UConn Dodged a Big Blow By Losing Out on Brandon Jennings

gregory caldarellaAnalyst IJuly 23, 2008

For those who do not recall, Brandon Jennings was a player that many thought was undoubtedly destined to play for UConn.  After all, he was best friends with former UConn star point guard Marcus Williams, and his coach was Williams' father.

In the early stages of recruiting, Jennings would be seen walking around California wearing UConn gear and had heavy interest in attending UConn that coming year.  But something happened along the way...

Jennings suddenly decided to become a USC Trojan.  The Trojans came out of nowhere to swoop in and nab themselves the most talented PG in this coming year's class.  But Jennings later de-committed from USC and then announced that he would attend either Arizona or UConn.

At this point I felt as though it was a lock that he would be a Husky this time around.  I was disappointed yet again as he chose the Wildcats over the Huskies.

As he lost out on Jennings for the second time, Coach Jim Calhoun turned his recruiting efforts to finding a new PG for his upcoming class.  Many stellar guards had already given verbal commitments to other schools at this point, and it seemed the chances of finding an adequate floor general were bleak.

A few weeks after the Jennings battle had blown over, I heard news that UConn had received a verbal commitment from NYC PG Kemba Walker.  I did not know much about this player, and neither did many of these recruiting websites.  He was not even ranked on many recruiting lists.

I figured this was just a move to secure a decent player to add some depth to the backcourt, but I did not realize how what started off as a disappointment was really a blessing in disguise.

After Walker committed, his stock began to rapidly rise—so much so that he was now widely considered the second-best PG in the class behind Jennings.  Things were now starting to look up, and I began to realize this might have been a better signing for the Huskies.

Jennings was so good that many believed he would be a one and done type of player, while Walker was tabbed as a four-year player.

This situation got even better when Jennings announced he would play ball overseas rather than attend Arizona as he previously stated.  He has recently signed with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma of the Italian pro league in an attempt to get money and hopefully improve his stock for the NBA Draft (whenever he decides to enter).

Now Kemba Walker is currently playing on the USA under-18 national team and has received much praise for his leadership ability from Davidson head coach Bob McKillop.  It should be an exciting year next year for the Huskies with a potential attack of Walker running the point and A.J. Price spotting up for more open looks.

UConn certainly lucked out with their misfortune in missing out on Jennings.