NCB On The Trail: Connecticut Huskies

Malik Newman’s name has been at the top of the charts since his freshman year in high school. Let’s take a look at what makes him special on the court and who is recruiting him the hardest.

What position is Newman?

Minneapolis Nike EYBL recap 

May, 25, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The fourth session of the Nike EYBL gave teams one more opportunity to add league wins and earn the right to participate in the Peach Jam that will crown a champion in July.

Check out some of the many terrific prospect performances we witnessed this weekend at the EYBL:


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ESPN 60 guard Allonzo Trier made Nike EYBL history last weekend, becoming the first player to ever record 30 or more points in each game of a single session.

While the feat has never been accomplished before on the Nike circuit, ironically, Adidas had someone accomplish the very same thing on the same weekend when fellow ESPN 60 guard Jalen Adams finished with 30 or more points in all four of his games.

While Trier and Adams are similar in that they are two of the nation's best scoring guards in the 2015 class, they’re unique in the way they look to attack the defense.


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With Myles Turner's commitment to Texas serving as an unofficial close to the 2014 recruiting class, it’s time to focus on the 2015 crop.

Here are 10 questions that the recruiting world will seek to answer in the next year:

1. Will it be one and done?


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Recruit and return: UConn 

April, 7, 2014
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To return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at UConn and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Ryan Boatright
G: Rodney Purvis
F: Daniel Hamilton
F: DeAndre Daniels
C: Amida Brimah


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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

Now that we have reached in the championship game, I would definitely say Connecticut. When Kevin Ollie took over this program on a full-time basis, there was a bit of uncertainty about him as a coach and as a recruiter because he was new to both fields. Anytime you have on-the-court success it opens doors for the next line of recruits. They now consider you and your program and will listen to you. This magical run for Ollie solidifies to the public and -- more importantly -- to the UConn program that he and his staff should get some nice residual benefits from future recruiting classes.
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When we analyze and evaluate the skill set of today's basketball player, we speak quite often about their ability to drive to the rim and finish as well as knocking down 3-point shots.

What has been forgotten and not emphasized enough from coaches and workout coaches is their middle game. The ability to score the ball inside the arc and before one gets to the rim in tight quarters is a true gift. I would love to see today's player really work on their middle game to be a more well-rounded scorer.

Let's take a look at which ESPN 100 prospects possess the all-important middle game in the senior class.


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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Hoop Exchange in partnership with Source Hoops featured the Florida Spring Exposure Series 11th/12th-grade edition that took place at Barnett Park Orlando Magic Center this weekend. This prestigious event showcased some of the best high school talent the Sunshine State has to offer.

Here are a few players who caught our eye.


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Biancardi's Breakdown: JaQuan Lyle 

February, 17, 2014
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video JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Huntington Prep), the highest-rated uncommitted perimeter player left in the ESPN 100, is in high demand as Kansas, Providence, Oregon, UConn, Memphis and Oklahoma State are in heavy pursuit of the Indiana native. He is one of the few players left in the 2014 class who could come in and contribute immediately to a major college program.

Let’s take a look at the latest on his recruitment, how his game has grown and what he can do to reach his potential.


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Biancardi's Breakdown: Daniel Hamilton 

February, 10, 2014
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Daniel Hamilton (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco) is one of the nation's best scoring guards, but at times, he can be a volume scorer and not a productive scorer. The Connecticut commit is ranked as the No. 2 player in the West behind Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) and the No. 31 prospect in the ESPN 100.

Let's take an in-depth look at what this shooting guard does well and what he need to work on:


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Nike Extravaganza recap 

February, 3, 2014
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The 19th annual Nike Extravaganza was quite possibly the best collection of talent in its tenure. When you have Duke-bound Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) going head-to-head with Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), that is about as good as it gets. Add in USC-bound Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda) putting the St. John Bosco defense on skates and recent ESPN 100 entree Elijah Stewart (Los Angeles/Westchester) scorching the nets, it further solidifies the claim that the event was loaded.

A load in the paint

Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young)
2014, C, 6-foot-10, 270 pounds
Status: Signed with Duke
Okafor didn't get many touches because of Mater Dei's collapsing zone. Once teammate and Saint Louis signee Miles Stewart started draining 3s, it opened up some breathing room for him to operate. He gathered most of his stats on offensive rebounds and utilizing those magnetic hands he possesses. At this level, he can dominate with his length, strength, and post skills. However, Okafor has limited lift and he struggled at times corralling rebounds despite having a significant size advantage.


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UConn ready to run and gun 

December, 18, 2013
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It was just about one year ago that Kevin Ollie had the “interim” removed from his title as the Connecticut head men’s basketball coach, a decision that had as much to do with a potentially critical 2015 recruiting class as it did his strong start on the sidelines.

Fast forward 12 months and Ollie has Connecticut exactly where it is accustomed to being, right in the thick of the national college basketball landscape. Going into tonight’s game against Stanford (9:00p.m. on ESPN2), UConn is 9-0 and a consensus top 10 team in the country.


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Scout's Take: Prince Ali to Connecticut 

November, 25, 2013
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Four-star Class of 2015 prospect Prince Ali (Pembroke Pines, Fla./The Sagemont School) ended his recruitment Monday, selecting the Connecticut Huskies over finalists UCLA, Georgetown, Nebraska and Illinois.

Ali is a fast-rising, versatile wing and an excellent early pickup for coach Kevin Ollie. He's a nice fit on both ends of the floor for the Huskies.


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#AskCoachB: Who does UConn add?

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Heading into this class, UConn needed one player at every position. The Huskies got Daniel Hamilton early and spent time with him all summer. They really wanted and invested a ton of time on Abdul-Malik Abu but missed and got Rakim Lubin, a three-star forward, instead. They pursued several point guards, including Josh Perkins and Jordan McLaughlin before getting Sam Cassell Jr. out of the junior college ranks. Underrated Canadian big man Ray Kasongo is still on the board. He has visited UConn and could be the big man the Huskies add. The Huskies could also go after another perimeter guy such as JaQuan Lyle. Rodney Purvis, the best player on the UConn roster, will not play this season after transferring from NC State and his athletic ability and attacking style will be a big addition next season. Purvis’ college experience should also benefit the Huskies and their influx of new talent in next year’s class.

#AskCoachB: Package deals?

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
12:30
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Maybe it's an aberration or maybe it will become a trend in college recruiting, but count Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle as the latest who talk about going to school together. This talk all started when Lyle decommitted from Louisville.

A recent quote from Alexander on Twitter:



Another pair of top players, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, have been planning the same scenario and have been on the same page for months about their intentions and the recruiting process.

Lyle has visits set up with Arizona, Kansas and Memphis, and he visited UConn this past weekend.

Alexander and Lyle will be visiting Kansas and Memphis together, and it's worth noting that Alexander's girlfriend will be on the Jayhawks women's basketball team as a freshman this season, which is one reason why Kansas has been such a high mention.

Alexander already has visited Arizona and DePaul and will also be heading to Illinois for an official visit. Michigan State is still in the race, as Alexander has been there unofficially and includes them on his list.

Memphis is right in the thick of the race and they just made a home visit last Friday. Cliff told me that he and his mom love Tigers coach Josh Pastner.

Look for both to make their decisions after the early signing period to give Lyle time to sort things out and to let the dust settle after the early signing week. Alexander told me he should be ready sometime in December.

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