Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

Fresh start, home ties play into Juwan Durham's exit from UConn

Connecticut's Juwan Durham, a former standout at Tampa Prep, announced via Twitter on Monday that he is transferring after one season.

Durham, a 6-foot-11 forward, is the third player to leave the Huskies in the past month, joining fellow freshman Vance Jackson and sophomore Steven Enoch. UConn signee Makai Ashton-Langford also requested to be released from his letter of intent.

Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said Durham's decision was not strictly based on basketball.

"There were many factors that Juwan weighed before reaching his decision," Fenlon said. "He just decided he needed a fresh start."

There also was a desire to play closer to home.

"Maybe that's in Florida, maybe it's somewhere close to the state for Juwan," Fenlon said. "He has some time to think this through."

Durham committed to UConn in September 2015 after taking his official visit to the school. At the time of his commitment, he was considered a four-star recruit and a top-25 prospect in the 2016 class by nearly every major recruiting service. He was one of the rare bay area basketball stars who committed to a national title contender in the past decade.

Others in that elite group include former Gibbs/Admiral Farragut star Marreese Speights (Florida 2006-08), former Plant standout Michael Frazier (Florida 2012-15) and former Sickles star John Henson (North Carolina 2009-12).

Tampa Catholic forward Kevin Knox will be the next when makes his decision later this month.

Durham picked the Huskies over offers from more than a dozen major schools, including Indiana, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Louisville. UConn has won four national titles, the last coming in 2014.

Days after announcing his commitment, Durham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee for the second time in a seven-month span. The injury ended his senior season before it started.

This season with the Huskies was the first time Durham returned to the court. Durham played in all 28 games as a freshman, averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

After Durham announced his decision to leave, Fenlon had a text from an ACC school inquiring about the coach's former prized player.

"Juwan will have plenty of options," Fenlon said.

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