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.

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