Tevin Baskin remembers an AAU game in Georgia two years ago, when he dove on the floor for a loose ball and landed under the seat of Tom Moore.
Moore should soon have a much better view of Baskin.
Baskin, the 6-foot-6 center on Trinity Catholic’s basketball team, ended months of speculation about his future with a 19-word statement just after noon on Wednesday.
“What I came in to tell you guys is that I have decided to attend Quinnipiac University next year,” Baskin told a small gathering in the school’s library.
Flanked by Mike Walsh, his coach at Trinity, and Torey Thomas, a former Crusaders star who has become a trusted advisor, Baskin divulged his intention to play next year for the Bobcats and Moore, their coach and a former assistant at the University of Connecticut.
Though the choice was expected, Baskin, who was pursued by many of the country’s top teams before narrowing his list to Quinnipiac, Manhattan and New Orleans, said he did not finalize his plans until late Tuesday night after a final conversation with his mother, Yolanda, and stepfather, Donald.
“Quinnipiac has a different feel,” Baskin said. “It’s big but it is not huge. It’s small but it’s not tiny. I had a relationship with Tom Moore when he was at UConn. He is going to be the type of coach who pushes me to the next level.”
Baskin led the Crusaders to a 24-2 mark this past season, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds. The team was 92-12 during his career and reached the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship game in each of his four years, winning the title in 2008.
Trinity also reached the CIAC Class LL final that year, nearly upsetting Crosby behind Baskin’s 35-point, 12-rebound performance.
Baskin has not yet qualified to play next season and is awaiting his SAT scores before he can sign his National Letter of Intent.
Baskin will become the 12th graduate from the Trinity program to play Division I basketball, following such luminaries as Rashamel Jones and Craig Austrie, who both went on to play at UConn and, along with Thomas, who played at Holy Cross, offered him advice throughout the recruiting process.
Perhaps Thomas has the best insight into what Baskin can look forward to. He was recruited to Holy Cross by current Quinnipiac assistant Sean Doherty, and coached by another assistant, Eric Eaton. Brijesh Patel, the Bobcats’ strength and conditioning coach, served in the same capacity at Holy Cross when Thomas was playing.
“He’s going to be in a good situation,” said Thomas, who just returned home after leading his professional team in The Netherlands into the playoffs. “We spoke a lot online from overseas.”
Baskin said the proximity of the Hamden campus also was a factor in his choice.
“People will be able to come see me play, and that’s a huge thing,” Baskin said.
Baskin visited each of the three schools on his final list during the past two weeks, most recently Quinnipiac eight days ago. Since that time he wrestled with his decision and when to announce it. He initially was going to last Saturday, but decided to delay it both because of the holiday weekend and he felt he needed more time.
Walsh said he thought Quinnipiac was a good fit for Baskin.
“Tevin’s been one of the greatest athletes to come through this program,” Walsh said. “It was a tough choice but a good choice.”
Walsh compared the situation to when Amanda Pape, the leading scorer in Stamford history, decided to attend Sacred Heart rather than a school with a higher profile. Pape went on to become the Pioneers’ career scoring leader and led them to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Everyone said she should go to a better school than that,” Walsh said. “She basically put Sacred Heart on the map and Tevin will have the opportunity to do that at Quinnipiac.”
Moore has been at Quinnipiac for two seasons and led it to a 15-16 mark this past winter. His name has also been mentioned in the ongoing investigation whether UConn violated NCAA rules in the recruitment of former guard Nate Miles.
Baskin, who is in the middle of finals before graduating in 10 days, said he was happy to be finished with what he termed a long and difficult road.
“It feels really good to get this done and over with,” Baskin said. “I can go back to being me.”