sean Obi, a 6 feet 9 inches center from Duke. Obi started his collegiate career at Rice, where he averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. The talented big man was plagued with injury after transferring to the Blue Devils. Eligible to play immediately, Obi could be a vital addition to a Huskies’ roster desperate for frontcourt depth.
Given the five remaining open scholarships at Ollie’s disposal, it is absolutely crucial to try and land some of the names above. If he can’t do that, the remains of UConn’s roster might be in for another rough season in 2017-18. And if coach Ollie gets really desperate, I hear Terrence Samuel is looking for a graduate transfer opportunity.