By ADAM ZAGORIA
UConn coach Dan Hurley and his staff kicked off the first recruiting period of the fall by prioritizing a couple of Class of 2023 recruits while also getting set to host their 2022 pledges
Hurley and associate head coach Kimani Young were at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic Thursday evening and stayed for the entire open gym to show their interest in Class of 2023 guard Simeon Wilcher and forward Akil Watson.
“It was great to see Danny and Kimani on the first night colleges can be out,” RC coach Dave Boff said. “They definitely seem to be prioritizing recruiting our guys.”
UConn, of course, has several New Jersey players on its roster, including incoming freshman guard Corey Floyd Jr., who played at Roselle Catholic and this summer reclassified into 2021 from 2022.
Boff probably hopes neither Wilcher or Watson, who transferred over from Don Bosco, reclassifies and leaves early. The 6-foot-5 Wilcher, who recently turned down a high-six-figure offer from the Overtime Elite league after helping lead the NY Rens to the Peach Jam semifinals, is ranked No. 12 by ESPN.com in the Class of 2023, while the 6-9 Watson is ranked No. 20.
Wilcher holds a slew of high-major offers and could end up being a one-and-done. North Carolina and Oregon are also expected in to see him soon.
Watson is being courted by several schools, including North Carolina, Providence, St. John’s and Oklahoma State, who are all expected to see him soon.
Meantime, Class of 2022 commits Alex Karaban, the 6-7 forward from IMG Academy (FL) who committed in August, and Donovan Clingan, the 7-1 big man from Bristol Central (CT) who pledged in July, are both taking their officials this weekend.
“I think we can bring something extremely special to UConn,” Karaban said before leaving for the official. We are both very skilled and smart players so helping others score as well as using our talents to score in different ways. Also just our passion towards the school and wanting to succeed in it.
“Donovan of course being from Connecticut so he gets to represent his state and play for his hometown, while for me I’ve followed UConn basketball ever since I was little. Just having to play hard and win in that jersey. We will bring some championships together, too.”
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