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    Monday, September 25, 2023

    Jackson, Hurley celebrate UConn's title at Citi Field

    UConn’s Andre Jackson Jr. throws out the first pitch before a doubleheader between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on Monday in New York. The Mets honored UConn’s national championship men’s basketball team. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

    New York — Four weeks after winning UConn's fifth NCAA men’s basketball championship, coach Dan Hurley and Andre Jackson Jr. got to celebrate the experience at Citi Field on Monday afternoon.

    Jackson, one of the starters on the Huskies and a native of upstate Amsterdam, threw out the ceremonial first pitch while his head coach, Hurley, and members of the UConn staff watched prior to the first game of the New York Mets’ doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.

    Before Jackson threw his pitch to Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar, a montage of highlights — set to Aerosmith’s “Dream On” — from UConn’s 76-59 championship game win over San Diego State on April 3 aired on the scoreboard.

    “It’s pretty cool, especially for a kid like Andrew who’s from New York,” said Hurley, a native of Jersey City. “And to see on the Jumbotron, the video, and kind of relive some of that — you don’t get a chance to enjoy it a whole lot because he’s been running around with the (NBA) draft process (and) finishing exams and we’re running around with recruiting. So it’s nice to be able to have some days like this.”

    Hurley, who is a Kansas City Royals fan and said Hall of Famer George Brett is his favorite athlete of all time, said there’s a possibility a pair of Huskies, Donovan Clingan and Alex Karaban, could throw out the first pitch prior to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, located about 90 minutes from the UConn campus in Storrs.

    Jackson, who declared for the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, said he was “a little nervous” before tossing a slightly high pitch from the mound to Escobar, who was crouched at the edge of the dirt in front of home plate.

    The 21-year-old, who grew up a Yankees fan, casually tossed the ball in his right hand as he stood inside the Clover home plate club following his pitch.

    “I was thinking about throwing it to a kid,” Jackson said. “But maybe I will keep it.”

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