Mann has close ties to UConn pro­gram

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS - By David Borges

STORRS — Dan Hur­ley thought he had a pretty good chance of re­cruit­ing Ter­ance Mann to play at Rhode Is­land a few years ago.

Mann’s mother, Day­nia LaForce, had just been hired as URI’s head women’s bas­ket­ball coach, so Hur­ley fig­ured Mann might want to join mom in the Ocean State.

“We thought we had a real chance at him,” said Hur­ley, who coached at URI for six sea­sons be­fore tak­ing over at UConn this sea­son. “Then, we didn’t make his Top 5 list.”

In­deed, Mann’s star rose over his fi­nal year at Til­ton School, and the likes of Florida State, In­di­ana, Bos­ton Col­lege, Iowa, Mary­land, Florida and West Vir­ginia started com­ing af­ter him.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to be away from home,” said Mann, who grew up in Low­ell, Mass. “I think Hur­ley knew that.”

He wound up at Florida State, and on Sat­ur­day at 6:30 p.m. at the Pru­den­tial Cen­ter in Ne­wark, N.J., Mann will go up against Hur­ley for the first time as a col­le­gian when No. 11 Florida State faces UConn in the Never For­get Trib­ute Clas­sic.

“I spent a lot of time with Ter­ance, he was al­ways work­ing out at (URI’s Ryan Cen­ter), al­ways play­ing pick-up with our guys,” Hur­ley re­called. “I think he’s one of the best all-around perime­ter peo­ple/hyrid play­ers that we’ll play against this year.”

Mann, a 6-foot-7 se­nior, leads the Semi­noles’ well-bal­anced scor­ing at­tack at 11.1 points per game, and is also the team’s top re­bounder at 7.3 per con­test.

When he takes the floor against the Huskies on Sat­ur­day, he’ll not only be go­ing up against his mom’s for­mer co-worker, but also one of his best friends. Jalen Adams, UConn’s top scorer, has been tight with Mann since the two were in high school. Adams,

who is a year older than Mann, played in the Bos­ton Am­a­teur Bas­ket­ball Club briefly with Mann be­fore mov­ing over to play for Mass Ri­vals. The two went up against each other nu­mer­ous times in AAU and in high school, when Mann was at Til­ton and Adams was at Cush­ing Academy, then Brew­ster Academy.

In AAU, as Mann re­calls, the teams split in their two head-to-head meet­ings. But in prep school, Adams seemed to al­ways get the bet­ter of Mann’s teams.

“His team was al­ways stacked,” Mann noted.

Now, the ta­bles are a bit turned. Florida State (7-1) is one of the very best teams in the coun­try, with wins over Florida, LSU

and Pur­due and a loss only to de­fend­ing na­tional champ Vil­lanova. And the Semi­noles, who re­turn seven of their top nine scor­ers from last year’s Elite Eight squad, have been with­out last year’s top scorer, Phil Cofer, who’s been out with a foot in­jury.

UConn is try­ing to take that next step up, seek­ing to knock off a ranked team for the first time in nearly three years.

“I def­i­nitely got the best of him in high school, but their team is re­ally good,” Adams said af­ter the Huskies’ blowout win over Lafayette on Wed­nes­day, “and he’s been play­ing re­ally well this year and since he’s been in col­lege. We’ve got to get back to work and prep for Florida State.”

Phe­lan M. Eben­hack / As­so­ci­ated Press

Florida State guard Ter­ance Mann was re­cruited by UConn coach Dan Hur­ley while Hur­ley was at Rhode Is­land.

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