Thursday, March 22, 2007

More UConn news

Here's some news that only made the Register's print edition on Thursday.

Garrison plans to leave UConn
Second expected exit in three days for the Huskies

By Brett Orzechowski
Register Staff

STORRS – He arrived as a late edition two seasons ago to fill a void left by suspensions then was told he would face heavy competition at the guard position this year. On Wednesday, Rob Garrison said it was time to move on with his college basketball career.

The University of Connecticut sophomore guard asked coach Jim Calhoun for his release to speak with other schools. With Garrison’s expected departure, the Huskies plan to have two scholarships available for next season with perhaps a third opening in the next few days, Calhoun said.

For Garrison, the seldom-used guard said he first considered transferring in January but decided to stay for the remainder of the season. He said he plans to transfer to either an Atlantic-10 or Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school next season. He ruled out Niagara, near where he grew up, even though he said the program has contacted his high school coach. Garrison appeared in 29 games, including 12 this season, over his two years at UConn.

“I left Niagara Falls because of basketball so I’m not going back. I’m keeping my options open. I’d like to go somewhere warm and somewhere where I can play, but I’m staying at this level,” Garrison said. “I was frustrated here and it’s the best move. I guess what I really wanted was a chance. If we were winning this season, I could understand, but we weren’t. I just wasn’t able to get in there so I’m moving on.”

Calhoun said Wednesday that the Huskies would like a shooter and another guard in Storrs for next season and UConn is currently recruiting two; Donnell Beverly from Leuzinger (Calif.) High School outside of Los Angeles, and junior college guard Marcus Thornton, from Kilgore (Tx.) College.

Calhoun said he has met with all 13 scholarship players and recently received word from one who is undecided about his future. He also said Hasheem Thabeet will decide within the next few days whether to declare for the NBA Draft or stay in school. Calhoun plans to meet with Thabeet’s mother and the freshman again in the next few days. He also said that Thabeet’s decision will weigh heavily on the recruitment of 7-foot high school senior Anthony McClain.

With the addition of possibly another guard, the Huskies would be left with five again, including A.J. Price, Craig Austrie, Doug Wiggins and Jerome Dyson. Calhoun said Austrie, who has been mentioned in various reports regarding a transfer, is staying.

Garrison’s planned departure comes a day after the university announced that freshman Ben Eaves intends to transfer when the semester is over. The forward said he is pursuing all options, but is currently looking into the same caliber of school as Garrison. Eaves mentioned George Washington, Rhode Island and Manhattan as possible destinations.

“Everything is a little disappointing from an individual standpoint and the season obviously didn’t go as expected. There were spots where I felt like I would get a shot in the rotation. I would think I found something and then I wouldn’t. That was a sign to me,” Eaves said. “Really, when I think about it, this year was a huge education. What I learned this year can be applied anywhere I go. I think it will only help but somewhere else.”

Brett Orzechowski may be reached at borzechowski@nhregister.com

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