Jim Calhoun hits recruiting trail

June, 10, 2011

Quick hitters for the weekend:

• I've been convinced since the Final Four in Houston that UConn coach Jim Calhoun wasn't going to retire. I've been around him a few times -- including at the White House, when the Huskies were honored for their national championship -- and saw no sign that he's ready for retirement. UConn will be in the mix for the Big East title this upcoming season, likely with Syracuse, and with a chance to be a high seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies added DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-7 post player from IMG Academy, this week and subsequently picked up Omar Calhoun Jr. for 2012.

UConn assistant coach Kevin Ollie said he has seen no signs that Calhoun is going to retire. He said Calhoun's daily passion indicates he is as driven for a title as he was a year ago.

Daniels said Friday by phone that Calhoun didn't specifically say he was coming back. But Daniels said he didn't have to.

"The passion he had, I can tell with everyone coming back that he wants to repeat again and win another championship," Daniels said. "I think I fit in real good with this group. With Kemba [Walker] leaving I can come in and score and help and play the 3."

Daniels said he chose UConn over Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Florida.

The Huskies won't have a scrub among the 10 players they'll have on the roster. Daniels joins point guard Ryan Boatright as the newcomers. The core of last season's team -- save Walker, Donnell Beverly and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel -- returns. Daniels and Boatright will join Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Roscoe Smith as legit scorers on a team that can win the Big East and earn a high seed.

• The top player in the class of 2012 is in Connecticut in big man Andre Drummond. A number of NBA sources told ESPN.com that they think Drummond will find a way into the 2012 draft by going to Connecticut next season. But the Drummond camp has not let it be known that he will graduate early in order to arrive in Storrs in the fall. The Huskies are recruiting Drummond (as are a number of top schools) for 2011 and 2012. If Drummond were to suddenly find a way to go to school this upcoming fall, the Huskies would have to make a scholarship available. UConn is limited to 10 scholarships due to its Academic Progress Report penalty. However, that would be a problem the Huskies would love to have if it meant having Drummond on campus in the fall.

• Calhoun's exuberance was on display in getting guard Omar Calhoun Jr. (no relation to Jim Calhoun) to commit for 2012-13. Calhoun, out of Christ the King High in New York, chose the Huskies over UNC, Kentucky, Pitt, Villanova, West Virginia and Seton Hall, according to his father.

"We spent a lot of quality time with Coach Calhoun and the rest of the coaching staff and he was so enthusiastic about the future of UConn," Omar Sr. said Friday. "You could see the excitement in his eyes. We felt like he's going to be there for the long haul. We felt silly even asking the question will he be there next year. He brought so much energy to the table."

Calhoun turned 69 last month.

Omar Sr. said there was no negative recruiting about Calhoun's long-term job status on behalf of the other schools.

• Iona is already preparing the paperwork to get Lamont Jones eligible immediately after he transferred from Arizona. The waiver will be based on Jones' ill grandmother, according to a source with direct knowledge. Jones was not kept apprised of his grandmother's health during the season at Arizona until February, according to the source. That's why the Arizona staff may have been a bit miffed when Jones apparently referenced a need to be closer to home when he transferred.

The NCAA has had a history of granting these hardship waivers. They do need documentation from a doctor and that is apparently being provided for Jones' case. It also helps if the previous school supports the immediate transfer. It would be highly vindictive if Arizona did protest Jones playing at Iona, a school that isn't a rival or in the same conference. According to a source, Arizona doesn't plan to protest.

Iona will be the favorite over Fairfield with or without Jones in the MAAC. The Gaels return Michael Glover and Scott Machado from a 25-win team that lost to Saint Peter's in the MAAC title game in Bridgeport, Conn.

Second-year coach Tim Cluess played four point guards at one time when he was at C.W. Post, a Division II school in New York. So Cluess can be creative and go with three players who can handle the ball well.

• One point has come up throughout the week in prepping for the NBA draft on June 23: Texas freshman point guard Cory Joseph might be the most disappointed player.

Joseph may struggle to be selected on draft night. The consensus is that he made a major mistake by staying in the draft and a number of NBA personnel wonder how he came to the conclusion.

• The two Georgia underclassmen -- Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie -- and the pair of UCLA underclassmen -- Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee -- will all sweat out the first round, and it's uncertain that they made the right call for the lack of guaranteed money in the second round.

• Illinois' Jereme Richmond may also end up regretting his decision as he has faded from the hot list, too.

• Boston College's Reggie Jackson has been hurt (knee surgery) and hasn't worked out for anyone in the spring. Jackson would have been a workout wonder and clearly could have moved up the draft order. He still may but in this draft, "out of sight, out of mind" could end up hurting a player like Jackson when it's hard to distinguish the difference in talent.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer


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