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Week in Review: UConn Men’s Basketball Getting Paid in the NBA, Football Updates & More

NBA Huskies got paid and the Big East became official, but there’s been so much more going on in the world of Husky sports!

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Considering it’s the middle of the college sports off-season, these have been particularly busy times in the world of UConn Huskies athletics — and that’s not even counting any Big East news.

Assuming you were on top of the Big East’s newest, greatest addition, here’s a rundown of stuff you may have missed from the past week in Husky sports.

UConn in the NBA

It was a whirlwind Sunday night for former Husky stars in the NBA after free agency officially opened at 6 p.m. Jeremy Lamb signed with the Indiana Pacers on a three-year deal, Rudy Gay re-signed with the San Antonio Spurs and Shabazz Napier was traded to the Golden State Warriors.

But the biggest move was Kemba Walker signing with the Boston Celtics on a four-year, $141 million max contract. Walker leaves behind Charlotte — the only place he has known in his NBA career — in the hope of winning a championship. He appeared on Sportscenter with SVP Sunday night to discuss his decision before releasing an article in The Players’s Tribune on Monday morning.

In typical Kemba fashion, he spends much of the piece thanking those in Charlotte — from team owner Michael Jordan, to his current and former teammates, friends, fans, everybody.

“To JLamb, wow — we went from boys to men. You already know how we rock!” Walker wrote.

However, Walker switched gears in the end to speak about joining the Celtics.

“I want to win here, badly — and I’m excited to prove myself as that type of player in this league. I want to elevate myself into that Boston winning tradition. I want to get this team back on top.”

“Let’s do this.”

Jumping into the Big East like
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Basketball

The former UConn players aren’t the only ones signing contracts over the weekend. Late on Friday, news broke that Huskies’ head coach Dan Hurley finally signed his contract and exercised his one-year option due to UConn’s self-imposed sanctions for the NCAA violations that occurred under Kevin Ollie.

Seems like Hurley is pretty excited about the Big East news.

Also, former Husky grad transfer Sterling Gibbs got married and Kevin Ollie was there.

UConn Women’s Basketball

Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams are headed to the 2019 Pan-America Games. The Huskies’ rising sophomore duo made USA’s 3x3 basketball team, joined by Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard on Team USA. The tournament takes place July 27-29 in Lima, Peru.

UConn also added a new member to its 2020 recruiting class on Sunday with wing Mir McLean committing to the Huskies. On the court, McLean draws some uncanny comparisons to former UConn star Gabby Williams.

UConn’s 2020 recruiting class is becoming pretty well-rounded with two guards and a wing but the Huskies could really use some height. After this season, Olivia Nelson-Ododa is the only player that could be realistically listed as a post player unless Aubrey Griffin becomes the next wing that Geno Auriemma turns into a post player — a la Napheesa Collier — or UConn lands Texas transfer Sedona Prince.

But with a glut of guards in 2020-21, it would make sense for the Huskies to go after more front-court players to finish out the class of 2020.

***

Maya Moore sent shockwaves through the basketball world when she announced that she was stepping away from the sport for personal reasons. In Sunday’s New York Times, Moore spoke about some of the reasons behind her decision and what she’s doing with her time away from sports.

UConn Football

According to FBSchedules.com, UConn has added two FCS opponents to its future schedules. The Huskies will play in-state opponent Central Connecticut on Sep. 3, 2022 and Aug. 30, 2025 while locking Lafayette in on Sep. 9, 2023 and Sep. 5, 2026. Surprisingly, UConn has only played the Blue Devils three times in program history and not since 1995.

Speaking of Blue Devils, the Huskies added Duke to its future schedule earlier this month, with dates in 2023 and 2024. They’ve been really active on the recruiting front, as well, with a couple of 2019 additions and a few 2020 commitments.

It’ll never happen due to NCAA Bowl Eligibility Rules (among many other factors), but my bucket-list UConn football-FCS game would be for the Huskies to play Yale at the Yale Bowl. It would be really cool to see UConn play in such a big and historic venue against one of its oldest rivals. But until exhibition games become a thing in college football, that remains just a dream.

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UConn football’s future is still uncertain with the school’s move to the Big East. However, one thing Randy Edsall won’t have to worry about is the facilities. The Huskies unveiled the team’s new locker room in the Burton Family Football Complex, part of a project to upgrade and renovate the practice facility, which will be paid for through private donations.

Safe to say the team was pretty excited about it:

UConn Men’s Soccer

To wrap things up, check out this goal from UConn men’s soccer’s Jake Dengler:

FC Baltimore Christos, Jake Dengler's Amazing Goal

Stunning Goal by Jake Dengler! Goal of the year? #sportscentertop10 #FCB #FCBC #fcbaltimorechristos #soccer #bestsoccergoal #npsl National Premier Soccer League Christos FC Advanced Orthomolecular Research NetEMBARK The Baltimore Sun ESPN Michelob ULTRA

Posted by FC Baltimore Christos on Sunday, June 30, 2019

Not bad for a defender.

UConn Baseball

Former Husky baseball star George Springer is an MLB All-Star starter. A former MLB All-Star, Charles Nagy, class of 1987, is joining the Husky coaching staff.

Also, a few Huskies including Anthony Kay got called up in various levels of the minor leagues.