Saturday, August 30, 2008

Player Profile: Craig Austrie

The Good: This homegrown guard does a little of everything. He can run the point, play the two guard, come off the bench or start, seal the game from the line, and play solid defense. He’s an asset to a team that can be easily overlooked but his contributions are indispensable. His play during that crucial stretch of conference play, while Dyson and Wiggins were suspended, was stellar. He was able to stretch the defense with his outside shooting and give Price a breather at the point. He has great ball handling and is comfortable driving into the paint. Though he isn’t going to take over the game, his ability to calm the offense down and run the half court sets helped the team solve the droughts that plagued them the year before.

The Bad: He has average speed and doesn’t have a tremendous first step. He also is a streaky shooter and couldn’t buy a basket towards the end of the season. If he wishes to make it to the next level, he needs to be a sharpshooter. He has the body type of a Chauncey Billups, but needs the extra pounds to be able to battle the smaller guards. He doesn’t do one particular thing great but he does a little of everything well.

Looking Ahead: Austrie is determined to go into the season with everything he has. He’s hit the gym hardcore and is looking at ending his UConn career with a bang. His versatility and experience will be important during the rigors of the season. Calhoun has confidence in him to come off the bench or start and that is an invaluable asset to have. Look for him to have a stellar senior season and become an integral part of the backcourt rotation.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ben Gordon strikes gold

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Charlie Villanueva's Charity

Charlie is one of many UConn Huskies that are going all out to give back.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Know your enemy: Villanova

They are going to be a legitimate threat for the top of the Big East standings. They can put pressure on the back court of any team in the country. Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham are the real deal.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meet Jordan Hamilton

Jordan Hamilton is a blue chip 6’7” forward that can play both positions. Graduating in 2009, he has a mid-range game, court awareness, and has a flourishing post game. He tends to get bodied when in the paint, needs work on defense and ball handling but he is always hustling and has a hunger at honing his craft. He does have the incident of hitting a Serbian player and being ejected from USA versus Serbia match. Another knock against him is his schooling. When his grades started nose diving, his father took him out of basketball and had to put in a hardship waver because he wasn't diagnosed for a learning disability when in 8th grade. He has narrowed his schools down to Texas and UConn. He’s an offensive threat right away and only needs the size and defense to be the total package.

Video Posted from Jordan 's Gallery on

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Player Profile: Jerome Dyson

The Good: Jerome had a season to forget but there were still some positives to take away. He still has a tremendous first step and can dribble around his defender with ease. His speed also allows him to play the passing lanes and he has a knack with getting his hands on the ball. He’s a great man to man defender and is learning to fight through screens, rather than sinking off them. His ball handling skills are point guard like and he can dribble into traffic without being out of control. His free throw shooting has improved from a .719 to a .811 and he is comfortable with taking clutch free throws in tight games. There is no questioning his toughness. He lays his body out for loose balls, takes the charge, and attacks the basket with no remorse.

The Bad: It starts with awful decisions off the court. He needs to focus on what is going to take him to the next level, not what gives him immediate satisfaction. Young kids learn from their mistakes and hopefully he did. Dyson needs to find that swagger to his game that he showed in his freshman year, when Calhoun gave him the green light to shoot anywhere and at anytime. He’s been in a horrible shooting slump and it has effected his whole game. Instead of pulling up for a mid-range shot, he dribbles into a charge. He has to have the confidence that the pull up will drop and he doesn’t have it yet. The only cure for confidence is draining a few buckets and that only happens when you shoot. He also looks to take plays off. He doesn’t show his awesome speed on every play. Instead he cherry picks his opportunities.

Next Year: This will be the most pivotal year for Dyson. He’s got all the tools: speed, toughness, athleticism, and ball handling. The only thing he lacks to make it to the next level is consistent shooting. He needs to find that or his minutes will drop with the crowded backcourt at Calhoun’s disposal. Its hard to say which direction Dyson’s season will go, but it can’t get much lower then it was last season.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top Ten College Dunks

Jerome's dunk, voted best UConn play last year, could stack up against the first half of these.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Player Profile: Hasheem Thabeet

The Good: Hasheem had a solid season last year, improving on every stat. The most impressive by far came from the charity stripe, hitting .698 this year rather then the paltry .513 from the year before. 118 of his 346 points came from the stripe and he made teams pay when playing physical against him. He bulked up and wasn’t knocked around as much, holding his ground and pulling down 61 more boards then the year before. His incredible blocking ability let the guards play tight man to man defense, knowing that they had the flyswatter behind them.

Hasheem played with tenacity and emotion and didn’t shy away from contact, which goes against his mild mannered nature. During the middle of the season, he started dunking the ball with authority and attacking the basket, which last year he looked timid and laid the ball up. His soccer days now behind him, his feet are light years ahead of his hands. With his wide girth and fast feet defenders rarely drive on him. He is a raw talent but he has so much potential that people grade the rough draft before seeing the final product.

The Bad: Its obvious that his offensive game is sorely lacking and he is uncomfortable playing with his back to the basket. He hasn’t developed a hook shot nor a way to dribble towards the basket, he lowers the ball and makes him smaller, and hasn’t been able to develop confidence in his shooting ability. While he is a monster blocking the basketball, he wanders away from defenders, leaving them with wide open mid-range shots. He also leaves his man to early to help and creates easy buckets or put backs. He does shy away from fighting for position when rebounding, getting pushed aside by wider but smaller players.

Looking Ahead: While all his negatives are legitimate gripes, he has shown drastic improvement from one year to the next and there is no reason to doubt that he won’t become a 15 points and 10 rebound a game threat. With being more comfortable on and off the court this year, he should find the confidence in his offensive game that he lacked last year. He should be stronger and able to take the beatings they throw at big men like him. He needs to stay consistent from the free throw line, develop a hook shot, and keep his defender within arms length and he’ll have another stellar season.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ray puts on a show at Calhoun's Charity All-Star Game

Ray dishes to Hilton for a monster slam.

Ray finds Ollie on his way to the bucket.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hilton Armstrong highlights

No clue why they chose this music.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Player Profile: Jeff Adrien

The Good: Jeff Adrien came out of the gates slow but hit his double-double stride during the most crucial part of the Big East schedule. He was UConn’s only low post threat and often times saw double and triple teams, since the outside threat was so minimal. Even with that he put up his numbers and improved on several aspects of his game. He added an elbow jumper that he hit with regularity and improved his foot work with his back to the basket. He flashed some athleticism and some power moves that he hadn’t shown before, but his main game is battling under the basket for second chance points and defensive rebounds. He is a solid defender but can be beat off the dribble if playing his man to far out.

There is no denying that he is the anchor of the team and gave them the stability with knowing that you were going to get 14 points and 10 rebounds out of him every night. He’s not going to take over a game but he is also more important than a common role player. He sets the tone emotionally and the team feeds off that tenacity. He is a team leader and can take being pulled and reinserted without anything negative to his game.

The Bad: His passing is atrocious and turns the ball over way to many times. He gets stuck in double teams and tries to throw it into traffic. He had 86 turnovers this year compared to 76 the year before. Also it is a bit disconcerting that his stats haven’t improved all that much from the previous year. He has a two point scoring a game difference this year rather then last but his rebounding went down and his personal fouls went up. His free throw percentage did go up but it is still a paltry .616. He also has a hard time defending players that have an outside shot and gives them a cushion so that they don’t blow by him.

Next Year: Jeff needs to come out of the gates strong, enforce his will in the paint and dominate the boards. With some consistent outside shooting and an improved Thabeet offense, he could see less double teams and take advantage of his strength. I don’t know if he is NBA caliber material but he could be a dominate force like a Chevon Troutman in college. With this being his last year, he’ll be ready to leave it all on the court.