Juwan Durham to Sign LOI Tonight
Juwan Durham won't be able to play basketball until next year, but the 6-foot-9 forward is locking up his college plans tonight at 6 p.m. Durham is scheduled to sign his Letter of Intent to UConn during Tampa Prep's practice and then have it faxed to Kevin Ollie and the Huskies.
"It's a tradition," said Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon about having his players sign during practice. "There's no question it will be a load off (signing his LOI). The kid has been working his tail off for this day."
The Huskies are also expected to get LOIs from 6-0 point guard Alterique Gilbert (Miller Grove, 36th) on Thursday and 6-8 Mamadou Diarra (Putnam Science Academy, 147th) on Saturday. The fourth recruit in the class - Vance Jackson, a 6-foot-7 combo forward at Prolific Prep (Calif.) who is ranked 72nd in the Class of 2016 - is planning to sign on this first day of the early signing period.
Unfortunately for Durham, he won't have a chance to enjoy his senior season at Tampa Prep, at least on the court. Durham is scheduled to have surgery on his left ACL on Tuesday.
The 27th-ranked player in the Class of 2016 was already trying to return from an ACL injury in his right knee, which he suffered back in February, when his doctor discovered the left knee problem.
"It was very strange - they discovered it in a random MRI," Fenlon said. "He didn't even have an inclination he had hurt himself."
Fenlon said when they called Ollie to tell him about the second injury the UConn coach told them "don't worry about it." In other words, Durham was still wanted in Storrs.
"He's already looking forward to it," Fenlon said of his star player going to college.
Since suffering the setback, Durham has continued to work hard in the weight room and will continue that trended after the surgery. Having already gone through one rehab for an ACL, he also knows what he needs to do to come back.
"He's still working out, doing squats and front loading a lot," Fenlon said. "He's very driven."
Driven enough to make it back for the end of Tampa Prep's season?
Fenlon laughed off that possibility but added he did think about it.
"I told him we were going to put him out there and play a box-and-1," the coach said. "He just looked at me (laughs) … I'm crazy enough to do it."
Tampa Prep has a brutal schedule, which was set up with Durham in mind, this season, but will have to play without the star.
"He's going to be the tallest assistant coach in Florida," Fenlon added.