STORRS – Rakim Lubin has been a kind of mystery man for UConn. Little was known of him when he came to campus last September, watched the grueling first practice, and committed.
He was rarely, if ever, quoted in the media and he did not sign a letter of intent in November. But Lubin went about his business, averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds per game for Buford (Ga.) High. He signed his letter in the spring and arrived on campus last week.
Lubin, who rooms with Daniel Hamilton, looks a little shorter than 6-foot-8, but he has a broad, strong upper body, a player in the Jeff Adrien mold, perhaps. He said he had reached 265 pounds in the spring, but was down to 248 when he weighed in on Monday, as he finished his first day of classes.
Lubin was covered in sweat after a workout at Gampel Pavilion, and he talked for a few minutes.
On why he chose UConn after watching practice last Sept. 28:
“The coaching, and the way the guys stuck it out together. No matter how hard it got, they kept fighting and stayed together, and that’s the type of player I am. So I liked seeing that when I came in that first day.”
On watching the Huskies win the title:
“I was telling people the whole year that we were going to win it because we had the best point guard in college basketball. No one believed it. They thought Florida was going to win it. It was pretty good to rub that in.”
Why he signed when he did:
“For some reason, I just wanted to sign during the last period, but I knew who I committed to and I knew where I wanted to be. …”
Why he changed high schools:
“My academic level wasn’t where it needed to be in Alabama, The school in Buford was a pretty good academic school and they helped me get it up to where I needed to be to be NCAA eligible.”
How he can help the Huskies
“Physicality and a lot of rebounding, that’s my main thing right now, coming in my freshman year and getting a lot of board,
I watched a lot of games. The one I noticed big-time was the Florida game in the tournament. The big guy, Patric Young, he was a big guy and I was like ‘I could body up with him pretty good, it would be a fun matchup.’
“… When they couldn’t get rebounds, they evened it out with the other things they did well. But I looked at a lot of games and thought I could help in the post.
“When they recruited me, they came and saw that I was a good rebounder. He came to me and said, ‘hey we need a rebounder,’ and I was like – that’s what I’m trying to do anyway, trying to get the most rebounds on the court. So I felt that it was a great fit for me, because they were looking for what I bring to the table.”