UConn lost one big man Thursday morning, but wasted no time in scooping up another.
Redshirt freshman Michael Bradley made his transfer to Western Kentucky official and, hours later, class of 2012 center Phil Nolan, a Milwaukee product, tweeted his commitment to UConn. Tyrone Lewis, his coach at Riverside University High (Milwaukee) later confirmed the report.
At 6-foot-10, 205 pounds, Nolan is a versatile lefty who can block shots and step out on the perimeter. Nolan’s greatest strength, according to Lewis, is his “ability to run the floor as a four and a five.” Lewis added that his post game is the area he most needs to improve as he prepares for Big East basketball.
“He’ll be able to show his talents (at UConn), as in his jumpshot, his ballhandling skills, you know, as a big man, he can also create his own shot and play away from the basket,” Lewis said. “He can step out and hit a 3-pointer and can also get other guys involved.”
Nolan averaged 16.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 2.3 assists while shooting 63 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line in seven games at Riverside last season. He attended three different high schools — Milwaukee Vincent, St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) and Riverside University — and scrapped plans to attend two others. According to Lewis, Nolan did not become eligible at Riverside until more than halfway through his senior season.
“He came (to Riverside) so he could get his grades together and he wanted to play with some of these guys from back home, the guys he had grown up with,” Lewis said.
Nolan held offers from Arizona, Baylor, St. John’s, Minnesota, Marquette, Maryland, Oregon and Clemson. According to most recruiting websites, UConn was not even on his radar.
“Last week, he had brought (his interest in UConn) to my attention,” Lewis said. “Earlier this morning, he brought it to my attention that he made a commitment.”
Nolan was rated as a four-star recruit, and will undoubtedly have a chance to play right away in Storrs. He joins Tyler Olander and Enosch Wolf as the team’s only big men.