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    Sunday, June 16, 2024

    UConn secures a commitment from transfer Aidan Mahaney

    St. Mary's guard Aidan Mahaney dribbles the ball up the court during the first half of a game against Santa Clara in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament on March 11 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)

    UConn dipped into the transfer portal for the second time this spring to fill a key need on its men’s basketball roster.

    The latest addition is 6-foot-3 guard Aidan Mahaney, who spent the last two seasons playing for Saint Mary’s in California.

    A two-time All-West Coast Conference first team selection, Mahaney averaged a team-best 13.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists during his sophomore season, helping the Gaels (26-8) capture the West Coast Conference regular season and league tournament titles and earn an NCAA tournament berth.

    He revealed his commitment on social media on Monday after visiting UConn late last week and making a trip to Kentucky over the weekend.

    Finding a perimeter shooter this spring was high on the UConn coaching staff’s list after the Huskies lost three starting guards, including top 3-point weapon Cam Spencer, from the back-to-back national championship team. Redshirt sophomore forward Alex Karaban, who made the second most 3-pointers on the team, is testing the NBA Draft waters while retaining his college eligibility.

    Mahaney, who’s from Lafayette, Calif., and played his high school basketball at Campolindo High School, converted 35.5% (83 for 234) from beyond the arc last season, down from 40% (74 for 185) as a freshman.

    In 2023 NCAA tournament second round action, Mahaney finished with nine points on 4 for 13 from the field in Saint Mary’s 70-55 loss to UConn in Albany, N.Y.

    He’ll also bring experience, leadership and ball-handling to a rebuilt backcourt. Only Solo Ball, who’ll be a sophomore, and possibly Hassan Diarra, the Big East Sixth Man of the Year and two-time national champion, will return. Diarra has yet to announce his plans for next season.

    “I chose UConn because I want to compete for national championships,” Mahaney told ESPN on Monday. “UConn is a place that keeps the main thing the main thing. The coaching staff has proven themselves to be the best in the country the last two years. … Coach Hurley will push me to be the best player I can be and I can’t wait to pick his brain and the rest of the staff.”

    During a strong spring recruiting season, UConn has added three players, with Michigan transfer Tarris Reed Jr., a 6-10 center, and five-star recruit Liam McNeeley, a 6-7 forward and McDonald’s All-American, joining Mahaney as newcomers.

    UConn’s incoming recruiting class includes guard Ahmad Nowell and forward Isaiah Abraham.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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