Trelawny’s Kentan Facey going from strength to strength in UCONN basketball

Trelawny born Kentan Facey, formerly of Knox College, is having a great senior year at the University of Connecticut (UCONN).

At 14 years old, the young teen from Warsop would never have dreamed of being in that spotlight. The 23-year old Facey, grew up like most Jamaicans playing football and cricket. He never played basketball until he was 15.

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Kentan Facey was a member of the winning UCONN NCAA Championsip team in 2014. Photo via Facebook.

He caught on quickly and within one year, at the age of 16, he left Jamaica to live with a host family in Baldwin, New York.

Facey attended Upper Room Christian Academy for a year, then transferred to Long Island Lutheran, where he played the next two seasons under coach John Buck. As a junior, Facey averaged about seven points and seven rebounds per game. But he blew up on the recruiting scene that summer, attracting interest from numerous Division I schools, including UConn. In August, 2012, Facey committed to the Huskies, then went on to have a terrific senior year, averaging 14.8 points, 13 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game and earning New York State Gatorade Player of the Year honors.

His playing career over the next couple of years was spotty. He’d show flashes of a good rebounder with a nose for the ball, a skilled, face-up forward who could knock down a 15-footer. But there were other times when Facey was practically invisible on the floor, leading to long spells of little playing time. His highlight was the greatest of them all in College, winning the NCAA Championship in 2014.

Last season, he was heavily burdened by the death of his father Kenneth Facey, who died from heart problems. The elder Kenneth had never seen his son play.

This season however, Facey is looking up. Two days ago, the 225 pounds, 6’9″ senior power forward had a career best performance in UCONN’s win against North Florida.

 

From The Daily Campus

Despite the eight-day break, Kentan Facey showed no signs of rust in UConn’s first game of winter break, picking up right where he left off to help the Huskies to their first win of the season at Gampel Pavilion.

The Trelawny, Jamaica native scored a career-high 20 points, while adding nine rebounds and four blocks as UConn (5-5) rolled past North Florida 80-59. It marked the third-straight impressive showing for Facey that first began with an eight-point, seven-rebound performance while battling the stomach bug against Syracuse, followed by an eight-point, 13-rebound game on the road against Ohio State.

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Kentan Facey pulls up for a jump shot in UConn’s 80-59 win over North Florida at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 18, 2016. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

“I was just being aggressive the whole night, I feel like that had something to do with it,” Facey said. “I just feel like I’m more relaxed on the court.”

Facey used an array of moves around the paint to do his damage against the Ospreys, showing skill and touch with either hand around the rim and even stepping back for a pair of midrange jumpers. Even though Facey has showcased some of these post moves in the past, they were on full display against North Florida, showcasing the senior forward’s versatility and athleticism down low combined with newfound confidence.

“I’ve worked on [post moves] for a while, I just wasn’t aggressive before,” Facey said. “I’m just trying to work on staying aggressive throughout the rest of the season.”

Facey’s career performance was the highlight of an impressive day for the UConn frontcourt of Facey, Amida Brimah and Steven Enoch. Brimah tied his season-high 11 points and added six rebounds, while Enoch scored seven points with seven rebounds. Brimah and Enoch also had four blocks each.

UConn used their size advantage in the post to their advantage from the beginning, relying on the trio for 23 of the Huskies’ 41 first-half points. That trend continued into the second half, as Facey got UConn started with six of the Huskies’ first 10 points to open up the period. Facey, Brimah and Enoch would finish the game with nearly half (38 combined) of UConn’s 80 points on the day and played a vital role in outrebounding the Ospreys 40-35.

“Our bigs pretty much dominated the game,” head coach Kevin Ollie said. “Kentan was huge in the four-hole, just being aggressive with 20 [points] and nine [rebounds] and then Amida played very well.”

 

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