With the confirmed transfers of Josh Carlton and Brendan Adams, as well as James Bouknight’s decision to enter the 2021 NBA Draft, it’s time to analyze the ever-growing transfer market to determine which players Coach Hurley and his staff could be targeting as they look to round out their team for the upcoming season.
Also playing a role in the Huskies’ assembly of their roster 2021-22 roster is the fact that seniors Tyler Polley and Isaiah Whaley will return to use their extra year of eligibility, given by the NCAA due to COVID-related complications. Polley will enter his name into the NBA Draft to garner feedback, though he won’t hire an agent. Both players will also not count toward the team’s allotted number of scholarships.
With this news, the Huskies’ scholarship situation for the 2021-22 season now looks like this:
GRID UPDATE— tcf15 (@tcf_15) April 14, 2021
Huge news as Tyler Polley announced he will return to UConn for the 2021-2022 season.
Both Isaiah Whaley and Tyler Polley do not count against the scholarship count, so UConn currently has three spots remaining on next year's team (unlikely all will be filled). pic.twitter.com/mdn2zHy6E6
Dan Hurley, in his rather short career coaching NCAA Division I basketball, has built a reputation of sorts as a force in the transfer market. With the success of recent transfer guards R.J. Cole (Howard) and Tyrese Martin (Rhode Island), who both started almost every game for the Huskies this season, Hurley is already busy pursuing a number of high-level transfers on the market yet again, which checks out given the three open scholarships for next year. However, minutes will be hard to come by with the updated news of both Whaley and Polley returning. Regardless, here are some of the prime candidates who could be heading to Storrs after starting their college careers elsewhere:
Noah Locke, Florida
Junior, 6-foot-3 shooting guard
A former top 80 recruit from the McDonough School outside of Baltimore, Locke has been a steady presence for the Gators on both ends of the floor. Known as a 3-and-D type player, Locke has shot the ball efficiently from long distance (217-538, 40%) and from the free throw line (a career 75% free throw shooter) during his time in Gainesville. UConn would benefit from a player of Locke’s ilk since it lacked a a consistent deep threat this past season. Adam Zagoria reported that UConn is one of the teams that has scheduled a Zoom call with Locke.
Florida transfer @_NoahLocke has scheduled Zooms with :— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 1, 2021
UPDATE: Noah Locke has committed to play for Chris Mack and the Louisville Cardinals.
Bryce Hamilton, UNLV
Junior, 6-foot-4 combo guard
The cousin of former UConn standout Daniel Hamilton, Bryce (#149 nationally - 247) wasn’t quite the highly-touted recruit coming out of high school as his cousin was (#17 nationally - 247), but can fill it up in a big way. He led the Runnin’ Rebels in scoring and assists this past season at 17.9 and 3.0 per game, the former ranking third in the entire conference. There are reports that Hamilton will garner some feedback from NBA teams about his pro potential while maintaining his college eligibility, so his decision will likely come at a later date than most.
While he is a volume scorer, Hamilton needs his fair share of shots, as he averaged 17.0 per game last season. For context, James Bouknight only attempted 14.6 per night in 2020-21. To be fair, his high shot volume was likely due to UNLV struggling to find offense, as they had only one other player on the roster average double digits and overall ranked in the bottom half of the conference in scoring. Hamilton is also a sub-par long distance shooter for his career, hitting from deep at about a 32% clip and never making more than 38 three pointers in a season. Should Hamilton choose UConn as his next destination, he would likely start at the two spot and significantly help the Huskies fill the massive scoring hole left behind by Bouknight. Dan Hurley could definitely use the athleticism, toughness, and playmaking ability that Hamilton brings to the two-guard spot. Call him a poor man’s Bouknight (Bouk also shot 32% from three during his time at UConn). This would be a huge get.
Kansas, USC, Oregon, Texas, New Mexico, UConn, Illinois, Texas Tech and Florida State reached out about UNLV transfer Bryce Hamilton last night, source told ESPN. Second-team All-Mountain West, averaged 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 APG.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 9, 2021
Tre Mitchell, UMass
Sophomore, 6-foot-9 power forward/center
A former top 100 recruit out of Woodstock Academy in Connecticut, Mitchell is one of the most sought-after transfers on the entire market — and for good reason. In his first two seasons for the Minutemen, he put up 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
If UConn can reel in the talented big man, the Huskies would have one of the most imposing front courts in the nation with Sanogo, Whaley, and Mitchell all worthy of major minutes. Over 75 schools have already reached out to the star forward, with dozens of Power Five programs reportedly in the mix.
Rocket Watts, Michigan State
Sophomore, 6-foot-2 point guard
Watts is a lightning-quick playmaker that can slash and defend at a high level. Besides Duke freshman Jaemyn Brakefield, Watts is the highest rated former high school recruit to enter his name into the transfer portal this offseason. He was rated as the No. 33 player in the 2019 class by ESPN.
He hasn’t had quite the electric career that many expected from him coming out of the acclaimed SPIRE Institute in Detroit, but he still has immense talent and athleticism at his disposal and would provide a major backcourt boost to most programs across the country. It’s also worth noting that Watts had UConn in his top ten list of schools before he committed to Michigan State out of high school and Hurley appears to be trying to rekindle that relationship since UConn has reportedly already reached out to him.
Michigan State transfer Rocket Watts has heard from the following schools, per source:— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) April 2, 2021
LSU, Louisville, Florida, Florida State, Xavier, Baylor, UConn, Maryland
Langston Wilson, Georgia Highlands (JUCO)
Sophomore, 6-foot-9 forward
A lanky yet explosive lefty forward, Wilson has taken the unlikeliest of paths to become a highly sought-after JUCO transfer. After a heart condition kept him from playing any high school basketball, Wilson was finally cleared and chose to play for Georgia Highland junior college. Wilson, now 20, has been a force on the court and worked his way up to the #2 overall JUCO prospect for the class of 2021.
He committed to play for Nate Oats and Alabama in October 2020, but amid the recent gamut of high-level transfers also deciding to take their talents to Tuscaloosa, Wilson has decided to re-open his recruitment. The Pennsylvania native is known as a superb athlete who loves to attack the rim and use his length in the paint to alter shots. He is a tenacious offensive rebounder who can also spread the floor by hitting the occasional three. With this kind of repertoire, Wilson would fit right into Hurley’s offensive and defensive strategy, which focuses on dominating the offensive glass and protecting the rim at all costs. Wilson is also said to be a great young man off the court, along with this hard work ethic on it. Adding Wilson to an already uber-athletic team would put UConn up there with some of the most athletically gifted teams in the country.
Since reopening his recruitment, prior Alabama pledge Langston Wilson tells @Stockrisers he’s heard from Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Clemson, DePaul, SMU, Western Kentucky, Texas A&M, Maryland, Iona, CSB, New Mexico State, Murray State, amongst (many) others.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) April 12, 2021
Future pro. Book it.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Virginia
Freshman, 6-foot-7 guard/forward
Hailing from South Orange, New Jersey, Rahim was heavily recruited by Hurley and UConn as a top-40 recruit coming out of high school. While he eventually chose Virginia, Abur-Rahim seldom sniffed the floor his first year in Charlottesville, playing 38 total minutes and scoring only seven points over the entire 2020-21 season.
Abur-Rahim came into Division-I basketball as a raw prospect with loads of potential given his frame, athleticism, and handle. Sound familiar? It’s virtually the same scouting report that Andre Jackson had coming into Storrs, which is why it’s tough to see Abdur-Rahim fitting into the current roster makeup for 2021-22. With that being said, UConn will likely reach out to Abur-Rahim, given their past relationship with him and his considerable talent.
UPDATE: Jabri Abdur-Rahim has committed to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Matt Bradley, California
Junior, 6-foot-4 shooting guard
Bradley would be a dream get for Hurley and Co. A incredibly built and skilled scorer who has poured in almost 1,300 points over his three-year career at Cal Berkeley, Bradley has also shot the ball very well from distance since he joined the Golden Bears (156-388, 40%).
Bradley was a former fringe top 100 recruit coming out of Wasatch Academy in San Bernardino, CA and has led his home state team in scoring in back-to-back seasons. Landing a seasoned veteran who has finished as a top-5 scorer in a power 5 conference two seasons in a row would be the ideal scenario for Hurley, as his iso-scoring ability and three point prowess would address two immediate needs for the team next season. There hasn’t been any chatter about UConn contacting Bradley as of yet, but it would be very surprising if Hurley and his staff didn’t at least inquire about the talented junior. After all, he is a top-ten option on the transfer market right now.
UPDATE: Bradley has decided to transfer to San Diego State.
Same story but a new chapter pic.twitter.com/W0FxgWFuiE— matty Bradley (@bradley_matty) April 13, 2021
Alexis Yetna, South Florida
Sophomore, 6-foot-8 small forward
A strong left-handed forward that hails from Paris, France, Yetna produced solid numbers for South Florida with career averages of 10.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. While his hometown is overseas, Yetna attended Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, a school that produced UConn recruits Mamadou Diarra and Akok Akok.
Yetna serves as a semi-stretch four (45-130, 34.6% from three) and can muscle tough buckets down low with his 243-pound frame, which could give UConn a lot of different looks, especially on the offensive end — think of a bigger but less versatile Tyrese Martin. UConn is familiar with Yetna from playing in the AAC last season and Hurley has already reached out to him, per Stockrisers’ Jake Weingarten.
UPDATE: Yetna has committed to Seton Hall, per John Fanta.
Breaking: South Florida transfer Alexis Yetna is heading to Seton Hall for his senior season. Pirates add a second impact transfer in as many days with Yetna, who averaged 9.5 PPG + 7.3 RPG this past season for USF. Kevin Willard needed a post addition, Yetna is just that. #shbb— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) April 7, 2021
Marreon Jackson, Toledo
Grad transfer, 6-foot-1 point guard
A stat sheet stuffer, Jackson paid his dues to the Mid-American Conference for four straight years and is now looking for tougher competition. He poured in 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game last season, taking home conference player of the year honors.
UConn will have a crowded backcourt next season with R.J. Cole, Tyrese Martin, Andre Jackson, Jalen Gaffney, Rahsool Diggins, and Jordan Hawkins all likely to see significant minutes. While Martin will likely play the three and maybe even some small-ball four, that still leaves five guards taking up a large portion of the playing time between the one and two spots. But when someone of Jackson’s caliber enters the transfer pool, it’s worth at least checking out. Coincidentally, UConn has already contacted him, per Jeff Goodman.
Toledo transfer Marreon Jackson told me he’s heard from the following: Minnesota, Miami, Arkansas, Purdue, Missouri, USC, West Va., UConn, Colorado, UNLV, LSU, Arizona State and Georgetown.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 30, 2021
Jackson averaged 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game this past season.
UPDATE: After cutting his list down to Arkansas, Arizona State, Georgetown, and Miami, Jackson has committed to Arizona State where he’ll play for Danny Hurley’s brother, Bobby Hurley.
Kadary Richmond, Syracuse
Freshman, 6-foot-5 guard/forward
Kadary Richmond is one of many players leaving Syracuse and head coach Jim Boeheim behind. He is a versatile two-way guard that can grab steals in bunches but just didn’t get the playing time behind Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard.
In 21 minutes per game this past season, Richmond averaged 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45.3% from the floor and 33.3% from deep. He flashed an ability to run the Orange’s offense as well, dishing five or more assists in six games this season — three of which came in his only three starts on the year.
Richmond went into Syracuse as the No. 88 recruit in his class according to 247Sports after playing at Brewster Academy, the same high school as former Husky great Jalen Adams. He visited UConn during his recruitment and had the Huskies in his final four before he committed to Syracuse.
Syracuse transfer Kadary Richmond tells @Stockrisers he’s heard from the following schools: Florida State, Seton Hall, UConn, Maryland, Creighton, St. John’s, Providence, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, several others.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) April 1, 2021
Richmond, a High-IQ guard with tons of skill. A good get.
UPDATE: Kadary Richmond has committed to Seton Hall, per NJ.com. Another UConn target headed to play for Kevin Willard and the Pirates.
Marcus Carr, Minnesota
Junior, 6-foot-2 point guard
The junior point guard will be looking for his third collegiate program this offseason after transferring to Minnesota from Pitt after his freshman year. Carr may opt to turn pro, as it’s been reported he will test the NDA draft waters, but if he chooses to stay in college and commit to the Huskies he would bring some much-needed experience and volume scoring to UConn. Carr took over 15 shots per game at the helm of Minnesota’s offense this season and while he did put up 19.4 points per contest, he did so taking nearly twice as many shots as the next highest player on the roster.
Carr scored 20 points or more 11 times this past season, including four games of 30+ points. He’s also an adept distributor, posting an average of 6.7 assists in 2019-20, before taking on more of the scoring load in 2020-21 which attributed to his average dropping to 4.9 assists per game. Carr was a decent shooter this past season, hitting on 38.5% from the floor, 31.7% from deep, and 79.9% from the line. Coming out of Motverde Academy, he was the No. 146 player in his class.
Minnesota star guard Marcus Carr has entered the transfer portal, sources told ESPN. Third-team All-Big Ten this season, averaged 19.4 points and 4.9 assists.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 19, 2021
CJ Felder, Boston College
Sophomore, 6-foot-7 small forward/power forward
Before Whaley decided to return to UConn, the thinking was that Felder could be a great replacement for some of the hard-nosed rebounding, shot-blocking, and short range scoring that he brought on a nightly basis. As a guy who makes his living seeking contact in the paint, Felder could have given UConn that extra edge on the defensive end while also helping to further improve their offensive rebounding.
Boston College transfer CJ Felder has heard from all the following schools, he told @Stockrisers: UConn, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Clemson, Xavier, Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Murray State, Cincinnati, Vandy, LSU, and Virginia.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) March 25, 2021
UPDATE: Felder has committed to the Florida Gators, per his Twitter page.