DeAndre Daniels won’t have to worry about who his coach is next season at UConn.
He said Jim Calhoun told him he will remain with the team.
“[Calhoun said] I don’t have to worry about him not being there,” Daniels told SNY.tv by phone Wednesday. “He said he’ll be there.”
Asked how that made him feel, Daniels said, “It made me feel good.”
The 69-year-old Calhoun, who won his third NCAA championship against Butler in April, has said he will make a final decision about his future during a family vacation this month in Hilton Head, S.C.
After gaining a verbal commitment from the 6-foot-8, 192-pound Daniels out of IMG Academies on Tuesday, Calhoun now has an extra special talent to help cope with the loss of Kemba Walker. Daniels is the No. 3 small forward in the Class of 2011 and is regarded as a future pro.
“I decided to go to UConn yesterday, actually ,” he said by phone. “I was sitting down with my dad, we were just talking, and we came to the decision that UConn was the best situation for me. And I chose UConn because I thought it was the best fit for me, just their style of play, and just how they develop their wing guys. And just how he makes his guys better.”
Calhoun figures to stay at least a couple of more years, and Daniels said he himself plans to spend two years in college before a potential pro career.
“My goal is to spend two years,” he said.
Daniels has never actually been to the UConn campus, but he said his parents have been their recently.
He plans to sign scholarship papers in the coming days. He never signed a Letter of Intent with another school, even though he verbally committed to Texas while at Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft High.
“He’s going to sign those financial aid and those scholarship players,” IMG coach Andy Borman said. “That will serve as that NLI.”
Daniels plans to be on campus around June 25 for the start of summer school June 27.
UConn returns wings Jeremy Lamb and Roscoe Smith, point guard Shabazz Napier and big man Alex Oriakhi, and Daniels hopes to help them contend for another national championship.
“I think I can play a big role, just come and help them guys,” Daniels said. “I know them guys are really good and me just coming in trying to earn a spot and help them go to another national championship, hopefully.”
At the semester break, Daniels said he seriously considered Kansas or Texas for the second semester.
“I mean, I was considering those schools, but I guess everybody was just talking about I’m going to end up going there and I’m going there,” he said. “I was never talking so everybody was just making up rumors. But I was considering those schools.”
Asked about rumors that he preferred Texas and his father, LaRon, liked Kansas, Daniels said, “It wasn’t true.”
He said he ultimately chose UConn over Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Florida. He called the coaches from those other schools after calling Calhoun Tuesday.
Duke was involved at one point, “but it was one of those things where I think the more they got to know each other, they just kind of realized that it wasn’t a good fit for ‘D,'” Borman said.
“He’s happy,” Borman added. “And that’s the most important thing. There’s been a lot of pressure and a lot of perceptions and rumors out there about DeAndre, but the thing DeAndre has realized is, it was worth it, he’s made the right choice and he’s happy to be a Husky.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.