Taliek Brown is back in the fold with UConn basketball after being named the Director of Player Development by head coach Dan Hurley this afternoon. This gives us the perfect excuse to post one of the more memorable shots in Huskies’ basketball history.
As great of a shot as that is, Brown’s legacy at UConn is much bigger than that. He’s the program’s all-time assists leader with 722, a 1,000-point scorer and captained the 2004 national championship team. That’s a solid argument for a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of UConn point guards alongside Husky legends like Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier and Chris Smith.
Brown’s leadership, hustle and passing ability were critical during the Huskies’ run to their second national championship. With stars like Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor and Charlie Villanueva in the lineup, Brown racked up assists as UConn rolled to a 33-6 record thanks to some Brown’s uncanny ability to find the open man.
As Director of Player Development, Brown will replace Kevin Freeman, who is now at Penn State. Brown will oversee the team’s study halls among other academic activities, set up alumni events and orchestrate community service activities. While Brown won’t be actually coaching during games, he will still be able to impart his wisdom on current players with all the time he will be spending with them off the court.
Brown’s playing time at UConn already made a lasting impact on one current player, as Christian Vital told The Day last season that Brown - a guard from New York City like himself - is one of his all-time favorite Huskies alongside Kemba Walker.
“It’s Kemba and Taliek,” Vital said of the two former Huskies. “I don’t know which one I could choose. I’ll just say both of them. They paved the way.”
While Brown won’t be involved on the recruiting trail, adding another staff member with strong New York City roots is certainly a plus for Hurley’s recruiting efforts.
Aside from his collegiate playing days, Brown also spent a decade playing in various professional leagues across the globe and served previously as a high school coach and trainer for athletes looking to play basketball at the highest level.
Perhaps most importantly, Brown marks another UConn connection to Hurley’s staff. While being surrounded by fellow UConn alumni may have hindered former head coach Kevin Ollie, having Brown and associate head coach Tom Moore around can help Hurley keep ties to the “UConn Family” and purvey the legacy of the program to future recruits.