Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That was UConn’s developing reputation on the recruiting trail it seemed for the past five years or so. A few years back, Diamond Stone was the coveted big that got away from UConn men’s basketball. In 2019, it was Kofi Cockburn. Head coach Dan Hurley would not be denied this time around, after the Huskies got a commitment from power forward Adama Sanogo early this morning. The four-star 6-foot-9, 241 lb big will reclassify to 2020, joining fellow four stars Andre Jackson and Javonte Brown-Ferguson.
Sanogo, from Mali, played his prep ball at The Patrick School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was the 49th ranked prospect in the 2021 class. Hurley and lead recruiter Kimani Young beat out an impressive list of suitors for the bruising big man; locals Seton Hall and Maryland, as well as Nebraska, Auburn, and Pitt. He averaged 15.3 points and 11 rebounds on the AAU EYBL Dallas circuit playing for Renaissance Hoops in New York.
What is UConn getting in Sanogo? A rebounding reputation not seen since the likes of Jeff Adrien.
A look at how Sanogo stacked up as a rebounder in the EYBL last year via @OLAnalytics pic.twitter.com/X3Hx7SBK2Q— UConn Stats (@UConnStats) May 5, 2020
Recruiting services also tout an “evolving” touch around the basket and a physical, bruising presence in the paint. Oh and apparently he models his game after Joel Embiid.
Here's an interview I did with new @UConnMBB F Adama Sanogo of @tps_hsbb for @freshfocusports in which he said he models his game after Joel Embiid. pic.twitter.com/jcf9DZ0GM6— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 5, 2020
It will certainly take some time for him to get up to speed considering his reclassification, but best case scenario he’s an instant impact player off the bench from the start, and could push for starters minutes as the season goes on. And worse case, he’s depth behind the likes of seniors Josh Carlton and Isaiah Whaley for one year, and is unleashed with Richie Springs and Brown-Ferguson next year.
With the injuries to senior Tyler Polley and sophomore Akok Akok, UConn desperately needed physical front-court help as they leveled up in the Big East. Sanogo is the perfect fit and with him in the fold, Hurley looks to have locked up a top 20 recruiting class just as the Huskies return to the Big East.
All three players in the class are the types of player for UConn that in the last five years or so that had UConn in their final lists, but never gave their rose to Storrs. Hurley brought all three across the finish-line, and it has fans salivating at his potential on the recruiting trail going forward.
Here’s a look at UConn’s current scholarship grid, credit as always to TCF.
GRID UPDATE— tcf15 (@tcf_15) May 5, 2020
Adama Sanogo has committed to UConn and will be reclassifying to 2020.@UConnMBB can't be stopped on the recruiting trail. pic.twitter.com/9zOtngkcNS
Now, everyone stay home and properly social distance so we can have a college basketball season next year.