Column: Danny Hurley, hot on the recruiting trail

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Danny Hurley addresses the Connecticut media in his introductory press conference. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

The last few weeks have been critical for new men’s basketball coach Danny Hurley.

In his first off-season before his debut coaching the Huskies, Hurley has nailed down what looks to be UConn’s backcourt for the foreseeable future.

Last Tuesday the Huskies landed ESPN Top 100 guard James Bouknight, a four-star point guard in the class of 2019. Bouknight committed despite offers from schools including Virginia Tech and Miami, it seems like the Hurley-difference is what landed the guard in Storrs.

“When I was hurt, a lot of schools stopped calling me and maybe gave up on me. But not UConn,” Bouknight told Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant. “They just stuck with me, called me every day. They even came to visit me while I was on crutches. I was just sitting around the bench. They just really showed love.”

Just a few days later, the Huskies landed the commitment of guard Jalen Gaffney – another ESPN Top 100 guard. The guard was also recruited by Clemson, Florida, Pittsburgh, St. John’s and Xavier.

With Jalen Adams heading into his final year in Storrs and the injury concerns surrounding guard Alterique Gilbert, it seems Hurley has solidified another strong backcourt for the Huskies.

The Huskies currently have the top-ranked recruiting class in the conference according to 247Sports.com. UConn hasn’t been atop the rankings since their 2016 recruiting class that featured four-star recruits Gilbert, Juwan Durham, Vance Jackson and Mamadou Diarra along with three-star recruit Christian Vital.

Durham and Jackson both transferred after one season and Gilbert has played nine games in two years, so does that class even count? Hurley and the Huskies need a strong 2019 class, and so far, they’re answering the bell.

UConn will most likely set their sights on the front court moving forward. Most importantly, big men Precious Achiuwa and Akok Akok.

Akok, ranked at 39 in the ESPN Top 100, recently took an unofficial visit to Storrs and just cut his list of possible commitments down to five: UConn, Georgetown, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Providence. His official visit to campus will take place the weekend of Oct. 13, so if you see him…please be nice to him.

The Huskies are also in the running for big man Precious Achiuwa. Listed at 6 feet 9 inches, the Florida native currently sits all the way up at the ten-spot on the ESPN Top 100 list.

Achiuwa currently has 13 offers on the table including UConn, Kansas, Oregon, and Syracuse. Early reports point toward UConn being in the driver’s seat at the moment, but anything is possible.

If the new coach can land either of these big men, on top of the backcourt he’s already got coming in, it’d be one hell of a start to the Hurley Era in Storrs.

The future is bright in the basketball capital of the world.


Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets at @conn_donahue.

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