Ever since he was named the new head coach at UConn on March 22, it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Dan Hurley.
Following his departure from Rhode Island after two straight NCAA Tournament berths, Hurley and his wife, Andrea, and their two sons, Danny and Andrew, have had to look for a house in Connecticut. He had to hire a new coaching staff. He had to meet with the UConn players and decide how the current roster will shake out. He had to make additions to the roster in the NCAA late signing period. And now he has been thrust into the live period that is April recruiting. Hurley last weekend traveled to AAU events in Dallas and Washington, D.C., and this weekend will hit stops in Indianapolis and Atlanta.
"For us, you get a job in the late signing period, you obviously want to add kids to your program that bring value and have maturity, especially coming into a program where you're coming off a tough year," Hurley told SNY.tv Tuesday by phone, referring to a UConn team that finished 14-18, 7-11 in the AAC under Kevin Ollie, who was fired with "just cause" on March 10 due to a pending investigation by the NCAA.
"It's really important for us to add guys with character, maturity and work ethic and obviously who I have some familiarity with."
Hurley hit a home run in the late signing period, landing verbal commitments from all three players who visited campus the weekend of April 13.
Brendan Adams, the 6-foot-4 point guard from Calvert Hall (MD), who initially committed to Hurley at Rhode Island, verbally committed to UConn that Sunday morning during his visit there.
Later Sunday, Tarin Smith, the 6-3 Duquesne graduate transfer who averaged 12.4 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game last season, pledged to the Huskies. He will be immediately eligible.
Smith, who played for Bob Hurley Sr. at St. Anthony's in Jersey City, will be the first player ever to play for both Bob Hurley Sr. and one of his sons.
"Playing for Bob Sr. taught me a lot of things," Smith told ZAGSBLOG. "It definitely made me grow up faster, it made me a lot more mature. You definitely learn at a higher rate than most high school players and then you can translate it to college. And I'm hoping to learn the same from Danny. They're both great coaches who do different things well so I'm just excited to keep learning from them."
UConn also added 6-8 St. John's grad transfer Kassoum Yakwe on April 17. Yakwe played his first three years of college at St. John's and led the Big East in blocked shots as a freshman and finished second in the conference as a sophomore. He only played 10 games his junior season due to injuries.
Those three additions gave UConn 13 scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. Meantime, 6-2 sophomore Christian Vital and 6-8 junior Terry Larrier declared for the NBA Draft. Larrier will sign with an agent, while Vital will not and has the option of returning to campus.
Hurley is not yet permitted to comment specifically on his latest additions until they sign financial aid papers but did comment generally.
"I think it's important to not get trapped in the late signing period," he said. "If you can, as a coach, find some guys that can really help your program, I think it's a great time to make some key additions. But I think it's really important for us at UConn to get focused on future classes because every day that you're not focused on that at the level that we want to play at and recruit at, you're getting further behind when you're taking over a new job."
To that end, Hurley and his assistants, Kenya Hunter, Tom Moore and Kimani Young have been out visiting with and watching some top Class of 2019 targets in recent weeks, both at their schools and in their homes and at AAU events.
"The areas where UConn has built this great tradition and history are kind of represented in the way I tried to hire my staff," Hurley said of his assistants, who are versed in the New York/New Jersey, New England and Mid-Atlantic recruiting regions.
Last week, Hurley was back at his old stomping grounds at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., where he coached for nine years. But this time he was recruiting Class of 2019 wing Precious Achiuwa, the younger brother of former St. John's big man God'sgift Achiuwa and the No. 12-ranked prospect according to ESPN. Achiuwa is being recruited at the highest levels, with North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Syracuse and Villanova among those involved.
Hurley is not permitted to comment on recruitable student-athletes but enjoyed his trip to St. Benedict's, where he still sees Headmaster Father Edwin Leahy as his main mentor. Hurley gave Father Ed a shoutout during his introductory press conference at UConn on March 23.
"Going back to St. Benedict's, there's just a ton of memories," he said. "It's cool to have people that I've taught in the classroom next to or coached with come by and talk about those days there, building a program. The great players, the great teams, the memories in that gym. The practices and the games with J.R. [Smith], Tristan Thompson and Lance Thomas was pretty cool there."
Hurley and Young also spent a day at Christ the King High School to watch 6-10 Class of 2019 big man Kofi Cockburn, ranked No. 39 by ESPN. Hurley knows Cockburn's mentors through his connection with fellow Jamaican Samardo Samuels, who played for Hurley at St. Benedict's. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, St. John's, Cincinnati and South Carolina are also involved for Cockburn, while Kansas and Tennessee just offered this week.
Hurley and his assistants are well acquainted with all of the top high school and prep schools in New York, New Jersey and New England, and have the support of many of the top coaches in the area.
"I think that he'll be very successful," Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said before Hurley was hired at UConn "Everybody I speak to has great words for him."
The UConn staff has also checked in on 2019 big man Aidan Igiehon of Lawrence Woodmere (NY), although they are battling Louisville, Stanford, Oregon and USC, among others for the big man.
UConn has also checked in on 2019s Paul Mulcahy, Akok Akok, Jaden Delaire, and Max Lorca-Lloyd .
This weekend, Hurley and the UConn staff will hit the road again, hitting the Nike and Under Armour stops in Indianapolis and the Adidas stop in Atlanta.
UConn has won four NCAA championships since 1999 and Hurley and his staff will reiterate that on the recruiting trail.
"Obviously, the power of the UConn brand allows you to recruit nationally and internationally as well because there's no one in college basketball that has the recent history and tradition that we've had the last 20 years and that's a powerful thing," Hurley said.
Follow @AdamZagoria on Twitter.