Hurley lands his first two basketball recruits at UConn

Dan Hurley and his staff had a productive weekend, landing the first two recruits of his UConn head coaching career.

Guard Tarin Smith, a graduate transfer out of Duquesne, and 6-foot-4 guard Brendan Adams of Baltimore made commitments to the program on Sunday. They visited the Storrs campus over the weekend.

They both cited that their strong relationship with the UConn coaching staff played a major role in their decision.

"I just have a great relationship with the coaching staff...," Smith said. "I like the campus and like the (program's) history. I think it is a great place to play."

Both guards have ties to Hurley and his staff.

Smith, who's from Ocean Township, N.J., played for Hurley's father, Bob Sr., at St. Anthony High School. While in middle school, he attended one of Dan Hurley's St. Benedict basketball camps.

At Duquesne, Smith was in the same conference — the Atlantic 10 — as Rhode Island, Hurley's previous coaching home. Last season against URI, Smith had six points, four rebounds and three assists in a 61-58 loss on Jan. 27 in Kingston.

Smith was named the Atlantic 10 sixth man of the year, averaging 12.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. He shot 41.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range.

"I think its going to be fun," Smith said of playing for Hurley. "(Coach Hurley) buys into his guys. He's definitely into it. He's really intense. I'm excited."

Smith also has a connection to recently hired UConn assistant Kenya Hunter. He played his freshman year at Nebraska when Hunter was on the staff there.

"Just knowing I had someone on the staff I could trust and knew before, it was big," Smith said.

Adams is one of Hurley's former recruits at URI. When Hurley left for UConn late last month, Adams decided to re-open his search and asked for a release from his letter of intent.

Georgia, Seton Hall, Xavier and George Mason also reached out to Adams, who averaged 18 points, four rebounds and three assists at Calvert Hall during his senior year.

"I feel a big part of me committing to UConn is the relationship I already had with coach Hurley and also (assistant) coach Kimani (Young) who recruited me at Minnesota," Adams said. "Once I got on campus it became an easy decision. It felt like a good fit and I had a good relationship with those guys so I knew they had my best interest at heart."

Adams enjoyed hanging out with his future UConn basketball teammates. He also spent time with Smith.

"I thought they were all good guys," Adams said. "That was a big part of me committing, too. They felt like good people and that we could do something big and turn it into the old UConn. I'm excited to get started."

Adams comes from an athletic family.

His older brother, Jaylen, recently completed his senior season at St. Bonaventure, where he was the Atlantic-10 Conference's co-player of the year. His mother, Yolanda, was a college basketball player at Wesley College in Delaware and father, Darryl, played football at Maryland.

With the addition of Adams and Smith, UConn will have five guards on the roster next season, joining Jalen Adams, Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert. That's if all the returning Huskies decide to stay with the program.

Hurley ran a perimeter-power attack at Rhode Island, starting as many as four guards on his Atlantic-10 regular season championship and NCAA tournament team this past season.

The Huskies will likely target a frontcourt player to fill their last remaining scholarship.

g.keefe@theday.com

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