NEW YORK – Spent the day at Baruch College, watching Kentan Facey and Terrence Samuel, two UConn commits for next year, lead their teams to wins in the Big Apple Invitational.
Stories should be coming out during the week in The Courant, but for now, here are some thoughts, quotes, etc., from the day.
Facey almost had a triple-double, getting 12 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks, including a couple game-savers down the stretch, as Long Island Lutheran beat Bayside 58-55.
Facey, 6-foot-9, is thin, he’s going to need some work in the weight room, and he’s raw. He has only been playing basketball for about three years.
“My basketball IQ is a lot higher than last year,” he said. “Defensive positioning – I understand the game a more.” But he’s very smart, and considering how little experience he has, he’s remarkable.
As Kevin Ollie touted, he runs, runs, runs the floor relentlessly. He said he never seriously considered de-comitting from UConn during the period of coaching uncertainty.
“I knew coach Ollie wouldn’t steer me wrong,” he said.
Fun facts: Facey grew up on the family farm in Jamaica, and played mostly soccer and cricket as a kid.
Samuel had 17 points, six assists and three steals in South Shore’s 75-62 win over Pope John XXIII, a prospect-filled team from Jersey. He was pretty impressive, too. A big kid, he plays with a lot of enthusiasm, teammates seem to respond well to his lead.
He’s a good passer, though he can get carried away at times. “He can be unselfish to a fault,” he coach, Michael Beckles, says.
Samuel scored 38 points in two games here and walked off with an MVP trophy. He speaks with Kevin Ollie frequently.
“I spoke to him a couple of days ago,” Samuel said. “He tells me what he wants me to bring to the table at UConn, to keep working hard. He says, ‘while you’re sleeping, someone else is working.’”
Both Facey and Samuel considered UConn their dream destinations.
“When I was there, I met Shabazz Napier, he shook my hand in the weight room,” Samuel said. “He told me UConn was the greatest school in the world, but I already knew that.”
I spent some time in the bleachers with Terrence’s family. Lots of interesting stuff.
Fun fact: He used to dribble the ball so much on his quiet street in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, one of the neighbors complained to his mother, “I can’t get any rest.”
With the week off, UConn coaches are out on the road recruiting, in LA and D.C. They want one more guard for 2013, and have looked at a few, as we mentioned last week, but haven’t quite zeroed in on one yet.
As for 2014, add Malik Starkes, a 6-4 guard from Philly, to players on UConn’s radar. Word is, coaches were planning to check him out at a tournament in D.C.