At one time UConn junior forward DeAndre Daniels hoped to start his basketball career in Texas.
He committed to coach Rick Barnes and the Longhorns as a junior at Los Angeles Taft High School but changed his mind before his senior season.
“My recruitment was kind of crazy when I was in high school,” Daniels said. “I was committed to Texas for a whole year. I always wanted to go there. That was my dream school. But I felt it wasn’t the best fit for me.”
Daniels ended up going to prep school for a year before choosing UConn, sight unseen. He took official visits to Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Texas and Florida.
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“I never saw UConn,” Daniels said. “It just felt right. I was always talking to the coaches. My family felt it was the best fit me.”
Daniels has had an up-and-down career at UConn but said he has no regrets.
Daniels led UConn into Monday’s championship game with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a semifinals win over Florida.
“I never second-guess,” Daniels said. “I needed to grow up. I learned a lot. It’s starting to pay off.”
Sweep in sights
The Huskies are looking to sweep the men’s and women’s basketball titles 10 years after their first sweep.
“That is always the goal at the start of the year,” forward Kentan Facey said. “If we could pull it off this year that will be pretty special.”
Considering UConn’s women have won eight titles and are the favorite to cut down the nets again, the pressure is on the men, Facey said.
“It’s hard not to think that, the way they have been playing,” Facey said. “We have to match them.”
Kentucky has won 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament games — spanning the 2012 and 2014 tournaments — since losing to UConn in the 2011 national semifinals. Kentucky missed the tournament in 2013.
UConn can end another notable streak. Florida won 30 consecutive games between its losses to Connecticut.