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UConn men's basketball team lands San Diego transfer Calcaterra

Joey Calcaterra, a California native, had never been to Connecticut before taking a recruiting visit to Storrs last weekend.

Now he can't wait to return.

A 6-foot-3 guard, Calcaterra announced his commitment to the UConn basketball program on his Twitter account on Monday.

"I'm going to try to get out there as soon as possible," Calcaterra said.

A native of Novato, Calif., Calcaterra, a graduate transfer, spent the last four seasons at the University of San Diego. He averaged 8.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.8 minutes per game as a senior while shooting 38.8 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from 3-point land.

UConn assistant coach Luke Murray reached out to Calcaterra a couple weeks ago.

"Them being the historic successful program that they are, it was a very exciting moment for me," Calcaterra said during a phone conversation. "I went out there this past weekend — Friday and Saturday— and fell in love with coach (Dan) Hurley and the rest of his staff and the program that they have and the players that they have on the roster.

"It's just an exciting time for me."

Calcaterra watched one of UConn's workouts during his trip. He also talked with the players.

"I just felt it was a great fit for me," Calcaterra said. "I loved everything that they were talking about. Coach Hurley has a reputation as a coach that likes to get after it. That's what I look for in a head coach, someone that's going to push me to my limit and push me to be the best player that I can be."

At the UConn Coaches Road Show in Southington last month, Hurley said he wasn't finished recruiting for this upcoming season given the fact he still had three scholarships remaining.

Now make it only two scholarships left with the addition of Calcaterra.

Calcaterra joins fellow transfers Hassan Diarra (Texas A&M), Tristen Newton (East Carolina) and Nahiem Alleyne (Virginia Tech) as newcomers.

When asked to describe his game, Calcaterra said he's an all-around player and a vocal leader.

"A lot of people just call me a shooter, but I'm a lot more than that. I'm a shooter/slasher, can get to the rim, have a good mid-range game and can shoot the three well. Some people criticize my defense, but I feel like it's all good.

"I still have stuff to work on the defensive end, but, overall, I just get after it on both ends of the floor. I'm a competitor and a worker, so I'm going to work as hard as I can to help bring success to the UConn program."

Overall, the Huskies will have six new players this upcoming season, including Alex Karaban and Donovan Clingan, a former Bristol Central standout. Karaban practiced with the Huskies last season while sitting out as a redshirt.

"It's just going to be a fun time getting in the gym with all of them," Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra is looking forward to his new adventure and living on a different coast.

"It's definitely going to be a new experience for me," Calcaterra said. "I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California and then spent the past five seasons playing at the University of San Diego. I'm definitely taking a step out of my comfort zone, but it's time for me to do that. It's time for me to challenge myself.

"When I got blessed with the opportunity to play at UConn, it was very exciting for me and an opportunity that I didn't want to pass up."

g.keefe@theday.com

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