It’s been quite some time since the four time national champion UCONN Huskies mens basketball squad was among the nation’s top 68. With their last championship coming in 2014 and having not been a part of March Madness since 2016, Storrs hasn’t been much of a threat to the nation’s best teams.
But in the upcoming 2020-2021 season, that’s all going to change.
UCONN next year is transitioning from the American Athletic Conference, where they have been since 2014, back to its first home in the Big East.
By moving back to a major conference, UCONN’s strength of schedule increases tremendously with perennial powerhouses Villanova and Creighton as well as tournament quality teams in Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier and Butler on the slate. And with a highly improved team heading into next season, the Big East may have just gotten another national title contender in the conference.
Returning from 2019 comes standout sophomore James Bouknight who was second on the team in PPG with 13.4 and was a very efficient shooter with a 46% mark from the field.
Junior big men Isiah Whaley and Tyler Polley are both valuable guys in all around post play who are also a part of the team next season. Incoming transfer RJ Cole, a scoring legend at mid-major Howard, will be huge in providing buckets, something the Huskies lacked last year.
But maybe the most intriguing piece of the team is incoming freshman Andre Jackson. The number 51 prospect, 4 star recruit is primed to showcase his unreal athleticism and give the Huskies the superstar prescence they will lose with the senior departure of Christian Vital.
Another intriguing transfer comes in Tyrese Martin, a fantastic offensive player from Hurley’s former team at Rhode Island. Even though he likely won’t recover from an ACL tear until conference play, Akok Akok, a block machine should continue to be UCONN’s premier interior defender and also aid in rebounding.
Veteran leadership in Josh Carlton will also give the Huskies an edge in the bigger games. And with a raucous and devoted fanbase, UCONN’s fans will certainly be a problem for visiting teams.
With recruiting mastermind Dan Hurley finally getting his guys into major roles on the team, he will be at the helm of a competitive Huskies team not seen since Kevin Ollie.
With UCONN as a projected 9 seed in ESPN preseason bracketology, they are already expected to make strides. But in a new, much more competitive conference with a deep and all around team coached by a savvy basketball mind, don’t be surprised if the Huskies make some major noise next season and do more than just return to the tournament.