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Friday, August 26, 2011
Andre Drummond to UConn surprises

By Paul Biancardi and Adam Finkelstein
ESPN Recruiting

Andre Drummond's tweet on Friday night regarding his decision to reclassify to the 2011 class and join the Connecticut Huskies created a media frenzy due to the sheer surprise. The announcement came only two weeks after the Connecticut native narrowed his choices down to Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgetown and West Virginia and said he would remain in the Class of 2012 and not make a commitment before the spring.

Drummond's impact at UConn

The UConn Huskies were in a pretty good position before landing Andre Drummond, but now the defending national champs are easily among the upper echelon of the vaunted Big East and if the NBA's collective bargaining agreement makes college students stay longer than the current one year before entering the NBA, Drummond will make the Huskies relevant for years to come.

In Drummond, Jim Calhoun has scored one of the most dominating big men in high school basketball. He will bring NBA size, great length with the ability to rebound and block shots to go along with a developing offensive game. What is so impressive for this big man is how he can pass the ball in a high-low setting or with his back to the basket. Plus, he can defend in the low or high post, while protecting the rim, which will help the Huskies' defensive FG percentage.

Calhoun will be able to play a monster lineup with Drummond and Alex Oriakhi down low and possibly move Oriakhi over to his natural position of power forward. With Roscoe Smith and DeAndre Daniels at the SF, Jeremy Lamb at SG and explosive freshman Ryan Boatright, the Huskies' lineup is looking hard to beat. It just remains to be seen how fast the freshmen pick up the intensity and sustain it because all the talent is there.

-- Paul Biancardi

While the commitment is obviously a huge addition for Connecticut, there are still some questions to be answered. First and foremost is whether or not Drummond, the nation's top center in the 2012 class, will be on scholarship. Connecticut does not have any available this year after losing three due to NCAA rules violations and a poor academic performance rating.

The second question pertains to Drummond's status with the NCAA clearinghouse. This may be more a question of if, rather than when, as Drummond graduated from St. Thomas More School in June and reportedly met all clearinghouse requirements but has not yet submitted the paperwork to the clearinghouse since it was his original plan to remain in the Class of 2012.

The final question pertains to how this commitment went down. While rumors circulated in the late spring that Connecticut hoped to land Drummond in the Class of 2011, those chances seemed to end when the Huskies used their final scholarship on DeAndre Daniels in June.

By the time July rolled around, Connecticut appeared to be on the outside looking in as coach Jim Calhoun chose to build his travel schedule around prospects other than Drummond, while the likes of Kentucky's John Calipari and West Virginia's Bob Huggins were much more visible.

So what changed in the last month?

Ultimately we're not really sure since Drummond hasn't had much communication with any members of the media through late Friday night.

What does appear certain though is that Drummond's change of heart is a huge victory for the Huskies as Calhoun lands the highest-rated recruit in his tenure and one of the brightest prospects ever to come out of the state of Connecticut.

Adam Finkelstein has been a coach or scout at the high school, college, and pro levels. He was an assistant coach in Division I by the age of 24 and also worked as a scout for Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting.