Thursday, April 17, 2008

Majok to visit again

Ater Majok, the 6-foot-9, athletic forward who's game has been described as a cross between Charlie Villanueva and Rudy Gay, will make an official visit to UConn next week. Majok will likely be in Storrs next weekend, April 26-27, but may come a few days earlier to get a better idea of the school's academic environment.

Majok, a Sudanese native who has lived in Australia since he was 13, made an unofficial visit to UConn in early March. He caught the Huskies, loss at Providence and then waited an extra day to watch UConn blow out Cincinnati in its regular-season finale.

He visited the University of Kentucky on April 12-13 and is playing in the Derby Classic in Kentucky this weekend. Besides UConn, Majok has one more official visit he can make, and it will likely be either to UCLA or Kansas.

By all accounts, UConn is tops on Majok's list. Assistant coach Andre LaFleur visited Majok at his home in Australia in January and has been friends with Majok's coach/mentor Edward Smith for more than a decade.

Said Smith: "He wants to sit down with the staff, Coach Calhoun, and see what their plans are, what the composition of this team next year will be, and compare it to everything he’s experienced with other schools. As of now, Ater’s previoius relationship with Andre does put UConn at an advantage. He’s seen Kentucky, Coach (Bill) Gillespie did a great job mapping out a plan for Ater, where he sees he’ll fit. Kentucky basketball is Kentucky basketball. Over there it’s horses and basketball. He was impressed by the whole layout of the landscape. I know that Ater does want an opportunity to become a professional, and he feels that winning is an important component of that. Winning championships, making championship runs is an important component of becoming a professional and knowing how to win."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Calhoun on Wiggins

Here's Jim Calhoun's official response to Doug Wiggins' decision to transfer from UConn:

"I completely respect Doug's decision. He has contributed to many successes for us in his time here. We will do everything we can to help him finish school in good standing this semester and move on to a place where he will be happy. I appreciate him for the time that he was here with us and wish him the best of luck in the future."

More in tomorrow's Register.

Friars play Keno

Anyone who's been to a convenience store in Rhode Island knows that Keno is big in the Ocean State. Now, Providence College hopes Keno Davis is even bigger. (Bad lede, I know, but it's a blog)

The Friars have named Keno Davis as PC's 14th men's basketball coach. He spent last season as the head man at Drake University, where he was named 2008 National Coach of the Year by the AP, USBA and Sporting News.

Drake went 28-5 overall and 15-3 in the MVC this season but was defeated in the first round of the NCAA touranment by Western Kentucky, immediately before UConn's loss to San Diego at the St. Pete Times Forum. Both games went to overtime.

Davis is the son of Dr. Tom Davis, who coached at Boston College, among other stops. (For what it's worth, Jim Calhoun is 1-4 all-time against Dr. Tom ... if his luck against Dr. Tom's son doesn't improve, PC might continue it's hard-to-explain recent run of luck against the Huskies!!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Randy Smith passes away

Randy Smith, the longtime sports editor and columnist for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, died today. He was 61.

According to the Associated Press, Smith collapsed today and died at Manchester Memorial Hospital.

I didn't know Randy very well, only getting to know him a little better towards the end of this, my first year on the UConn men's basketball beat. He was always friendly and quick with a witty quip whenever we'd meet.

My sincerest condolences to Randy's family.