New coach Hur­ley lands first UConn com­mit­ments

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By David Borges

Dan Hur­ley’s first two com­mit­ments at UConn are players with whom he’s fa­mil­iar.

Bren­dan Adams, a 6foot-3 guard from Bal­ti­more, com­mit­ted to the Huskies dur­ing his of­fi­cial visit to cam­pus on Sun­day. Adams, a Class of 2018 re­cruit, had com­mit­ted to play for Hur­ley at Rhode Is­land last Oc­to­ber. How­ever, he re-opened his re­cruit­ment af­ter Hur­ley left URI for the UConn job last month.

“It took some time,” he said of his de­ci­sion to de­com­mit. “Early on, I wanted to stay. I was sure I was gonna stay. I knew I had a re­la­tion­ship with Coach (David) Cox, so I was tempted to stay. But, as the process went on, I just got to think­ing, ‘What made me com­mit to URI in the first place?’ And it was the full pack­age. I felt like Coach Hur­ley would make me be­come a bet­ter player and a bet­ter man.”

Also on Sun­day, Tarin Smith, a grad trans­fer from Duquesne, pledged to UConn. Smith, a 6-2 guard, av­er­aged 12.4 points and 3.2 as­sists in 28.5 min­utes per game last sea­son for the Dukes. He’s faced Hur­ley three times in his college ca­reer, twice with Duquesne (which plays in the At­lantic 10, like URI) and once at Ne­braska, av­er­ag­ing 6.7 points in those con­tests.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited,” Smith said by phone on Sun­day evening. “It’s just a great fit for me, my re­la­tion­ship with the coach­ing staff from Coach Hur­ley and Coach (Kenya) Hunter. And the play­ing style re­ally fits me.”

Smith also played for

Hur­ley’s fa­ther, Bob, Sr., at St. An­thony’s High in New Jersey. He be­gan his ca­reer at Ne­braska, where new UConn as­sis­tant Hunter was an as­sis­tant for Smith’s fresh­man sea­son.

“He was my guy for that one year at Ne­braska,” Smith said of Hunter.

Adams, a con­sen­sus three-star re­cruit, is the younger brother of for­mer St. Bon­aven­ture guard Jaylen Adams — not to be con­fused with cur­rent UConn ju­nior Jalen Adams. Whether or not Bren­dan Adams teams with Jalen Adams this sea­son re­mains to be seen, as the lat­ter hasn’t fully com­mit­ted to re­main­ing at UConn — though that seems some­what likely.

Ei­ther way, it’s bound to cause some con­fu­sion.

“One of the (UConn) coaches called me ‘Jaylen,’” Adams noted. “We laughed about that.”

Cox, who re­cently suc­ceeded Hur­ley as URI’s head coach, was the leader in Adams’ re­cruit­ment to URI. How­ever, Adams told the Prov­i­dence Jour­nal last fall that he had a good con­nec­tion with both Hur­ley and Adams.

“It wasn’t me say­ing I’m not go­ing to Rhode Is­land, it was me say­ing I need to take a step back and see what else comes,” he said. “This was a very tough de­ci­sion.”

Xavier was among the other schools se­ri­ously in­ter­ested in Adams, but one visit to UConn sold him.

“The history there is crazy,” he said. “Coach Hur­ley is try­ing to build the culture back.”

While his brother was one of the best guards in the coun­try last sea­son at St. Bonny’s, Adams’ par­ents were pretty good ath­letes, too. His mother, Yalonda, was a 1,000-point scorer at Delaware’s Wesley College. His fa­ther, Dar­ryl, played college foot­ball at Mary­land.

Smith, who trans­ferred to Duquesne from Ne­braska af­ter his fresh­man sea­son, played all 32 games for the Dukes last sea­son and was named the A-10’s Sixth Man of the Year. He led the team with 140 free throw at­tempts and was se­cond in as­sists and third in steals (31).

“Coach Hur­ley puts his guards in po­si­tion to make plays,” Smith said. “He re­ally de­fends and gets af­ter it. I think it’s gonna im­prove my game on both sides of the ball, and give me a big­ger stage to show my tal­ents.”

UConn was the only school Smith vis­ited, though he had been con­tacted by Ok­la­homa, Ne­vada, Se­ton Hall and Rut­gers.

“I found ev­ery­thing I was look­ing for at this school,” he said.

He shot 41 per­cent from the floor last sea­son and 33 per­cent from 3-point range, but is prob­a­bly bet­ter known for his de­fen­sive prow­ess.

“I think I’m a good de­fen­sive player,” he said, “with the abil­ity to be a great de­fen­sive player if I step up my de­fen­sive game.”

He added that Hur­ley told him to “come in, work hard, be a leader for the team, help the younger guys along and bring a change of culture.”

As­so­ci­ated Press file photo

Tarin Smith, right, a grad­u­ate trans­fer who has played at both Duquesne and Ne­braska, has com­mit­ted to play for the Huskies next sea­son.

As­so­ci­ated Press file photo

Tarin Smith, right, will take his tal­ents to UConn next sea­son.

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