UConn gets a verbal commitment from Lubin

Recruit Rakim Lubin watched UConn's first official basketball practice on Saturday.

Apparently Lubin liked what he saw during his official visit.

Lubin, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward from Gadsden, Ala., gave the Huskies a verbal commitment on Saturday. He's attending Buford High School in Georgia after spending the previous three years at Gadsden City.

He informed Buford coach Allen Whitehart of his decision on Saturday night. He told Whitehart that he liked the UConn coaching staff's attention to detail in both academics and athletics.

"He was bubbling over (Saturday) night," Whitehart said Sunday. "He was on cloud nine. I was really happy for him He's soft-spoken. He doesn't say many words at all, that's what is so unique about him.

"He's very humble. He knows he's been God-gifted with athleticism, size and ability."

Memphis, Auburn and Marquette were some of the schools recruiting Lubin, a member of the Class of 2014. He took his mother, Sabrina, on the official visit to UConn.

Lubin didn't get a chance to showcase his skills during the hotbed recruiting month of July because he hurt his back.

"He had been pretty sought-after until he got hurt," Whitehart said.

Before his injury, Lubin played with his Buford High School team in a summer league in June. In his first game, he had 37 points and 23 rebounds.

"I didn't expect that, I promise you that," Whitehart said. "And he did it against another Division I post (player), which was impressive to me. I knew right then he was pretty special."

Lubin is athletic, agile, strong and defends well in open space, according to Whitehart. On the offensive end, he's at his best in the low post, where Whitehart said, "you're either going to foul him or he's going to score. He finishes extremely well." He's also a hard worker.

Prior to coming to Buford, a basketball power located in the northern Metro Atlanta area, Lubin had never lifted weights. He's already added about 12 pounds of muscle. He's a legitimate 245 pounds, according to Whitehart.

"He's physically college ready now…," Whitehart said. "He's definitely going to give them toughness."

Whitehart is familiar with the UConn program. He brought one of his players, Lorenzo Brown, to Jim Calhoun's Elite basketball camp about four years ago. Kevin Ollie was a guest speaker.

"I was very impressed," Whitehart said.

Now that Lubin's big college decision is behind him, he can focus on preparing for his bright future.

"It will encourage him to work harder because he knows where he's going," Whitehart said. "He knows UConn is one of the top programs in the country. It will elevate how he prepares. It will give him a different mindset.

"… It's a great fit. I think he can do very well there."

UConn is building an impressive recruiting class. North Carolina State transfer Rodney Purvis, a 6-4 guard, is already at UConn and can practice with the team while he sits out a year.

Daniel Hamilton, a 6-6 swingman from Los Angeles, made a commitment in May.

g.keefe@theday.com

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