Recruiting Update - UConn Looks to Add Size

March is less than two weeks away and while most of the attention is on the Huskies' quest for another national championship, things are heating up on the recruiting front. Six high school thoroughbreds gave the early nod to Jim Calhoun but the Huskies recruiting work might not be done yet.

Jim Calhoun and his staff have done a great job re-stocking the shelves for 2006. Their stellar class features size, power, scoring, and ball-handling. So what could possibly be missing?

The UConn staff still feels like they could add another low post performer.

Several names have been mentioned but it seems the two with the most merit are prep school star Phil Jones, who's originally from New York but currently attending prep school in North Carolina (Laurinburg Prep), and 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet who attends Cyprus Community Christian School (Houston, Texas).

Jones is close to 6-11 tall, weighs in at 245 pounds, and can score on the low blocks. He's a bit raw and learning the game but the potential is there. Reminds me of what the staff was probably saying when they found a hidden gem named Emeka Okafor. Phil, much-like Josh Boone, loves to run the floor and would certainly flourish in the Huskies fast-paced style. Jones won't be ready to make a decision until the spring but his stock is on the rise. Kentucky, Providence, Clemson, Miami, and Marquette are also vying for his services.

Thabeet is another raw, but athletic talent who's currently averaging a double-double. Thabeet also averages four blocks a game and we know having an imposing presence on the defensive end is important to Coach Calhoun. 6-11 Jonathan Mandeldove is already headed to Storrs, and UConn could end up with yet another duo of quality shot-blockers.

But now 6-8 Darrell Arthur's name has resurfaced. UConn pursued the Dallas, Texas product hard out of the gate but Arthur expressed his feelings about staying close to home to be near his sick mother. UConn backed off when Arthur formulated a list based on that need. SMU, Baylor, Texas, Indiana, and Kansas were the teams competing for Arthur's services.

Baylor and SMU became second tier schools. Texas focused on Kevin Durant. And Kansas and Indiana jumped to the front of the pack.

The word is that Indiana is now out because of the resignation of Mike Davis. Davis was a BIG reason why "Slim Shady" was looking at the Hoosiers. It will be interesting to see if the South Oak Cliff High School star waits for the Mike Davis situation to play out. If Davis were to end up at another school would Arthur follow?

But for now, if Kansas and Indiana were truly the top two schools on his list – the burden of the heavy favorite sits squarely on the shoulders of the Jayhawks.

Kansas may end up with more competition. UConn and Texas are throwing their names back in the hat. Expect the Huskies to pursue the talented power forward. Those who question where he would fit in – well, if the number three-ranked power forward in the nation is available – it's too good to pass up.

There plenty of onlookers disappointed at times by Arthur's summer camp performances, but this kid is the real deal and has too much talent to overlook. Look for the news to heat up in the coming weeks.


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