I’m planning a trip to New York on Monday to see Kentan Facey play for Long Island Lutheran and Terrence Samuel play for his South Shore High team in the Big Apple Invitation tournament at Baruch College. Both, of course, are coming to UConn next season.
It’s already been a big weekend there for Samuel, the exuberant guard. He hit the winning shot, driving through the defense for a lay-up on Saturday to beat Princeton Day, 64-63, the last of Samuel’s 21 points in that game.
I had the chance to sit down with Kevin Ollie this week, for a piece for the March issue of Hartford Magazine (more on that down the road), and, while I had him, I asked about Samuel and Facey.
On Samuel, who will play against New Jersey’s Pope John XXIII at 6 p.m. on Monday, Ollie said: “Terrence is going to be a solid guard for us. He’s a big guard, 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds and chisled as a rock. He makes people around him better. He’s a great passer, great vision, gets people open shots. And he’s got a great smile, great enthusiasm about the game. He’s not going to be a guy who come in here and dazzles you – one and done, he’s not that. But kind of like me, he’ll just matriculate his way through the system, and continue to get better. I think the sky’s the limit for the kid, because he works exceptionally hard.”
Facey, the 6-9 big man, plays for LI Lutheran against Bayside High of Queens at noon on Monday. Jim Calhoun said he saw him play about a dozen times last summer, and loved him. Ollie played a critical role in recruiting him before taking over the program in September.
Ollie: “Kentan Facey has just got a relentless motor. He loves the game and it shows every time you see him out on the court. The energy he exudes, playing with passion, running and diving and talking – everything you want in a big. He has an upside on the offensive end. If he comes in and works on his body and gets bigger, he can make some money playing basketball after he’s done playing here. I love the kid, love talking to him and everything about him.”
If all goes well, I’ll have stories on both Facey and Samuel for The Courant later this week, as the Huskies have a week before their next game.
As for UConn’s loss at Pitt on Saturday, the breakdown against the pick-and-roll was most irritating to Kevin Ollie after the game. That’s the topic of my follow-up story, now on our website and coming in the Monday Courant.