Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ray talks about the title and about next year

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shamon Tooles "Toolzie" has skills off the court

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crowded Backcourt

With Kemba Walker’s recent torrent through the U-18 USA Basketball tournament, being named MVP of the whole thing, but coming up short at the finals, it will be interesting to see where he fits in with the old crop of guards at UConn. Will Dyson break out of his disastrous last season and can the All-American Price bounce back without a glitch with his knee injury? There is no denying that Kemba is coming into this season playing some great basketball. He excelled in his final tournament while in high school and outshined every other player in the world in the under-18 tournament.

The interesting thing to watch will be how Calhoun plays with the roster. Imagine this lineup: Price, Dyson, Kemba, Adrien, and Thabeet. Without Robinson, it leaves the team with no veteran small forward. Calhoun will miss his tenacity and athleticism around the rim. But it leaves the door wide open for the three guard attack. Bigger teams will crash the boards and Calhoun will need Ater and Miles to battle around the rim.

Who knows how long UConn will have Walker on this team? Some say one or two years and with Price leaving after this season, the window for a championship will be now. So Calhoun will need to figure out the rotation quickly and have them playing solidly at the end of the season instead of coming out flat in both tournaments. With success depending on your backcourt, there is no team as stacked as UConn in this department. It will boil down to how Kemba can meld into this unit and remain the leader he is. Time will only tell and for Price, Adrien, Thabeet, and Austrie time is running out.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Player Profile: A.J. Price

Looking Back: A.J. Price’s basketball life at UConn could give Frank Kafka’s Metamorphosis a run for its money. From a near death hospitalization, to getting caught stealing, then getting onto the court for the first time and playing sub-par basketball, to coming out of the gates as an All-American. I didn’t see it and neither did Calhoun, calling him soft and the second best point guard on the team. But A.J. proved everyone wrong. He improved in just about every category that matters to a point guard. His points, assists to turnover, field goal percentage, steals, free throws, and overall command of the offense all increased. And most importantly his leadership, which overcame the draughts that plagued them last year.

The game slowed down for him and he was able to set the table for his teammates. He had 2.2 more assists this past year then the prior one. His shooting also has come a long way. He is a threat from the outside, has a pretty jumper and was able to get into the lane and score with floaters. During that crucial 10 game win streak that catapulted UConn into the dance, A.J. was the leading scorer of 5 of those games. Without him this team would’ve been mired in the middle of the pack last year.

The Knock: Health. He has all the skills to make it at the next level. But the big question now is his durability. Can he improve on his stellar numbers from last year after the rehab? If anyone can do it, it’ll be A.J. He’s been through it all here. Well, not it all. This team will be locked and loaded for a nice run through the tournament and it falls on Price’s shoulder. Great point guards are the trump card in college basketball.

Looking Forward: If A.J. can improve on last seasons stats then this team is going deep into the tournament. If there is any part of his game that he needs be more consistent it would be his shot and taking a better shot selection. Its hard to nitpick an All-American. All eyes and scouts will be watching him this year. It is an important upcoming year for him and he only sniffed the postseason last season, this year he wants a big chunk.

Saturday, July 5, 2008