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    Tuesday, April 23, 2024

    Newton becomes latest UConn player to explore NBA options

    UConn guard Tristen Newton cuts down the net after defeating San Diego State in the NCAA championship game on April 3 in Houston. Newton announced Wednesday that he was entering the NBA draft but retain his college eligibility why going through the process. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

    Members of UConn’s national championship team either declaring for the NBA Draft or entering the transfer portal continues to grow.

    Starting point guard Tristen Newton is the latest member of the title team to decide to explore his options.

    Newton is taking a similar route as teammate Andre Jackson, electing to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft but still retain his college eligibility while going through the process. He’ll have until May 31 – the early entry deadline – to pick a path.

    He announced the news on his Instagram account on Wednesday.

    “First and foremost, I would like to thank God for everything. It has been an experience like no other being able to bring a national championship back to Storrs and Husky Nation. I would like to thank my coaches and teammates for giving him the opportunity to represent UConn, and for pushing me to be the best player that I can be every day. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my family for always having my back and showing me their continued love and support.

    “After discussing with my family and support team, I have decided to pursue my lifelong goal and declare for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining my collegiate eligibility.”

    Newton, who has one year of eligibility remaining, stepped right into the starting lineup after transferring from East Carolina last year. He averaged 10.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals while appearing in all 39 games.

    He became the first Husky to record two triple-doubles in a season, accomplishing the feat against Buffalo on Nov. 15 and Marquette on Feb. 7.

    He delivered on the pressure-packed NCAA tournament stage, finishing a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 76-59 win over San Diego State in the national championship game in Houston on April 3. He earned a spot on the Final Four all-tournament team.

    Three of his teammates, Jackson, Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, also have declared for the NBA Draft.

    Three others – Nahiem Alleyne Yarin Hasson, Richie Springs – went the transfer portal route. Alleyne committed to St. John’s earlier this week.

    The Huskies also are losing key reserve Joey Calcaterra, a graduate transfer who used up his eligibility.

    In other news, UConn’s top transfer recruiting target Nick Timberlake announced Wednesday that he’s headed to Kansas after spending his undergraduate career at Towson. He visited UConn last weekend and also considered North Carolina.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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