Two members of Kevin Ollie's highly-ranked 2016 recruiting class have officially signed with UConn, as SF Vance Jackson and PF Juwan Durham signed their letters of intent Wednesday on the first day of the NCAA early signing period.
Vance Jackson is rated as a 4-star strong forward by most recruiting sites, and the 49th-best recruit in the country according to ESPN. He is the Huskies' most recent commitment, having announced his decision in October. Jackson will look to continue the Huskies' impressive lineage at small forward, with Daniel Hamilton expected to go pro in the near future and VCU transfer Terry Larrier waiting in the wings.
Jackson will help the Huskies from three-point range, and is reportedly a "big-game player", a characteristic that'll be important come March and April. However, his defense and athleticism need to improve for him to take the next step in his game.
The California native is officially headed to Storrs. Maybe we need to adopt the "husky ears" move he's got going on in the second photo.
Always great to see the recruits excited to be rocking UConn gear.
PF Juwan Durham made it official as well today. Durham made his verbal commitment to UConn in September.
Durham is a 4-star recruit, ranked 37th recruit in the country by ESPN. Unfortunately, he tore his right ACL in early October. While technology and medicine have advanced to a point where the majority of players return without issue from this injury, it is something worth monitoring going forward. Kevin Ollie has told Durham that he isn't worried about the injury.
Regardless, Durham is a really good pickup for the Huskies. He has gobs of potential with his great athletic ability and defensive prowess. At 6-foot-9, he's on the smaller side of the position, so he'll need to add some strength in order to box and hold his own down low in the post.
Not only is the 2016 classes one of the strongest in recent memory, it's ranked as the third-best by 247sports.com. Any false narrative that "Kevin Ollie can't recruit" is absolutely gone. Ollie's initial job as a UConn assistant coach was to recruit, and he recruited many members of the 2014 national championship team. He has also shown a knack for getting involved early with high-risers, such as Steve Enoch in the Class of 2015 or Wenyen Gabriel in the Class of 2016.
While the AAC isn't as bad as many thought it would be, it still isn't the power conference that the old Big East was. The fact that Ollie and the coaching staff can still bring in high-level recruits regardless of the conference is a great sign, and hopefully they can keep the momentum going as they begin to focus their attention of the class of 2017.
UPDATE (12/12): Point Guard Alterique Gilbert has now signed his paperwork as well, per this video tweeted out earlier today. Gilbert is a quintessential undersized UConn lead guard with a big heart and the willingness to bring it on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-0 Gilbert, ranked 28th in the Class of 2016 according to ESPN, verbally committed to UConn on the fourth of July.
UPDATE (12/13): All four are in, including Mamadou Diarra. Here is Kevin Ollie on the four newest members of the UConn Men's Basketball team.