College basketball insider suggests if Dan Hurley leaves UConn for Lakers a mass roster exodus will quickly begin

dan hurley
Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If Dan Hurley takes his coaching talents to the Los Angeles Lakers in the next week, it will set off a chain reaction that sees many of the Connecticut Huskies players and recruits also take their services elsewhere.

The UConn men’s basketball program was turned on its head Thursday when it was revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers were making a hard push to make Dan Hurley their next head coach. It was a stunning pivot in the team’s head coach search after various reports in recent days pointed to NBA veteran turned popular podcaster and analyst, JJ Redick, as a favorite to land the job.

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However, while there has been a great deal of speculation about ongoing negotiations between Hurley and LA, the UConn program has been the forgotten part of this unexpected storyline. The news comes at a difficult time with college basketball months deep into the offseason and all the best candidates to possibly replace the UConn coach no longer on the market.

But even worse, the head coach’s potential departure comes at a point in the year when players and recruits have more than enough time to rethink if they want to play for a UConn program without the man who helped the school win back-to-back national championships in 2023 and 2024.

In a Thursday column, The Athletic college basketball insider Dana O’Neil explained why Dan Hurley taking his talents to LaLa Land could set the stage for a mass exodus from UConn over the next 30 days.

“Should Hurley leave, there will be options (there always are options), but this is a hypercritical decision already well beyond the 11th hour on the decision date timeline,” O’Neil wrote. “A coaching change means players immediately receive a 30-day transfer window. The players who came to Storrs — and are targeted to come this upcoming season — are not coming for the bucolic charm of the town.

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“They came to play for Hurley. If he goes, that portal opening will probably look something like the Walmart front doors on Black Friday.”

The situation could mirror what happened to the Alabama Crimson Tide football program earlier this year when legendary head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement from the sport in January. Close to 30 players departed the school via the transfer portal following his retirement.

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