Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Having squared away his current roster, new UConn coach Dan Hurley is focusing on 2019 and beyond.
In about a week’s span, UConn will host key 2019 targets Akok Akok, Precious Achiuwa, Jalen Gaffney and Kofi Cockburn
Akok, the 6-foot-9 power forward from Putnam Science Academy (CT), visited UConn last Friday. He’s also being targeted by Providence, Syracuse and Texas Tech, among others.
“He really liked it,” Putnam assistant Josh Scraba said of UConn. “He loves the new staff and hinks they will turn the program around quick.”
The 6-9 Achiuwa out of St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) is also visiting UConn on Monday.
Achiuwa, who averaged 20.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season at St. Benedict’s Prep, holds offers from UCLA, Oregon, St. John’s, UConn, Kansas, UMass, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Syracuse, and VCU.
Hurley, who coached at St. Benedict’s from 2001-10, visited Achiuwa this spring.
“Going back to St. Benedict’s, there’s just a ton of memories,” Hurley said recently. “It’s cool to have people that I’ve taught in the classroom next to or coached with come by and talk about those days there, building a program. The great players, the great teams, the memories in that gym. The practices and the games with J.R. [Smith], Tristan Thompson and Lance Thomas was pretty cool there.”
Gaffney, the 6-3 point guard from the Westtown (PA) School, plans to visit UConn this week, likely Thursday, his father told ZAGSBLOG. He’s also recently visited Virginia Tech, Louisville, Xavier and Pitt.
“I’m a player that’s willing to do everything on the court, play defense, assist, score, whatever they want me to do,” he said this spring, “I’m there.”
Meantime, Hurley and assistant Kimani Youngalso spent a day this spring at Christ the King High School to watch 6-10 Cockburn, ranked No. 23 by ESPN. Hurley knows Cockburn’s mentors through his connection with fellow Jamaican Samardo Samuels, who played for Hurley at St. Benedict’s. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Cincinnati and South Carolina are also involved for Cockburn, while Kansas and Tennessee recently offered.
Cockburn visits St. John’s Tuesday, one day after fellow big man Aidan Igiehon of Lawrence Woodmere Academy visits the Queens school Monday, and UConn on Friday. St. John’s also hosts 6-6 small forward Chris Ledlum of Saint Peter’s (N.Y.) on Monday.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.