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While the exodus continued in Storrs Friday with Alex Oriakhi officially transferring to Missouri, it's not all bad news for Huskies fans. Holy Cross junior R.J. Evans officially committed to UConn and will be eligible immediately because he is graduating this spring.
The junior guard finished second on the Crusaders in scoring with 11.5 points per game and was third in rebounding at 4.8 rebounds per game. He started and played in 28 of the team's 29 games and knocked down 47.7 percent of his shots, while leading the team in steals with 49.
Evans told the Hartford Courant, "Growing up in Connecticut, it's every kid's dream to play for UConn," said Evans. "I've been given this opportunity and I want to make the most of it. … Just try to help win some games."
The Salem, Connecticut native is capable of playing as a shooting guard or small forward and not only brings a great overall skill set but is noted for his leadership and competitiveness according to the Holy Cross Athletics website.
He will be the lone senior on a Huskies squad that is ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA violations.
Earlier Friday, sophomore forward Michael Bradley asked for his release to transfer, after seeing no playing time with the school. With Bradley's departure and the addition of Evans, Jim Calhoun still has three scholarships to fill for next season.
After spending three seasons in Storrs, Alex Oriakhi will take his skills to Missouri to team-up with former teammate Phil Pressey. The Tigers announced the Lowell native would officially transfer to Missouri in a release Friday afternoon.
Oriakhi will be eligible to play for the Tigers immediately because UConn is ineligible for the postseason due to a NCAA violations. The talented forward averaged 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 109 games with the Huskies, including 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds his sophomore season when UConn won the National Championship.
He should have a chance to make an immediate impact for the Tigers who are losing their top two forwards from a team that went 30-5 and earned a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. With seniors Ricardo Ratliffe (35 starts) and Steven Moore (16.1 minutes per game), leaving Oriakhi will compete for a starting spot with several other new players head coach Frank Haith is bringing for the 2012-13 season.
In the statement released on mutigers.com, Haith had this to say about Oriakhi:
Oriakhi was also being pursued by Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Xavier but the allure of starting and playing with Pressey, the team's point guard, who played with Oriakhi in youth basketball in Boston was enough to send him to Missouri.
WIth Oriakhi transferring and freshmen forward Andre Drummond declaring for the NBA Draft Thursday, UConn will have to rely on sophomore forwards Tyler Olander and Roscoe Smith and freshmen DeAndre Daniels. The trio combined for just 35 starts on the year and none of the players averaged more than 4.4 points or 3.9 rebounds per game.
UConn freshmen forward Andre Drummond will reportedly declare for the NBA Draft Thursday afternoon according to multiple outlets including the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register. The 6'10" Middletown, Connecticut native becomes the second Husky to declare this week, joining sophomore Jeremy Lamb, and the first every UConn player to leave for the NBA after just one season in Storrs.
As a freshman, Drummond averaged 10 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game while playing in all 34 games. Drummond started 28 games for Jim Calhoun this season and was named a Big East All-Rookie Team member.
While he struggled to make an instant impact in Storrs, Drummond did show some flashes of potential greatness, including a 20 point, 11 rebound affair against West Virginia. Drummond is projected to be picked among the top five slots in the 2012 Draft according to ESPN.com and and NBADraft.net.
Each year Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com releases his list of men's basketball players that plan to transfer. This year the list sports almost 300 names, with 19 players from New England schools. While most of the players listed are younger, less established players who will move to smaller schools or even Division II or Division III schools in search of more playing time, several players included were key contributors to their team this past season.
Oriakhi is the biggest name of the group and the least surprising; despite a down year that saw him in Jim Calhoun's doghouse for much of the year, he still managed to start 28 games and is drawing attentions from some of the top programs in the country. Humphrey was a much bigger surprise, while he didn't make as big of an impact as everyone expected in his first year as an Eagles, he still finished as the team's second leading scorer and would have been the lone senior on Boston College's roster.
Boston native Gerard Coleman was an instant impact player for the Friars from Day One but has decided to leave Providence due to "personal reasons," after averaging 13.2 points and five rebounds per game this season. Last but not least, Holy Cross senior R.J. Evans has decided to graduate a year early, leaving the Friars without the leading returning scorer and one of their best rebounders.
The entire list is below, including schools that have expressed interest:
R.J. Evans-Sr.- Holy Cross- will graduate and play asap
Max Hooper, 6-6, SG, Fr., Harvard - St. John's, Oakland
Matt Humphrey, 6-5, G, Jr., Boston College (will graduate)
Alex Jackson, 6-5, F, Soph., Quinnipiac
Terrance Bobb-Jones, 6-4, G, Fr., Quinnipiac
Nick Jackson, 6-4, SG, Soph., Dartmouth
Adam Jones, 6-7, F, Fr., Fairfield
Ryan McKeaney, 6-9, F, Soph., Vermont
Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, C, Jr., UConn - Missouri, Kentucky, Xavier, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State
Ryan Pierson, 6-8, F/C, Soph., Northeastern
Kauri Black, 6-7, F, Jr., Northeastern (will graduate)
Troy Robinson, 6-6, SG-SF, Fr., Bryant
Mat Piotrowski, 7-1, C, Fr., Boston University
Mike Terry, 6-1, G, Soph., Boston University
Charles White, 6-1, G, Jr., Hartford (will graduate)
Ryan Baker, 6-5, G, Jr., Hartford
Dustin Clarke, 6-4, G, Fr., Hartford
UConn entered the 2011-12 season with hopes of repeating as champions thanks to a strong recruiting class and several stars coming back. After an abysmal showing, the 2012-13 season outlook just keeps getting uglier for Jim Calhoun and the Huskies.
After sophomore Jeremy Lamb announced his decision to declare for the NBA Draft Monday, rumors are swirling around freshmen big man Andre Drummond and whether he will also jump ship. According to a tweet from Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, Drummond will likely make an announcement either Wednesday or Thursday on his future.
The talented freshmen was a top 10 member of the 2016 Class nationally and averaged 10 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game in 30 starts this season. Drummond also led the team with a 53.8 percent field goal percentage and 92 blocks, while playing near 30 minutes per game. Many experts are speculating that Drummond will join Lamb in leaving early for the NBA.
Junior Alex Oriakhi has already announced his intentions to transfer from UConn and will likely be allowed to play right away at his new school because of UConn's postseason ban for the 2012-13 season. Oriakhi averaged 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Huskies in 28 starts and teamed up with Drummond to form two-thirds of the Huskies front court.
With the Huskies ineligible for postseason play this upcoming season, there is some speculation that other players may also join the ranks of Lamb and Oriakhi in leaving Storrs.
Jeremy Lamb is leaving UConn after two years to enter the 2012 NBA Draft. During his two seasons with the Huskies, Lamb won a national championship and scored 1,060 points.
The Eagles will be without their lone senior and second leading scorer as Matt Humphrey has decided to transfer for the second time in three seasons.