Dan Hurley to quickly turn to '25 roster building, says 'I don't think we're going anywhere' | Zagsblog
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Sunday / May 26.
  • Dan Hurley to quickly turn to ’25 roster building, says ‘I don’t think we’re going anywhere’

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    By SAM LANCE

    GLENDALE, Ariz — In the modern era of college basketball, roster construction never stops. The UConn Huskies may have just repeated as 2024 national champions after a 75-60 win over Purdue, but now it’s time to think about next season.

    And how could UConn not shift gears? The portal closes on May 1, and several talented players in the portal have already committed to play elsewhere. The Huskies have some time to make up.

    “Unfortunately we’re going to head into the portal, like everybody else now,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley said on the podium after securing back-to-back titles. “I’ve been dreading this moment. But now we’re here. Yeah, we’ll enjoy this for a couple days. On the flight home tomorrow, we’ll start talking about what the roster’s going to look like.”

    The Huskies have two players on its current roster that are out of college eligibility in guards Cam Spencer and Tristen Newton. They will not be in a UConn uniform next season. Other players who have potentially played their last games as Huskies include freshman guard Stephon Castle and sophomore center Donovan Clingan, as they will have to decide whether to enter the 2024 NBA Draft or return to school. Both Castle and Clingan are projected top-10 picks per CBS’ latest 2024 mock.

    “We’re going to lose a couple potentially to the NBA early entry,” Hurley said.

    The lone senior, Hassan Diarra, has a COVID year to utilize if he chooses to return. UConn could also bring back sophomore forward Alex Karaban, junior forward Samson Johnson, sophomore guards Andre Johnson Jr. and Apostolos Roumoglou, freshman forwards Jayden Ross and Jaylin Stewart, freshman center Youssouf Singare and freshman guard Solomon Ball.

    UConn is also adding a couple talented players via it’s 2024 recruiting class. Signed to play for the Huskies next year include four-star combo guard Ahmad Nowell and four-star small forward Isaiah Abraham.

    If Castle and Clingan both go to the NBA like expected, and everyone who can return does, that puts the roster at 11 players: Diarra, Karaban, Johnson, Johnson Jr., Roumoglou, Ross, Stewart, Singare, Ball, Nowell and Abraham. The Huskies would have two scholarship spots to play with in the portal in this scenario.

    “We’re going to dive in and put together a roster that can play a comparable level of basketball to the one that you guys have witnessed the last two years,” Hurley said. “That’s I know what our mindset will be. We’re going to be focusing on trying to put together a three-year run, not just a two-year run.”

    After the 2023 national title, Hurley lost three starters (Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr.) to the NBA. He also lost two key bench pieces in Nahiem Alleyne to the portal and Joey Calcaterra to graduation. Still, Hurley was able to reload and win a national title. This offseason, Hurley will try to do it again.

    “I mean, shit, we’re going to try to replicate it again,” Hurley said. “We’re going to maintain a championship culture. We’re bringing in some very talented high school freshmen. Our returning players, through player development, will take a big jump. We’ll strategically add through the portal. I don’t think we’re going anywhere.”

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