Sunday, January 20, 2008

Knight school?

The country's top-rated Class of 2010 point guard was at Sunday's game on an unofficial visit to the UConn.

Brandon Knight, a 6-foot-3 sophomore out of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was at the game with the rest of his teammates, sitting behind the UConn bench. Pine Crest is coached by New Haven native Dave Beckerman, who is the founder of the New Haven-based Starter clothing company and a friend of UConn coach Jim Calhoun.

Pine Crest had just participated in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic up the road in Springfield, Mass. Knight scored 26 points and was named game MVP in the team's win over Holyoke, Mass. on Saturday.

Knight, a lifelong Floridian who currently lives in Coral Springs, liked the UConn campus – if not the weather.

"It's a nice place," he said. "I've got to get adjusted to the weather, but I like the facilities and stuff like that."

Knight, who spoke briefly with Calhoun after the game, has received offers from Florida and Louisville, but the sophomore is in no hurry to make a college choice. A 4.0 GPA student, Knight knows his priorities when ultimately choosing a school.

"Probably the academics, most importantly," he said, "and secondly the coach and how he treats his players, and how the players develop over time and how they do after college."

Beckerman played at Hillhouse High, then Southern Connecticut State, and coached at Hamden Hall for 11 years. He moved to Florida to retire a few years ago but couldn't get coaching out of his blood, and is now in his fourth year at the helm at Pine Crest School.

Also with him was Ed Waite, who plays basketball at Pine Crest but is a major football recruit, courted by LSU, South Florida and Miami, among others. He and some other football teammates visited UConn's new football training facility prior to the game.

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