UConn's Hurley says it will be a 'failure' if Fab 5 recruiting class doesn't win an NCAA title | Zagsblog
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Saturday / July 13.
  • UConn’s Hurley says it will be a ‘failure’ if Fab 5 recruiting class doesn’t win an NCAA title

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    With big recruiting classes come outsize expectations.

    UConn coach Dan Hurley has a “Fab 5” recruiting class ranked No. 4 nationally by 247Sports.com — and he says it will be a “failure” if the group doesn’t contend for an NCAA championship.

    “You start saying to yourself we can win a national championship with this nucleus of people we’ve put together,” Hurley told reporters Thursday, per Dave Borges of the New Haven Register. “That’s what we’re going for. Anything less than doing that will be looked at as a failure.”

    UConn has won four national titles since 1999 — more than any other program during that span. Yet Hurley is still seeking his first NCAA Tournament win since taking over in 2018.

    In September, UConn hosted all five of its Class of 2023 recruits — and they posed for the now infamous “Fab 5” photos.

    “You’d better be great when you’re here, because people are going to bring that back up if you don’t crush it,” Hurley said.

    Three recruits were committed at the time — guards Solo Ball, Stephon Castle and Jayden Ross.

    Small forward Jaylin Stewart and big man Yousouff Singare were also on the visit and committed soon thereafter.

    “We’re going to do something great together because all those guys, they’re really good, they got talent,” the 6-foot-11 Singare, who plays for Our Savior Lutheran in The Bronx and competes as part of the Overtime Elite league, told ZAGSBLOG when he committed. “Together we can do something great, really great.”

    Asked about trying to contend for the program’s fifth NCAA championship, he said, “Hell yeah, that’s the goal, man. That’s the main goal.”

    In a release from the school Friday, Hurley broke down each player:

    Stephon Castle, 6-6, PG, Covington, Ga.

    Castle, who committed to the Huskies one year ago, has consistently been rated among the nation’s Top 25. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as he led Newton High School to the Final Four of the GHSA playoffs.

    Castle then went on to help USA Basketball win the gold medal in the 2022 FIBA U18 America Championships in Tijuana, Mexico, and he also was invited to compete in the Under Armour Next Elite 24 game in Chicago.
    Coach Hurley on Castle:

    “Steph is one of the top-rated point guards in the class and we expect him to be next in the line of great UConn guards. He is blessed with unique positional size and strength, which gives him tremendous potential as a two-way player.”

    Jayden Ross, 6-7, Wing, Bristow, Va.

    Ross averaged 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the St. James School (Hagerstown, Md.) last season. Ross, who plays AAU ball for Team Melo, is spending his senior year at Long Island Lutheran before coming to UConn in 2023-24. Ross was a sharpshooting 6-foot guard as a freshman in high school, then went through a huge growth spurt to become a versatile wing who can score at three levels.

    Coach Hurley on Ross:
    “Jayden is a terrific student, he’s the product of an amazing family. He’s an explosive athlete, a big wing who can really use his shooting as a weapon on the offensive end. He’s got a great upside.”

    Solomon Ball, 6-4, Guard, Leesburg, Va.

    Ball, who was teammates with Ross both at St. James and on Team Melo, is an athletic guard who can play on or off the ball and is a solid three-point shooter. Ball, who transferred to Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) for his senior year, is a prolific scorer, averaging 25.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season at St. James and over 16 points per game for Team Melo. He added some 25 pounds of muscle last year and has steadily climbed in the national recruiting rankings into the Top 50.

    Coach Hurley on Ball:
    “Solo is that rare type of athlete who plays with an athletic rage, with incredible competitive fire and spirit. He’s a combo guard with excellent two-way skills – a player who can score at all three levels. Solo has a championship pedigree and we anticipate a great career for him at UConn.”

    Jaylin Stewart, 6-7, Wing, Seattle, Wash.

    Stewart is a versatile player out of James A. Garfield High School who also is a top 60 recruit. He averaged 16.4 points per game on the Nike EYBL circuit, playing for Seattle Rotary and was a finalist for the 2021 USA Basketball U16 National Team.

    Coach Hurley on Stewart:
    “Jaylin is just uniquely talented, with every offensive skill you can think of. He has an awesome blend of size, strength and skill for a perimeter player. He is a natural basketball player with an elevated feel for the game and we feel he has the potential to be a star.”

    Youssouf Singare, 7-0, Center, Bronx, N.Y.

    Singare, is originally from Mali (home of current UConn co-captain Adama Sanogo) but now lives in the Bronx, N.Y., and attends Our Saviour Lutheran. A shot-blocking rim protector, Singare is also known as an elite rebounder and an extremely athletic big man who runs the floor well. He has also played for the EYBL New Heights Lightning on the AAU circuit for the last two years. He has been ranked as high as the No. 18 big man in the 2023 class.

    Coach Hurley on Singare:
    “Youssouf not only brings ideal size and athleticism to our frontcourt, but he is a competitor who plays with an impressive spirit and focus. He is an engaged defender who can protect the rim and rebound at an elite level and he is rapidly developing offensive confidence. Besides his basketball skills, Youssouf is an exceptional communicator who can galvanize his team on the floor.”


    UConn announced that sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins is in concussion protocol, per Borges.

    During Monday’s win over Stonehill, he hit his head hard on the ground after flying in for an offensive rebound.

    Hurley has said Hawkins and junior guard Andre Jackson could sneak into the first round of the NBA Draft.

    As for Jackson (broken pinky), he has “advanced to non-live drills,” per Borges.

    “Fingers crossed, maybe for next week with him? We’ll see,” Hurley said.

    At Big East Media Day last month, Jackson vowed to return before the Huskies travel to Oregon over Thanksgiving.

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    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.

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