After being inducted into basketball's Hall of Fame, Jim Calhoun landed two key recruits over the weekend in preparation for another run to the Final Four. Both Jonathan Mandeldove and Jerome Dyson verbally pledged their services to the Big East school over the weekend while on official visits. Being Hall of Famer certainly has it's benefits, doesn't it?
Calhoun worked his newfound Hall of Fame status to his advantage by taking both Mandeldove and Dyson to the esteemed venue and showed off his own display at the hall. How many coaches can do that?
As first reported on Inside the Paint, the premium message board on RivalsHoops.com, Mandeldove verbally committed to the Huskies on Saturday afternoon.
"He's shown that he can produce players that make it to the NBA and win championships," Mandeldove said. "He's been so successful there and I'm looking forward to being a part of that myself."
Mandeldove, the No. 92 ranked player in the country, committed to Virginia Commonwealth last year but after not qualifying, he opted for the prep route at Hargrave Military Academy after his four years at Shiloh High School in metro Atlanta.
"They were one of the first big schools to get in touch with me when they could," Mandeldove said. "I think by the time I get down there at Uconn, a lot of my peers in the basketball world will know who I am."
Mandeldove was also considering Memphis, Missouri and Wake Forest. He said the Huskies did their research on him.
"He was real straight up and honest with me," Mandeldove said of Calhoun. "We had a little meeting and on his desk he had this folder and it was filled with all kinds of information me. They even had my picture from Rivals on the folder. It was pretty cool. They knew a lot about me."
Word came out over the weekend that Dyson cancelled his scheduled visit to Boston College on Sunday and Monday, showing his hand that he will likely commit to Connecticut. Dyson also committed to the Huskies on Saturday. Mandeldove said he is looking forward to playing alongside the D.C. area native.
"He's real cool. We played pick up together and he's really good," Mandeldove said. "I think he committed a day before I did."
Calhoun's path to the Hall of Fame has always revolved around steady and versatile guards that can flat out shoot and big men that shine on the defensive end of the floor and make things happen on the paint inside the offense. Calhoun landed two key players to help him fill the roles needed for his squad.
Dyson, one of the finest shooters in the country, fits into UConn's system nicely because of his long range and versatility to play the point. At the Main Event in Las Vegas, Dyson took the reigns at the point guard spot at times for the D.C. Blue Devils and shined alongside the likes of Tywon Lawson and Kevin Durant.
Not as explosive or as athletic as Ben Gordon, Dyson has similar skills that have some calling for comparisons to the former lottery pick and National Champ.
Mandeldove is one of the fasting rising prospects in the country. Since finishing his senior season at Shiloh High School, Mandeldove's confidence has sky-rocketed. The 6-foot-11 center shines on the defensive end of the floor as a shot-blocker and his offense is slowly coming around.
Mandeldove's father, Andre, believes his son's best days are still ahead of him. He's right.
"You look at the guys that have come through UConn, Emeka Okafor, Cliff Robinson, Josh Boone, Jake Voskhul, the list goes on, coach Calhoun really knows how to develop big men," Mr. Mandeldove said.