Howard trans­fer Cole com­mits

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By David Borges

R.J. Cole, a trans­fer from Howard Univer­sity, has com­mit­ted to UConn.

Cole, who was a three­year starter for UConn head coach Dan Hur­ley’s fa­ther, Bob Sr., at St. An­thony High in New Jersey, will have to sit out this up­com­ing sea­son but will have two years of el­i­gi­bil­ity with the Huskies.

“It was the fam­ily at­mos­phere, the coach­ing staff and the great tra­di­tion (of UConn),” Cole said by phone on Tues­day night. “It’s some­thing I wanted to be a part of.”

Cole was down to UConn, Alabama and Se­ton Hall. He vis­ited Alabama last week and bumped up his UConn visit from Me­mo­rial Day week­end to this week, be­gin­ning on Tues­day.

He said Hur­ley Sr. was an “amaz­ing in­flu­ence” on him.

“I learned a lot in my three years there,” said Cole, a prod­uct of Union, New Jersey whose fa­ther, Rob Cole, Jr., was an AAU coach.

Dan Hur­ley re­cruited Cole while Hur­ley was still coach­ing Rhode Is­land. A 6-foot-1 scor­ing point guard, Cole was a pro­lific scorer at Howard, av­er­ag­ing 23.7 points per game as a fresh­man and 21.4 this past sea­son as a sopho­more. He also doled out 6.1 as­sists per game as a frosh and 6.4 per con­test last sea­son.

Cole said he sim­ply felt it was time to move on from Howard.

UConn has just 12 schol­ar­ships avail­able for next sea­son af­ter self-im­pos­ing the loss of a schol­ar­ship due to vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted on Kevin Ol­lie’s watch. The Huskies are still re­cruit­ing one more spot for next sea­son — prefer­ably a big man, but UConn is sim­ply look­ing for the best avail­able tal­ent at this point. The Huskies will take ei­ther a player im­me­di­ately el­i­gi­ble or, like Cole, one who has to sit out a sea­son.

When Cole is el­i­gi­ble to play for UConn in 2020-21, he could be shar­ing point guard du­ties with Al­terique Gilbert or, if Gilbert is gone, with cur­rent in­com­ing fresh­man Jalen Gaffney. Gaffney can also play the two.

Mitchell Lay­ton / Getty Images

Howard’s RJ Cole takes a foul shot against George­town on Dec. 29 in Wash­ing­ton.

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