When Sam Cassell Jr. chose UConn over Louisville last year, his name was enough to get Husky fans excited. He of course is the son of former 15-year NBA veteran Sam Cassell Sr. The new Husky first met Kevin Ollie through his father when the two were teammates on the 2002-2003 Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Baltimore native, a 3-star recruit in the Class of 2012, originally chose to play for his hometown Maryland Terrapins and even spent the summer of 2012 there before being ruled ineligible due to classes from his prep school not transferring over. After this, Maryland stopped recruiting him.
Cassell honed his skills playing one year at Chipola College, a junior college in Marianna, Florida. He led his team to a 26-6 record and the NJCAA Region VII Championship while averaging 18.4 points and 3.7 assists per game on his way to being named first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Despite coming into the program listed as a redshirt sophomore, Cassell is the oldest player on the team by a few months. This goes hand in hand with the growing sentiment that he has an "old man's game" which essentially means that he can really ball despite not being the fastest or quickest player on the court.
The 6-foot-4, 192 lb. combo guard has publicly said that he wants to be a point guard, but is willing to do whatever it takes to be on the floor and win. Coach Ollie has said that his basketball IQ is through the roof and compared it to Shabazz Napier's. One can assume that this means that Husky fans can expect to see him on the floor at the end of tight games.
Jon Rothstein, college basketball writer for CBS Sports predicted that Cassell is going to be a major contributor for UConn, citing the Huskies need for a fearless scorer to emerge in the post-Napier era.
He was arguably the best player on the court for the Huskies two exhibition games, averaging 17.4 points and shooting 7-14 from three. He looks very comfortable coming off of screens, which is very important in Ollie's offense, and his long-range shooting ability is vital in a year which UConn tries to replace their top three-point shooters in Giffey, Daniels, and Napier.
Cassell is going to be an exciting player to watch, and is a dark horse candidate to be the Huskies' X-factor this season. With so much excitement surrounding the super-talented Rodney Purvis and Danny Hamilton, this newcomer has the potential to be just as impactful in his first season in Storrs.