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How Adama Sanogo chose UConn over Seton Hall, Maryland

RJ Cole, Kimani Young and video conferencing technology helped UConn land the sought-after regional prospect.

Ian Bethune - The UConn Blog

UConn won’t officially be in the new Big East for another two months, but they’re already winning major recruiting battles against new (old) conference rivals, starting with 6-foot-9 power forward/center Adama Sanogo.

“I picked UConn because I love UConn,” Sanogo said in a conference call with the media on Tuesday. “I did my homework and it was the best fit for me.”

Sanogo originally expected to go to Seton Hall out of the high school class of 2021 but surprised everyone Tuesday morning when he reclassified to 2020 and committed to Dan Hurley and the Huskies. Sanogo’s commitment propels UConn’s 2020 recruiting class into the 18th-ranked class in the country according to 247 Sports.

As recently as a few weeks ago, Chris Chavannes, Sanogo’s own coach at The Patrick School, expected him to attend Seton Hall.

“I think Danny and his staff really did a great job closing on him,” Chavannes said. “I was surprised when he called me the other night and said ‘hey coach, I really think UConn is the best place for me.’”

RJ Cole, a transfer point guard from Howard who sat out the season at UConn last year, helped out in the recruiting process on Sanogo. Cole reached out to a Patrick School assistant for Sanogo’s number, and was calling or texting him nearly every day in an effort to flip the high school senior before “really turning up the heat,” this past week.

Cole had watched plenty of film on Sanogo’s senior season, and had some thoughts about how the big man would help out the Huskies in 2020.

“We both love the pick-and-roll, so that should be nice to see but its not about him helping me,” Cole said. “He’s going to come in and help every person on the team.”

After Cole did his work, it was time for Hurley and his staff to step in, hosting a virtual visit and a Zoom video call to seal Sanogo’s commitment. Assistant coach Kimani Young led point on UConn’s recruitment of Sanogo, which started last summer during the AAU season.

Sanogo was at least partially convinced by UConn’s track record in sending players to the NBA quickly. He will help fill the void left by Akok Akok, who is forecasted to miss much of the 2020-2021 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Suddenly, the Huskies have a surplus of big bodies on the team. After Akok’s injury, Wilson’s personal troubles and without Tyler Polley to slide down into that role, the Huskies ended the 2019-20 season pretty thin. But with the arrival of freshmen Sanogo and Javonte Brown-Ferguson, Richie Springs shedding his redshirt and the return of emergent senior Isaiah Whaley, the frontcourt is looking mighty crowded.