Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A look at Ater Majok

It is not the best footage but you get a feel for his size, length, and athleticism.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Villanueva inspires children with alopecia

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thabeet staying

Thabeet has decided to stay put and try to make a run at a national championship next year. Saying, “As a team, we took a step in the right direction this year, but I look forward to us working together to win a Big East Championship and making a run at a national championship. I really enjoy being here, getting a great education and spending time with my friends and teammates.”

This puts UConn in a commanding position with post presence with Thabeet and the new acquisition of Okwandu. It is going to be interesting to see how Gavin and Mandeldove’s minutes play out next year. UConn has a great shot of being the best shot blocking team in the college basketball again. With another off season of post camps, he should be more comfortable with his back to the basket. Also a hook shot would be a top priority to add to his fledgling offensive arsenal. In this era of players leaving early, it is a great sight to see someone stick around and work on his craft.

The Mask in the zone in game two versus the 76ers

Rip has mastered the art of the mid-range jumper. He is money coming off the screen and can take his man off the dribble. Plus he is a great defender.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jeff Adrien

Jeff had a solid year. He was a rock in the paint and was UConn's only post threat. Rebounding with tenacity, he plays an old school type of game.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kelly is leaving

The writing had been on the wall for some time now for Kelly. He had potential coming into this year but could never solidify his role on the team. He has great hands and footwork to become a legitimate post player but never had confidence to show his stuff in games. He fell down the depth chart behind Gavin and was fighting for minutes with Mandeldove. There were enough flashes of talent during stretches where you thought he was turning his game around and then he would disappear for a few games. Kelly needs to find a team that will let him learn on the job and not get yanked for making a poor decision. He has all the tools to become a player at any level and needs to find the right spot for his growth.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doug Wiggins: Sixth Man of the Year Award

Doug Wiggins supplanted himself as the best bench player even though he missed some games and was voted by fans as the Sixth Man of the Year Award winner. Its a shame that he is leaving and we wish him the best of luck where ever he goes. Thanks for everything.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Meet Charles Okwandu

Charles Okwandu has committed to UConn. His story is very similar to Thabeet’s. He played soccer at a young age, and switched over to basketball when he out grew the sport. He started playing in the Basketball Without Borders program, that Thabeet is involved with, and found his way to the States. Charles is still a raw talent, like Thabeet, but has all the tools. He has size, ball skills, vision, and athleticism. This is what his coach, Drew Kelly, said, “For Charles, right now, the sky's the limit. He's just scratching the surface.” Calhoun has the track record of taking raw talent and molding it into NBA ready material.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wiggins Leaving

Doug Wiggins had a bumpy ride during his two years at UConn. He was a little overwhelmed during his first year and struggled shooting, dribbling, and passing. During this season, Wiggins improved in all areas, but never could find the consistency that Calhoun wanted. No one can knock his effort while on the court, but off is another story.

What this is all about is that if Wiggins wants to play for money, he needs to become a point guard, and he isn’t going to do that here. There is no denying that Wiggins outplayed his counterpart Dyson this year and supplanted himself as the best bench player, but he could never find a consistent offense to take over the starting job. He has a chance to do it, but he needs to be able to remain in control while playing at that speed, shoot consistently from three, and run the break. He just finds himself a 2-guard stuck in a point guard’s body.

He’ll find a team that will give him the minutes to develop the skills he needs, and the farther away from Hartford the better. With a clean slate and some focus, he will do fine. It is a shame what has happened to Marcus Johnson and Wiggins, but especially for Johnson, who lost a whole year. Is Calhoun to blame, the new college basketball environment where freshmen and sophomores leave, or is it the player’s talent? There really isn’t a clear cut answer, and it makes it all the worse when you're dealing with someone’s dream.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hasheem Thabeet: Most Improved Player Award

Hasheem Thabeet made drastic improvements in all aspects of his game. His free throw shooting, rebounding, block shots, finishing plays, and post moves were all improved over last year. He is not a finished project yet, but if he continues to improve at this pace, he will become a dominating force at the next level.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meet Scottie Haralson

Scottie Haralson is a talented shooter and gave the pups a look at what to expect when dousing them with the three ball during a pickup game at Guyer Gym. He is a quiet leader and demands the best from players around him without being vocal. He has a good head on his shoulders and works hard on and off the court. Saying, "Basketball is a tool to get in school free, so I feel like I need to stay focused on my education. My parents have stressed that to me ever since I was little. They told me if I wanted to play, I had to get my books first." He molds himself around Rashad’s game and has the character makeup to make it to the next level. His hard work is evident when he changed his game from a low-post forward to a jump-shooting guard, by living in the gym for the summer. With this coming up roster being filled with juniors and seniors, the new face of the franchise is being reborn with Kemba and Scottie.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Final Grades

A.J. Price. A-. He had a great season, which ended badly. He came out of his shell and found his game, but he struggled down the stretch. He flourishes against man to man defenses, but has yet to figure out the zone. Where would this team be without him though?

Jeff Adrien A-. Adrien had a solid year. Coming out of the box slow, he hit his double-double stride through the middle of the year. He had to defend bigger and quicker offensive players, and came to play. He was the heart and sole of the defense. He was the only legitimate low post threat all year and still produced, but had trouble figuring out the double team.

Hasheem Thabeet. B. He has improved leaps and bounds from last year. Yeah, you know he was going to block the hell out of the ball, but his improvement at the free throw line, rebounding, finishing plays, and playing with passion is impressive. One word for him, potential. He needs to develop some go to moves in the post. He seems to be thinking to much, instead of reacting.

Stanley Robinson. B. Unlike his disastrous last year, Stanley has been able to consistently place his stamp on a game. Long gone are the invisible man days. He rebounds with tenacity, and has flourished his outside game. He is more active defensively, but fouls way to much.

Craig Austrie. B-. Credit goes to Austrie for playing out of position, and doing it well, but down the stretch his shot wasn’t there, hitting 5 of 16. He is mostly a three point shooter and if he is clanking those, his game isn’t the same. He is a clutch free throw shooter and an asset, but he needs to be more consistent from deep.

Doug Wiggins. C. Where there is smoke there is fire. Wiggins has improved in dribbling and creating havoc on defense but his shooting is to streaky. There are stretches where he hesitates, and passes up good looks. He also dribbles into trouble.

Gavin Edwards. B. He has securely locked down a position on the team. He has good footwork, blocks shots, and can hit an outside shot. He needs to be a solid rebounder.

Jerome Dyson. D. The game really is 90% mental. Jerome could not find his stroke all year and made some horrible mental judgments. There is no denying his skills, and tenacity, but he couldn’t find his game. He drove when he should have pulled up, passed the ball when he should have drove, or didn’t fight through a screen. This next year will be make or break for Dyson.

Jonathan Mandeldove. C. He played in two minute spurts, but showed some positives. He needs to bulk up and be able to push his weight around.

Curtis Kelly. D. I don’t know what happened to Kelly during the middle of the season. His minutes began to get gobbled up by Gavin and Mandeldove. Then his season came to an abrupt end on an injury. He has been in a funk for awhile and is lacking in confidence. He has all the skills to become a player, but hasn’t been able to put it together.

Donnell Beverly. C+. He did what he had to do. He didn't turn the ball over, played under control when on the court, and made some outside shots. He just hasn't had the minutes to show his stuff.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A.J. Price MVP Award

A.J. Price had a fantastic year and deserves The Player of the Year Award. In early preseason Calhoun jumped all over Price, even claiming that he was the second best point guard on the team, and a little soft, but by the end of the season, A.J. proved everyone wrong. Coming out of nowhere, he supplanted himself as the premiere point guard in the Big East and all of the NCAA. He improved drastically in all areas, assists to turnovers, points per game (291 last year and 478 this year), three point shooting, and leadership. It was a shame that his season was cut short on a freakish play.

Rudy with impossible angle