Two days after landing 2011 small forward DeAndre Daniels, the Huskies picked up a verbal commitment Thursday from 6-foot-5 Omar Calhoun Jr. of Christ the King, the No. 8 shooting guard in the Class of 2012.
“Yes, I committed to the University of Connecticut,” he said by text. “After spending quality time with Coach [Jim] Calhoun and the rest of the coaching staff, Coach [Kevin] Ollie and Coach [Glen] Miller and touring the campus my family and I felt UConn is the perfect place for me to continue my higher education academically as well as athletically.
“I want to thank God and my family and friends. Without them none of this would be possible. I would like to thank all the universities and coaches that recruited me. I met some great people along the way and I want to thank Christ the King and the men’s basketball program. Coach [Joe] Arbitello, Coach Lemko, Coach Cox, Coach Sanchez and Coach Cokley and Anton Turkavic for their continued support. I would also like to thank the New York Gauchos organization including Billy Singleton, Dwayne Mitchell and Rocky Bucano.”
Calhoun also considered North Carolina, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Maryland and Georgetown.
“He can really score,” New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said of Calhoun. “He’s a all about numbers. He was leading the EYBL in scoring at 29 a game.
“He’s got to become a more consistent 3-point shooter but he knows how to score and is an opportunistic scorer. He sneaks into the passing lane, he steals an inbounds pass, he scores a layup. He digs out a loose ball on the baseline and puts up an easy shot.
“He goes to the basket, he’s a good finisher. He’s a pretty good free throw shooter, not quite as consistent as a junior as he was as a sophomore. But the prolific scorers are not the guys who make the difficult shots, they’re the guys who make the easy shots. But a lot of guys don’t do that. A lot of guys make a steal and won’t finish.
“He’s a guy who can score and he’s an intelligent player and he’s an intelligent person who I think certainly brings character to their program and brings the ability to score. Their style of play suits him well.”
Added Mitchell, the Gauchos and Rice High coach:
“They’re getting a high level player who plays in a high level league. They’re getting a kid who wants to go that type of school where he’s going to be challenged. They’re getting a really good player, mainly he’s a good kid.”
Asked if he has the potential to contribute right away, Mitchell added: “He definitely has the potential to do that. I don’t know exactly what their recruiting class coming in looks like but he definitely has the ability to step in and play right away.”
As far as the implications for the coaching tenure of Jim Calhoun, Daniels previously told SNY.tv that Calhoun told him he would be back on the sideline as coach in 2011.
Jim Calhoun said he planned to make an official statement this month on his future plans.
With the addition of Omar Calhoun, the odds of Jim Calhoun remaining into 2012 and beyond look strong.
“You can see and feel the passion and excitement in his eyes,” a source close to Omar’s recruitment said.
(Photo courtesy Daily News)