Updated: Jun 11, 2022
6’4” Virginia Tech transfer Nahiem Alleyne has committed to the University of Connecticut Huskies over Florida State and Seton Hall, amongst a host of others. The Georgia native provides an immediate veteran presence with a proven perimeter shooting track record, having shot over 38% from beyond the three-point arc in his three seasons in Blacksburg, VA.
Alleyne, an All-ACC Academic team member for the last three years, has been battle-tested, starting all 36 games last year for the Hokies and winning an ACC Tournament Championship in 2022. Alleyne spoke with PI about his decision to commit to the Huskies.
Pro Insight: Talk about your basketball journey — how did you get to where you are today?
Nahiem Alleyne: I started playing basketball in third grade. I started taking it seriously in middle school. My dad really took me through the whole journey, he used to play basketball himself. At first I took a little different approach than him, but my dad had a conversation with me, telling me “if you’re gonna make it at this level, you got to be serious, you got to be committed.” After that, everything just skyrocketed. I wasn’t really highly recruited in high school. I don’t know why, I thought I was putting in work and showing my talent to coaches. Mike Young, he started recruiting me at Wofford. I went to a couple games and I really liked their play style and system and I really wanted to play for Coach Young. When I saw he wasn’t going to be there anymore, that was kind of sad for me because I wanted to go play for him, I didn’t really want to go anywhere else. But when he got the job at Virginia Tech, he called me and told me he wanted to offer me. As soon as he said that, I committed right on the spot.
PI: Could you describe your experience at Virginia Tech and what you learned from your time there?
NA: It was a great journey for me. Freshman year, I learned a lot and thought I played pretty well. Had my mistakes but that’s normal for a freshman. Sophomore year, I thought I did a pretty good job, just developing my game. I learned through a lot of mistakes my freshman year, and it helped me break down the game better. It made the game a lot slower and a lot easier for me. Last year, I had a lot of expectations for myself, and I didn’t feel like I fulfilled them for me personally. I felt like I had a down year even though I still played better than most guys. I thought my time at Virginia Tech was good, especially winning a championship there for the first time in school history, that was very special. I scored like 900 points in my career and thought I really helped build a culture there. I learned that communication is key and developing your game is important, especially getting to that high level, like ACC basketball, you’re playing against pros. Just getting focused and watching film daily, that helps you break down the game for you. You can see different things that you’ve never seen on the court.
PI: This past season your Virginia Tech team won the ACC Championship as a #7 seed. Can you talk about your experience during that run?
NA: It was a hard stretch at the beginning. We didn’t know how to click and we were making that one mistake every single game that kinda just cost us. Coach was always telling us, “When adversity hits, who are you? Are you the guy that is just gonna keep on taking those punches or will you fall back?” So when we started 2-7, I think Miami hit that half-court buzzer beater on us and it really changed the season for us, cause from then we were all just locked in and focused. We didn’t give up on ourselves, we still believed that we were the best team in the ACC. From there, we went on a big winning streak and things were really clicking for us. Then losing on senior night set the tone again for us, cause we know we could beat anyone in the country as long as we stayed locked in and stayed together. When it came to tournament time, I saw the schedule and thought we could really do this. I thought our path was really good. Against Clemson, that was obviously a really close game but shoutout Darius Maddox for hitting that game winner. After that, I knew we were gonna be good from there. We played Notre Dame before and felt confident that was gonna be a win. And then with North Carolina, I knew we were going to get them back cause third time’s a charm. Playing Duke was a very special moment and something I’ll never forget, going against Coach K in his final ACC game. We were going at it, back and forth. In the second half, I thought we really locked in on defense and started putting together offensive possessions back to back. Hunter Cattoor, he really showed out too. It was really special, and once we won it was mind-blowing, beating Coach K in his last ACC game.
PI: When it came down to it — what were the most important factors in choosing your next step?
NA: For me, it was skill development, building relationships, and environment. Those were the three things I was really looking for in a school. Not to say that was bad at Virginia Tech, I just felt like I needed to take the next step and go another direction. Especially because I spent three years here building a culture and developing relationships, but I had to go do what’s best for me.
PI: Who did you lean on for guidance throughout the process?
NA: Definitely my family and AAU coaches, those were the guys I talked to the most. My dad, he was someone I talk to every day, so he already knew what I was going through since he played basketball, himself.
PI: How much different has this process been compared to your high school recruitment?
NA: In high school, I only had like seven offers. In the transfer portal, it kinda surprised me how many looks I got because in high school I couldn’t really imagine playing at those schools but now after playing three years in the ACC and averaging like 10 points, I established that I am a winner and can play with anyone.
PI: Without further adieu — where will you be playing next season?
NA: I am announcing that I’m playing at UConn.
PI: Congratulations! What separated UConn from the rest of your options? What was UConn’s most consistent message to you throughout the process?
NA: From day one talking to Coach Luke (Murray), it was a different vibe. I really felt like he was being himself. Obviously all the coaches are trying to get at me, but I felt like he knew what he was talking about. They said they can help me develop my game. They watched me in EYBL and wanted me to get back to that form. I kinda felt like I was kinda distant from my normal game for a while, so they were talking about me getting back to my old ways. I watched their workout, and it was something different. It was a different aura about it, I was telling my dad this was some place I can get better at. As far as the coaching relationships, I can tell everyone has a good bond, not just coaches but the managers and advisors too. Everybody was just themselves, they were just being themselves throughout the recruitment process. Their play style is guard heavy and Coach Dan Hurley is great. I can tell his energy carries through the whole team.
PI: What is UConn getting in Nahiem Alleyne?
NA: A veteran guy who can score at all three levels, rebound, and defend. I can bring a lot of winning experience.
PI: What are your goals for next season?
NA: Our goal is to win the Big East and a National Championship!
PI: Lastly, do you have any message for the Huskies fans who are thrilled about your commitment?
NA: I’m just ready to get started and meet everybody, fans, coaches, and players. I’m here to work!