Due to graduation and the transfer portal, the UConn men’s basketball team is experiencing the most turnover they have ever had under head coach Dan Hurley. Isaiah Whaley and Tyler Polley moved on after their extra year of eligibility, while RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin elected not to use theirs and turn pro. Combine that with Jalen Gaffney, Corey Floyd Jr., Rahsool Diggins and big man Akok Akok transferring, and it’s obvious that the Huskies will have to be active in the transfer portal.
With the addition of new guard Tristen Newton, fellow backcourt mate Nahiem Alleyne and now Hassan Diarra, the Huskies now have 10 scholarship players for the coming season and three open roster spots.
GRID UPDATE— tcf15 (@tcf_15) May 11, 2022
Another portal guard!
Hassan Diarra (younger brother of UConn legend Mamadou Diarra) is transferring to UConn from Texas A&M. He has three years of eligibility left (Junior year, Senior year and extra COVID year).
3 scholarships remain for 2022-2023. pic.twitter.com/nGXSMWWT4o
Hurley and the Huskies will need to get a good chunk of scoring back through the portal to replace the gap that Cole and Martin leave behind. A big man would be nice too to ease some pressure off of Akok Akok and Samson Johnson, especially as Johnson continues to develop. Hurley has had success plucking talent from the portal — Cole and Martin are two perfect examples — and he will need to do it again for UConn to remain a contender in the Big East next season.
Below is a list of transfers that have at least received interest from UConn. This list will be updated with more targets and current target commitments as the offseason goes on, so stay tuned for updates.
Committed to UConn
Tristen Newton, East Carolina - Committed to UConn on April 13
Sophomore, 6-foot-5 point guard
Newton would serve as a very competent replacement for a UConn team that has lost so much of its backcourt this offseason. While he isn’t a knockdown shooter from deep at just 33 percent, Newton is one of the best distributors in the portal after averaging five assists per game last year and finishing in the top 25 nationally in assist rate, per KenPom. He also averaged 17.7 points a game last season and was the best free-throw shooter in The American last season at 87.9 percent.
With his size and ball-handling ability, Newton could help soften the blow of the departures of both Cole and Martin. Newton has received interest from USC, St. John’s, Memphis and Creighton, amongst other schools.
Update: Newton committed to UConn on April 13. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
First, I want to thank God for blessing me and putting me in this position. Also, I want to thank my family, friends and all the coaches who have recruited me. With that being said, I will be committing to UCONN‼️ STORRS WE UP #Bleedblue #TheNewTwo pic.twitter.com/bwwKanV6k8— Tristen Newton (@D1Tristen) April 13, 2022
Naheim Alleyne, Virginia Tech — Committed to UConn April 21
Junior, 6-foot-2 shooting guard
The Buford, Georgia native sure has a crowd pleaser name, but that’s not all fans should be excited about. Alleyne (pronounced Ah-lane) has been a consistent scorer and mainstay in Virginia Tech’s starting five for three straight seasons, starting 84 out of a possible 90 games. He is a lefty two-guard that is a decent disruptor on defense and also has a score-first mentality, averaging 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists for career. Perhaps the most coveted of his skillsets is his ability to hit the long-ball, with a career percentage of 38.7% and 153 made threes under his belt. If Alleyne came to UConn he would be a nice backcourt compliment to Newton and Hawkins and give Andre Jackson more freedom to play position-less basketball, allowing him to exploit matchups at the four spot. According to Jon Rothstein, Alleyne is visiting Storrs on Tuesday and recently took a trip down to Tallahassee.
#BlueCollarBlueBlood ‼️ @UConnMBB let’s get it! pic.twitter.com/EkWGzyqXZ7— Nahiem Alleyne (@Nahiem10) April 21, 2022
Hassan Diarra, Texas A&M - Committed to UConn May 11
Sophomore, 6-foot-2 shooting guard
Diarra was once a high priority target for Dan Hurley and the Huskies out of high school, where the New York native and Putnam Science Academy product was a 4-star recruit before committing to A&M. In two seasons in College Station, Diarra averaged over six points per game and shot 31 percent from three, largely as a bench player for the Aggies. Diarra’s brother, Mamadou, serves as an assistant coach on the Hurley’s staff.
Update: Diarra’s commitment gave UConn their third guard from the portal this season. With three years of eligibility left, Diarra can immediately make an impact off the bench this season while refining his game to take on a starting role towards the end of his time in Storrs.
Thank you Aggieland ❤️ Next stop Storrs pic.twitter.com/dMe50OOZJ9— Hassan Diarra (@hassan_diarra11) May 11, 2022
Available in the portal
Terrance Shannon, Texas Tech
Junior, 6-foot-6 shooting guard
Out of the literal thousand transfers in the portal, Shannon is rated as the best available according to EvanMiya.com. At 6-foot-6, Shannon played an important role in leading the Red Raiders’ defense, which ranked No. 1 in the country per KenPom. He ranked just outside the top 30 in Defensive Bayesian Performance Rating per Evan Miya, and would immediately transform UConn into one of the best perimeter defense teams in the country alongside Andre Jackson. He also averaged 10.4 points per game last season and shot 38.4 percent on 3-pointers in 84 attempts.
Shannon is a near-perfect fit for the Huskies’ needs, but then again, his skill set allows him to fit in just about anywhere. He has interest from multiple major programs, including Kentucky, North Carolina and Michigan State.
Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. has heard from the following schools:— 24/7 High School Hoops (@247HSHoops) March 27, 2022
Illinois is considered the favorites with Kentucky not too far behind. Could also consider a return to Texas Tech.@Sn1per_T pic.twitter.com/UKjqh0PTp2
Courtney Ramey, Texas
Senior, 6-foot-3 shooting guard
Ramey wasn’t used frequently on a talented Texas team last season, but still offers a valuable skillset for his last remaining season of eligibility. Ramey averaged 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 30 minutes per game last season and shot over 35 percent from beyond the arc. Two years prior, Ramey shot 41.4 percent on deep shots in 116 attempts. His experience and ability to play on or off the ball offensively and is viewed as a stout defender by EvanMiya, who ranks him as the 17th-best transfer in the portal.
Ramey has received interest from numerous programs, including Villanova, Marquette, DePaul and Gonzaga.
Texas transfer Courtney Ramey is receiving interest from the following programs, per his father:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 7, 2022
Dexter Dennis, Wichita State
Senior, 6-foot-5 shooting guard
A four-year player for the Shockers, Dennis prides himself on the defensive side of the ball where is an absolute ace. Dennis won the Defensive Player of the Year award in the American Athletic conference this past season, using his high-energy playing style and length to disrupt opposing guards. He is truly one of the better on-ball defenders in the country. Not a massive threat on the offensive end (career 8.8 points per game), but Dennis can provide some reliable long range shooting (career 34.4% and 176 made threes) which the Huskies desperately need with the departures of RJ Cole, Tyrese Martin, and Tyler Polley.
Dennis has been contacted by a plethora of schools but UConn is one of the latest to pop up.
Add UConn as the newest program showing interest in Wichita State transfer Dexter Dennis, he told @Stockrisers. During the 2019-20 season, Dennis had 16 points, seven boards, two blocks, and two steals against UConn. https://t.co/WIDBizrBoW— Jake (@jakeweingarten) April 15, 2022
Femi Odukale, Pittsburgh
Sophomore, 6-foot-5 shooting guard
Odukale has UConn in his top five alongside URI, Seton Hall, Oregon and Maryland. The sophomore averaged 10.8 points per game last season for the Panthers and projects to be a solid, versatile defender next season according to EvanMiya. The Brooklyn, New York native is a career 33 percent shooter from the 3-point line and scored over 20 or more points four times this past season.
Rudi Williams, Coastal Carolina - Committed to BYU on May 7
Senior, 6-foot-2 combo guard
The Ontario native started his career in the JUCO ranks where he played two seasons and led the country in assists. He then tried his luck with the Kansas State Wildcats and played sparingly before opting to leave for Coastal Carolina, where he blossomed into one of the most efficient three-point shooters in the country (44.7%, which would be top 3 nationally if he qualified for the ranking). With the Huskies desperately needing some long-range shooting talent added to the current roster, Williams would seemingly provide this and more. He has UConn in his top eight and plans to take a visit to Storrs soon.
You don’t gotta like it but you gon feel it…CougNation let’s Roc #Committed pic.twitter.com/1V3Ke7To5K— Rudi Williams (@Rueadale) May 7, 2022
Will Richard, Belmont - Committed to Florida on April 9
Freshman, 6-foot-5 small forward
Richard capped off a stellar freshman season with a 22-point performance for the Bruins in the NIT, where Belmont fell to Vanderbilt. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a freshman and is ranked as the No. 15 transfer in the country per EvanMiya. Richard did shoot just 31.6 percent from beyond the arc last season, but excelled as a defender and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line. As a proven scorer with multiple years of eligibility remaining, Richard can provide instant offense and long-term stability for his next program.
Richard recently took an official visit to Florida, but has also received interest from Arizona and the Huskies.
Update: Richard committed to the Florida Gators on April 9. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
Andre Curbelo, Illinois - Committed St. John’s on April 15
Sophomore, 6-foot-1 point guard
Curbelo is another highly-touted transfer, ranking No. 8 overall in EvanMiya’s rankings. The sophomore battled injuries this season, playing in just 19 games, but was one of the country’s best distributors as a freshman, where he was 27th in the country in assist rate. While Curbelo was banged up for most of the season, he did manage some big performances against elite opponents — dropping 20 points with six rebounds and three assists against Purdue and a 14-point, six-assist game against Iowa. Like Shannon, Curbelo was a Hurley target before they committed to their respective schools, so there is already some familiarity there between UConn, Hurley and Curbelo.
Curbelo’s biggest downside is that he struggles as a 3-point shooter. He’s shot 16.9 percent from deep for his career, albeit on just 65 total attempts. Nonetheless, his athleticism and ball skills make him an intriguing transfer that has received interest from Gonzaga, St. John’s and Notre Dame, amongst others.
Update: Curbelo committed to St. John’s on Friday. The Red Storm were among his final choices before he committed to Illinois coming out of high school. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Devin Carter, South Carolina - Committed to Providence on April 17
Freshman, 6-foot-3 shooting guard
Carter played one season with the Gamecocks, averaging 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The Miami native showed flashes of scoring potential last season, scoring 20 or more points three times. Carter is an athletic guard with size that could handle point guard duties in a pinch — he had four or more assists seven times last season. He has UConn in his final six along with Arkansas, Providence, LSU, Oregon and UNLV.
Update: Carter committed to Ed Cooley and the Providence Friars on Sunday. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Antonio Reeves, Illinois State- Committed to Kentucky on April 27
Junior, 6-foot-6 shooting guard
Reeves is arguably one of the better pure scorers in the portal after averaging over 20 points per game for the Redbirds last season. The Chicago native also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game last season and shot over 38 percent from 3-point range on over 180 attempts. While the Missouri Valley Conference is not as competitive as the Big East, Reeves’ scoring ability would almost certainly translate and should be an instant boost to just about any offense in the country. Reeves has also received interest from DePaul, Memphis, Kentucky and North Carolina, amongst others
UPDATE: Reeves committed to Kentucky on Wednesday, April 27.
Kentucky lands Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves:— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 27, 2022
6-6, 185, G, Jr.
⁰The Numbers: 20.1 ppg, 39% 3-pointers (76-195)
⁰The Scout: “High-level ball skill and quickness for his size. Shot-maker with great touch. Needs to get stronger and add weight. Can play the 1 and the 2.”