Lubin to sign LOI with UConn this week

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The national champion UConn Huskies should soon be getting a big addition to their front court in 6-foot-8 forward Rakim Lubin.

Lubin committed to the Huskies last September, but had not signed a letter of intent with the Huskies, who defeated Kentucky two weeks ago for their fourth national championship – and first under coach Kevin Ollie.

“He’s supposed to sign his letter of intent to UConn in the next couple days,” Buford (Ga.) High School coach Allen Whitehart said, Monday afternoon, noting Ollie had recently sat down with Lubin and his mother.

Lubin helped lead Buford to the state championship game this past winter, scoring a season-high 37 points with 21 rebounds and five blocks in the semifinals. Morgan County, led by Mississippi State recruit Tookie Brown, beat Buford in the final 69-45, with Lubin finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

“He’s a man – he could be playing on Sundays,” Buford (Ga.) High School Allen Whitehart said of the 250-pound power forward who has the nickname ‘Rock.’ “He’s a big physical kid. A physical athlete.”

With junior DeAndre Daniels possibly leaving early for the NBA draft – he has until Sunday to declare – and Tyler Olander and Niels Giffey graduating, the Huskies could use some additional help in their front court. If Daniels leaves (guard Ryan Boatright is also considering leaving early), that would leave only sophomore Phil Nolan along with freshmen Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey with any front court experience.

Interest in Lubin dipped last summer after he was sidelined with a back injury, but Whitehart said he was fine during the season. Lubin was named the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAA Player of the Year

“He wants to win at all costs,” Whitehart said.

Lubin transferred to Buford last May from Gadsden City (Ala.), where he averaged 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior and earned second-team all-state honors.

In addition to Lubin, the Huskies’ incoming recruiting class is expected to include 6-7 Daniel Hamilton, who said last week at the Jordan Brand Classic he would soon be signing his letter of intent. Hamilton, from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., verbally committed to UConn last May and signed a financial-aid agreement in November.

The Huskies also have JUCO guard Sam Cassell Jr., a 6-foot-4 point guard who spent this season at Chipola College in Florida. Cassell has already signed with UConn. Also, sophomore Rodney Purvis will be eligible to play after sitting out this season following a transfer from North Carolina State. Ollie has several times during the season referred to Purvis as “a Ferrari sitting in the garage that I can’t drive.”

NOTE: UConn will reportedly host Texas on Nov. 30 in Storrs next season. The Longhorns list the game on their website, but under opponent it says TBA.

William Paxton