Author Archives: Dom Amore

(Updated) Report: Diamond Stone, But Not Malik Newman Making Unofficial Visit To UConn This Weekend []

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The “package deal” continues to be a target for UConn. The package includes a big man, Diamond Stone, from Milwaukee, and Malik Newman, a combo-guard from Jackson, Ms., who have expressed interest in choosing a college together. recruiting analyst Evan Daniels originally reported, via Twitter:

“Diamond Stone tells me he is taking an unofficial visit to Connecticut with Malik Newman this weekend.”.

However, it now appears it will just be Stone. More from Daniels:

 “Just received a text message from Malik Newman in regards to visiting UConn this weekend: “I was, but I can’t now.” … It looks like it will be just Diamond Stone at UConn this weekend. Still a big deal for Kevin Ollie …”

Either way, it is, indeed, a positive development. UConn has invested a lot of time with both, considered  “five star” recruits, including in-home visits this spring. Kevin Ollie also squeezed in a trip to Milwaukee last season to see Stone play. They are both rated near the very top of the 2015 recruiting class, so if the Huskies were to land both, to go along with Will Jackson, they would be in excellent shape there.

Newman, 6-foot-3, and Stone, 6-10, became close friends playing on USA Basketball’s under-16 team in Uruguay last summer. Here’s a nice read on their relationship from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.


Another guard/big duo visited UConn earlier this week, guard Jalen Adams from Boston, who came to First Night last year, and big man Josh Sharma, 7-0, from Northfield Mt.Hermon. They are teammates on Rivals Basketball Club in New Hampshire.


On another front, freshman Daniel Hamilton and Rakim Lubin are expected to start classes at UConn on June 30. I had the wrong date here the other day, my bad.




UConn Men, Women To Be Honored at White House on Monday

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UConn’s dual national champions, the men’s and women’s basketball teams, will have their day at the White House next Monday.

President Obama will welcome the Huskies, assuming the usual visit and tour will ensue, with ceremonies at 4:05 p.m.

We imagine there will be no “bunny ears” this time, but one never knows.

“This visit will continue a tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities,” read the White House release. (The date has been finalized, but, of course, anything concerning a president’s schedule is tentative.)

Sam Cassell Jr. Arrives; Daniel Hamilton, Rakim Lubin Expected In Storrs June 20

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Daniel Hamilton says, via Twitter, of course, that he will be coming to UConn for the next session of summer classes, which begins in about three weeks.

“I’m going to be in Storrs in 22 days from now, y’all,” Hamilton tweeted on Monday morning.

The first session of summer classes begins this week. Sam Cassell Jr., another Huskies newcomer, is on campus. When Hamilton, the top-rated recruit, played in the Jordan Brand Classic in New York in April, he said he planned to be in Storrs on June 2. But he will be playing in a pro-am league in Los Angeles next week. He graduated last week from John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif.

Hamilton’s arrival at UConn is more of an issue than it would normally be, because he has not signed a binding National Letter of Intent, but a financial aid agreement. His brother, Isaac, signed an NLOI with Texas-El Paso and was not allowed to transfer without sitting a year, so Daniel Hamilton did not want to sign a binding letter. Once he comes to UConn and enrolls, that becomes irrelevant.

He has never wavered publically in his intention to come to UConn. He said in April that it was contingent on Kevin Ollie being there. Now that Ollie has a new five-year contract, that concern is gone.

UConn has a special summer session starting on June 20; that’s apparently what Hamilton meant. Rakim Lubin, UConn’s other incoming freshman, has signed an NLOI and is expected to arrive when Hamilton does, on June 20.

Cassell Jr, the son of the longtime NBA point guard, is coming in from JuCo, Florida’s Chipola College and getting acclimated in Storrs.

The American Conference States Its Position …

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The American Athletic Conference wrapped up its meetings in Florida on Friday, and put out a statement on NCAA governance reform, and other issues. Here it is, in its entirety:


“The student-athletes at our member institutions compete and succeed at the highest level and benefit from the significant investments we are making in our men’s and women’s athletic programs, including infrastructure and facilities. Our Conference enjoyed unprecedented success during our inaugural season, highlighted by UCF’s BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory and UConn’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. We established ourselves as one of the premier conferences in America.

“We continue to support the NCAA governance redesign process and are committed to enhancing our student-athlete experience by embracing full cost of attendance, academic and professional support, and health and safety initiatives, among other items.

“As this process continues, we support the idea of making all autonomous legislation permissive, and we are examining the proposed areas of autonomy to determine if any are more appropriate for shared governance.

 “The American continues to be supportive of governance reform and the work of the NCAA Steering Committee. We appreciate the opportunity to address issues and concerns with the Steering Committee during the comment period and look forward to a successful NCAA restructuring that will serve the needs of our student-athletes and our institutions in the years to come.”


Prince Ali ‘Reopens Recruitment;’ No Longer Committed to UConn

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UConn hasn’t had a player de-commit in a while, and it seems a little odd that a player would do so within a few weeks of the Huskies winning a national championship. But Prince Ali, the guard from Florida who was UConn’s first get from the Class of 2015, backed out on Thursday.

Ali tweeted the following:

“After talking it over with my family, I have decided to reopen my recruitment! I still love UConn and I am still considering UConn!”

Born in the Bronx, Ali, a 6-foot-4 guard, has said he has been a UConn fan all his life. He made an oral commitment in November 2013.

After the Huskies made it to the Final Four, Ali told the Miami Herald on April 2:

“I am happy for UConn and coach Ollie after everything they have been through,” Ali said. “When I committed early people were asking me why UConn. They faced a ban and there was talk if their seniors were going to stay. Well it turns out like I made a great decision.”

Ali did not give a reason for his change of heart Thursday, and UConn folks cannot comment on recruits who have not signed a letter of intent or financial aid agreement.

But one might speculate that Ali decided he committed too early, and now wants to explore other options as his senior year approaches. Or, perhaps, he is concerned about UConn’s numbers in the backcourt the next few years. Ryan Boatright will Continue reading

An Evening With Jim Calhoun in Hartford, June 27

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Jim Calhoun will be honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Arthritis Foundation of New England on June 27 at the Marriott in downtown Hartford. Want to pass along some details here:


The Arthritis Foundation New England Region and Honorary Co-Chairs, I. Bradley Hoffman, Hoffman Auto Group and Joseph Savage, Webster Bank, will host An Evening with Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun on Friday, June 27 at the Marriott Downtown Hartford.  Webster Bank and Hoffman Lexus join together to present Coach Calhoun with the Arthritis Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

This event will feature cocktail reception, dinner and an in-person interviewing of Calhoun by “The Voice of the UConn Huskies”, Joe D’Ambrosio. The event will also feature a high-end live and silent auction.

For more information, sponsorship package, purchase individual tickets or make a donation information, please contact the Arthritis Foundation at 860-781-7776.


6 – 7:30 pm | Registration, Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction

7:30 – 9:30 pm | Award Presentation, Coach Calhoun Interview and Arthritis Foundation Program

Highlights of Kevin Ollie’s New Contract With UConn …

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Below is a summary of Kevin Ollie’s new five-year, $16 million contract with UConn, as sent out by the school Thursday afternoon. The full document is quite long, of course. Lot of interesting things here, but note the buyout terms. Ollie would have to pay $5 million if he left in 2014-14, then $4 million, then it goes to $1 million.

Here it is:

CONTRACT PERIOD: The term of the contract is June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2019.

SALARY/SPEAKING AND MEDIA APPEARANCES: The contract calls for an annual base salary, as well as, annual payments for institutional speaking and media appearances.

The following is a year-by-year summary of those payments:

Period Base Salary Speaking and Media Fees Total

June 1, 2014-May 31, 2015 $400,000 $2,400,000 $2,800,000

June 1, 2015-May 31, 2016 $400,000 $2,500,000 $2,900,000

June 1, 2016-May 31, 2017 $400,000 $2,600,000 $3,000,000

June 1, 2017-May 31, 2018 $400,000 $2,700,000 $3,100,000

June 1, 2018-May 31, 2019 $400,000 $2,800,000 $3,200,000

NOTE: No General Fund (state tax dollars) or tuition monies were used to provide any of the resources for this contract. The Division of Athletics at the University of Connecticut is an Auxiliary Service Fund entity and the sources of revenue include: gate receipts, private fundraising, corporate partnerships, television/radio rights, conference revenues and NCAA revenues.

AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE: The Coach will receive an annual car allowance in the amount of $15,000 to be paid on a bi-weekly basis.

SUMMER CAMPS/CLINICS: The Coach may organize and direct basketball camps or clinics utilizing University dormitories, dining halls, athletics facilities and other campus facilities, at the rates and fees published by the University’s Conference Services Office. Coach Ollie may also organize and direct basketball camps or clinics located off the University’s campus. All camps and clinics run by the Coach shall be owned and operated by the Coach.

ENDORSEMENT CONTRACTS: Any consulting, endorsement or outside income activity performed by the Coach shall be consistent with the University consulting policy. Personal endorsement agreement must be consistent with the University’s agreement with IMG and compliant with all University policies and all Connecticut state statutes.

TICKETS: The University will provide the Coach with twenty (20) tickets for personal use and purchase privileges for up to ten (10) additional tickets for all home, away, conference tournament and post-season men’s basketball events while serving as Head Men’s Basketball Coach. The University will provide the Coach with twenty (20) tickets in a suite and five (5) parking passes for personal use for all home football games at Rentschler Field while serving as Head Men’s Basketball Coach. The Coach will be responsible for all costs associated with food and beverage service in the suite and no such costs shall be regarded as subject to reimbursement. Also, the Coach will be entitled to receive four (4) tickets for all other UConn home athletic events.

COUNTRY CLUB: The University shall pay the current fee categories for an annual family membership at a country club approved by the athletic director.

COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES AND PERFORMANCE: The Coach will receive one month of base salary for winning a conference regular season championship; one month of base salary for winning a conference post-season tournament championship; one month of base salary for participation in the NCAA tournament; one month of base salary for participation in the NCAA Sweet 16; one month of base salary for participation in the NCAA Elite Eight; one month of base salary for participation the NCAA Final Four; three month of base salary for winning the NCAA national championship; one-half month of base salary for winning a conference and/or national coach of the year award; a $5,000 payment for each academic semester with a team grade point average of 2.8 or above; a $10,000 payment for each year with an APR score of 930 or above.

BUYOUT: If the Coach accepts a position as a Head Coach of men’s basketball at an NCAA Division I institution, the following will be due to the University from the Coach: $5,000,000 in 2014-15; $4,000,000 in 2015-16; $3,000,000 in 2016-17; $2,000,000 in 2017-18 and 2018-19. If the Coach accepts a position as a Head Coach or Assistant Coach in the NBA, the following will be due to the University from the Coach: $5,000,000 in 2014-15; $4,000,000 in 2015-16; $1,000,000 in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.


Jim Calhoun’s UConn Alumni Game Scheduled for Aug. 8

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Always get a lot of questions on this. Save the date …

The Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game will have a new twist this year.

There are still details to be worked out – NBA approval and sanction still has to be granted, though that has never been a problem. The date is Aug. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:30 p.m., and the format will have UConn alumni All-Stars against other NBA All-Stars – a team of retired players, mostly from old Big East Conference schools.

So it should be interesting, with a lot of old foes from the 1980s, 90s and 2000s out on the court together. And with UConn coming off its fourth national championship, there should be even more enthusiasm in the atmosphere.

The game has been played every other year, part of the Calhoun Celebrity Classic, which includes the golf events, and has raised millions for research for the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Center.

Tickets will go on sale in mid-June. … We’ll pass along ticket info and other details as they becomes available.

Ollie, Rizzotti Pitching In For ‘Miracle League’

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Kevin Ollie and Jen Rizzotti are honorary co-chairs for the Miracle League of Connecticut’s Celebrity Golf Classic on June 3 at Wampanoag CC in West Hartford.

Proceeds from the tournament go to maintain the baseball facility at Trout Brook and Asylum Ave., a flat, cushioned baseball field that is fully wheelchair accessible, as is the adjoining playground. “The mission of the Miracle League of Connecticut is to provide boys and girls ages 5-18 with developmental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball in a safe and nurturing environment,” reads the tournament’s brochure.

The hope is to build more facilities of this kind in Connecticut. Here is more information.

Shabazz Napier’s Craziest Dream: Playing For Celtics

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Shabazz Napier was telling reporters in Chicago on Friday, as he told those of us who were at Fenway when the Huskies were honored there a couple of weeks ago, that playing for the Celtics would be the ultimate for a kid from Roxbury.

Here is Napier at the NBA Combines:

“It would be crazy, it would be really, really ironic. I’m from Boston, I grew up a Boston fan. To wear the white and green, that would be insane. There’s a lot of history and tradition there, and a lot of pressure. But I’m good with pressure.

“… Of course your aspiration as a kid is knocking down the game-winning shot for your team, and I probably had a lot of game-winning shots for the Boston Celtics. You definitely have aspirations, but I never really thought it would come to real life.”

In speed and agility drills, Napier ran the three-quarter court spring in 3.20 seconds, with a standing vertical leap of 30.5, a max leap of 37.5 and his overall score in the lane agility was 11.60.

DeAndre Daniels was 11.46 in the lane agility, with a three-quarter sprint of 3.44, 29.5 on the standing vertical and 32 on the max vertical.

Here are the raw numbers from the combines on


And some video of Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels.