Leading off today:
UConn's men's basketball team has landed its second commitment of the offseason from a top New York prospect. South Shore point guard Terrence Samuel announced his intention over the weekend to join the Huskies next fall.
He'll be arriving in Storrs with New Rens AAU teammate Kentan Facey of Long Island Lutheran. And, of course, former Christ the King star Omar Calhoun is currently a freshman at the Big East school, extending a New York tradition that's included the likes of Kemba Walker in recent seasons.
As The New York Post's Zach Braziller notes, neither Samuel nor Facey is regarded as a top-shelf recruit. But Samuel is likely to be the best point guard in the PSAL if not the entire metro New York area this season, and some of his value to UConn is that he's not likely to be a one-and-done player and indeed could start 50 or 60 games in even just a three-year college career. These days, that passes for stability and longevity in the minds of some coaches.
Already, Samuel has the look of a leader. Rather than opting for one of the traditional PSAL powers such as Boys & Girls or Lincoln, he opted to attend a school where he could play as a freshman, and now South Shore is regarded as a more credible program than it had been.
“Some people might say I took the hard way,” Samuel told the New York Daily News. “It didn’t come easy. But playing at South Shore was a good move for me.”
Transfer news: Amanni Fernandez will not be returning to Christ the King for her senior year. Instead, the 5-foot-6 point guard is enrolled in The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where she will reclassify as a junior with an eye toward perhaps eventually attending an Ivy League school.
Financial considerations also played a role in the decision.
"She's a great kid, good player, good student," Royals coach Bob Mackey said. "I wish her the best. If that's something that the family feels, I'm not going to tell anybody how to raise their child. She's been a great asset to Christ the King and she will be missed."
Christ the King will have some rebuilding to do in the backcourt. Starting point guard Alyssa Gatti is recovering from a torn ACL and is targeting a January return.
Participation climbs again: Girls sports were the growth engine as participation in high school sports increased for the 23rd consecutive year in 2011-12, the National Federation of State High School Associations reported recently.
Figures from the 51 NFHS-member state high school athletic/activity associations show sports participation last