A few thoughts from the Jordan Brand game in Brooklyn last night. …
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. UConn has a couple of kids coming in, Kentan Facey and Terrence Samuel, who really, really, REALLY want to be there. Don’t care what they’re ranked or how many stars are attached to their names – that in itself is a good thing. These kids are so excited about going to UConn, you can tell they can’t wait to get there and that goes a long way.
“I’ve been excited since the first LETTER I got from UConn,” Facey was saying.
…. I really like to way Samuel plays, he’s got some size, takes it to the rim, he’s unselfish. It may take him a while to develop his skills and get up to speed at UConn’s level, but I think he’s going to become a really good player. He was excited about the possibility of playing with Rodney Purvis year after next.
Just in the span of three months, from when I saw him at Baruch College in January, to Saturday, I could see Facey had made great strides, not only on the court, but in the confidence with which he carries himself and expresses himself. Again, said it before, but for a kid who only started playing basketball about three years ago, he is obviously a student of the game – and a good student, period.
You can call both these kids have spoken to Kevin Ollie a lot, because a lot of what they say sounds like their new coach.
I thought coach Joe Arbitello’s take was very interesting, and I included it in my main story for the Sunday Courant. Arbitello, who coached Omar Calhoun at Christ The King, was really impressed with the way Calhoun grew as a freshman under Ollie and the UConn staff and he raved about both Samuel and Facey.
It’s going to be a great night when Calhoun, Facey and Samuel come back to Barclays with UConn to play Maryland next Nov. 8. It’s a beautiful arena.
Finally, I think it’s a great sign that Amida Brimah came up from Miami to watch his fellow incoming freshmen and bond with them. He stayed with Samuel and his family in Canarsie.
You never know how any incoming freshman are going to pan out, but character matters, attitude matters, and everything I see and hear indicates UConn made some good choices here – these kids have the right stuff for the challenge ahead.