UConn was in a precarious position early in the month, when it lost a number of key players to eligibility or the transfer portal. RJ Cole, Tyrese Martin, Isaiah Whaley, and Tyler Polley had forgone the remainder (or run out) of their eligibility, and four other players decided to transfer. All of a sudden, the immediate future of a 23-win team that earned a five-seed in the 2022 NCAA tournament was looking foggy at best.
So when news broke that star ECU guard Tristen Newton would transfer to join the Huskies, fans breathed a minor sigh of relief. Or they asked, ‘wait so who is this guy?’ Well, let me reassure you, UConn fans; Tristen Newton is really damn good.
Newton played three seasons for East Carolina, and after his sophomore year was derailed by injuries, he broke out in a big way in 2021-22. Newton racked up massive stats in American play, ranking No. 1 in minutes played and free throw percentage, No. 2 in assist rate, and No. 9 in free throw rate. He also scored 17.7 points and 5.0 assists per game, both No. 2 in the conference. And as someone who watched a good bit of AAC play, Newton passed the eye test with flying colors.
By all accounts, Tristen Newton was a top guard in the transfer portal and is a huge get for a UConn team that desperately needed to fill the void left by its numerous departures, especially in the backcourt. Newton joins Andre Jackson and fan-favorite Jordan Hawkins as the primary guards on Dan Hurley’s squad. If you ask me, Newton is the best player of the bunch, and I think he’ll fit right in the Big East.
Newton committed to the Huskies after just one visit, saying that the facilities and storied history of guards at UConn were the deciding factors. “Visit was great,” he said. “The coaches and players made me feel welcome, the facilities were great and were everything I needed to focus on basketball.”
Tristen Newton thinks he has what it takes to join the likes of Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier, and Ray Allen in his remaining two years of eligibility, saying “When it’s all said and done, if it’s one or two years, I want to be right up there with them.”
Dan Hurley still has work to do to fill his remaining scholarship spots, but landing Tristen Newton is certainly a step in the right direction.