As had been expected, Junior College transfer Sam Cassell Jr., son of the former NBA player, has committed to UConn. He had originally committed to Maryland for the Class of 2012, but had issues with some of his prep school credits. Cassell Jr. has been playing ball and focusing on his academics at Chipola College in Florida.
We were expecting this after Jody Demling (editor of Scout.com's Louisville site) tweeted that the Cardinals had backed off shortly after Cassell Jr. had announced that he had narrowed his list down to Louisville and UConn.
The elder Cassell, currently an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards, was a teammate of Kevin Ollie's on the Bucks during the '02-'03 season so there is a connection there. Cassell Jr. has a lot of the same qualities his father was known for, particularly his high basketball IQ and a willingness to take the big shot; he's very comfortable shooting the three.
We'll be looking for stability at guard after Shabazz leaves and this helps a lot. Though not a highly heralded recruit, Cassell Jr. is experienced, smart and sure to stay through his senior year. To me those players are the fabric of what has made UConn great. Sure Gay, Villanueva, Drummond, etc. are studs who did their part but give me the Jeff Adrien, AJ Price, and Shabazz Napier types- they are the heart and soul of this program. (Kevin Ollie fits into that mold too)
Combining Cassell Jr. with Purvis and whomever between Boatright and Calhoun stays bodes well for our backcourt stability through 2014. The respect that Kevin Ollie has in NBA circles is paying off and if we can add some more "oomph" to this recruiting class up-front, it will be one of the better ones UConn has had in the past few years.