Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fan View of Ray Allen's Three then foul

2009 Season Highlights

Armstrong gets knocked out of the playoffs

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ray Allen is Magnetized

Ray Allen blows out Ben Gordon's Bulls

Remember the name: Maurice Harkless

He's a sophomore but is already garnering offers from UConn, West Virginia, Hofstra, Duquense, and Norfolk State. He's thin of frame and has developed an outside shot. He is a talented offensive rebounder and once he gets bigger, he will finish stronger around the rim.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The UConn Duel at the Garden

It was epic, a showdown of two of UConn’s best shooting guards that couldn’t have been scripted any better. Ben Gordon and Ray Allen both having quiet games in their previous match-up put on a show for the ages, knocking down gigantic shot after gigantic shot. They combined for 72 points, 23 out of 42 from the floor, 12 for 21 from three, and 14 for 15 from the line. This game put UConn basketball into another stratosphere. Sure their has been a great rivalry with Allen and Hamilton, but never has their been an offensive outburst of UConn Alumni in a playoff atmosphere where so much was on the line. Gordon and the Bulls smelled blood in the water, possibly knocking the defending champs into an improbable 0 and 2 start in a best of seven series, but Ray wasn’t going out without a fight.

Ben was simply amazing, hitting the silky smooth three ball, driving to the lane and knocking down jump shots, and getting to the line. Ray looked to be having another sub-par game, only having 2 points in the first half, but then he attacked the basket and got smacked by Noah. Sinking those free throws and having a bit of anger for motivation, he ran around double and triple screens and began hitting shots. Back and forth, the UConn shooting guards traded baskets. It was going to come down to the player who had the ball last and the smell of burnt clutch lingered in the building after Allen hit the final shot that left the Bulls with no time to get the ball up the court and back into Gordon’s hands.

For a UConn fan, it doesn’t get any better then this. Being able to see two of your programs elite players, at the same position, at different eras, being able to play at their best against each other at both ends of the floor is simply phenomenal. It has placed UConn basketball this year into a whole new standard and with a Final Four under their belt, it has been set pretty high.

Highlights from the Allen and Gordon Duel

Gordon and Allen talk about their performance in Game Two

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ray Allen has Faith

UConn Represents in NBA Playoffs

While UConn has a plethora of NBA stars, only four have survived the grueling regular season to make it into the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Caron Butler, Rudy Gay, Josh Boone, and Emeka Okafor have had solid seasons but their teams didn’t have enough to break through the middle of the pack. Husky Nation will be fully represented early in the playoffs with Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen, and Ben Gordon manning their squads in the East and Hilton Armstrong the sole representative in the West.

Ray Allen has been solid all season and unlike last year where he was in a horrible shooting slump entering the playoffs and quietly battling an injury, he is riding a spectacular year where his numbers remained consistent throughout. He is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 18.2 points a game, and is hitting .409 from deep. He has solidified himself as one of the best shooters of all time and will be beside Calhoun in the Hall of Fame. He’ll need to remain effective from deep and be able to get to the line where he shoots a deadly .952 but without K.G. his road to another championship will be a challenge.

Ben Gordon had a tumultuous preseason in which he signed very late, fighting over money that the Bulls didn’t think he was worth. In the end Gordon had the last laugh, leading the Bulls in scoring at 20.7 a game. He earned a huge contract with his play this year, even with his public spat with his new coach. Gordon will have a tough match-up on his hands with facing the defending champs, and he needs to be lights out to give his team a chance.

Rip Hamilton has been through everything this year from injuries to losing his starting job to Allen Iverson, but by the end of the regular season it was obvious that his role in the starting lineup was invaluable and made the Pistons a much dangerous team. He led his team in scoring at 18.3 points a game, but most of his intangibles go beyond the stat sheets. He is a fantastic man-to-man defender. Even with Detroit’s resurgent play, they are going up against the best team in basketball in the Cavaliers. They’ll need a little luck on their side to pull this Mecca of an upset.

Hilton Armstrong is the only Husky in the playoffs that isn’t in the starting lineup but he has solidified a role off the bench. He isn’t an offensive threat to say the least, scoring double figures only 9 times all season, but he gives the Hornets size and defense off the bench, and his rebounding is getting better. While New Orleans is a young and upcoming team, they will have to beat the Denver Nuggets, which wouldn’t be a shocker even if they are a two seed. But don’t expect much from Armstrong but a sprinkling of minutes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

UConn Play of the Year Award

A. Stanley Robinson Dunk then Block

B. Thabeet with All Ball

C. Robinson with a Windmill Dunk

D. Price Ties Game with a Three

E. Price Breaks McNeal's Ankle and Pops Shot

F. Dyson Steals then Power Slams

G. Edwards Dunks All Over Harangody

H. Thabeet's Meeting at the Summit

Throwing some love to the Women's side: Renee Montgomery

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Five Reasons Why Sticks Should Stay

1. Jump shot. Robinson showed a great touch from outside throughout his Sophomore year, but he struggled mightily from deep when he returned in his Junior year. He needs to have an outside game to flourish on the next level and another year will give him that much needed confidence that he didn’t have this past season.

2. Money. If he is a top ten pick then he should leave. More then likely he will be an end of the first round or second round pick and the money drops drastically there. If he wants to land that big time deal then he needs to stay another year and solidify himself as a big time player.

3. Loyalty. This might be selfish on the team’s part, but Calhoun showed a tremendous amount of loyalty with Robinson. Sure he paid his own way back onto the team, but Calhoun gave him his starting job right away. Leaving this team now would send them back into a tailspin like that of a few years ago.

4. Playing Time. It depends on where he goes, but Stanley would ride the pine while making a paycheck and it could ultimately hurt his game. If he stayed, he would benefit from extended minutes and game time action that is invaluable when you aren’t a finished product yet.

5. Consistency. Sticks is such a freakish athlete that the NBA is more then a lock for his future, but he lacks the game to game reliability that can transfer to the next level. He needs to show the scouts that he is a double-double threat and can score reliably 15 points in a game.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tattered Jerseys, Broken Hearts, and Great Memories

This one was hard to swallow. Sure we can point to all the flaws this team has shown throughout the season from free throw shooting, outside shooting, turnovers, and getting burned in transition, but if we were told that this team would be in the Final Four at the beginning of the year, we would all take that. This team put themselves in position to seize a championship and it came up short, but they’ve proved to the nation that UConn basketball is back. You can’t question their effort, hustle, and talent after the game. This senior laden team had all the chips stacked against them before they even stepped onto the greatest partisan court ever in the history of college basketball and laid it all out, coming up short in a miraculous comeback. Be proud, keep your head up, and give this team a standing ovation. They earned every bit of it.

A.J. Price had a great year. He was the heart and soul of the offense, becoming the only outside threat, play caller, and clutch performer. His performance in the Gonzaga game, and the first several rounds gave UConn the confidence that propelled them into the Final Four. He has been through so much during his time at UConn and his perseverance on and off the court will take him to wherever he wants his life to go.

Craig Austrie has always been reserved and did whatever the team needed him to do. His ability to come off the bench, start, knock down clutch free throws, hit the outside shot, and play solid man-to-man defense is something you can’t find easily. His contributions sometimes go under the radar, but without his steadiness on the court, this team wouldn’t have been in the Final Four.

The first time I saw Jeff Adrien play, he was my kind of player, pure hustle. He came onto a team full of NBA caliber stars and dug his nose into everything. He has emerged into one of UConn’s greatest players and has developed every year. His mid-ranged game became consistent and he has been the most reliable player statistically throughout his career.

Hasheem Thabeet improved more than any other player on the team and possibly the country. He developed an ability to attack the rim with his back to the basket, became a solid rebounder, played better in the man-to-man defensive concept, and became proficient from the line. While he still isn’t a finished project, his future is extremely bright and we are all blessed to have him wear the UConn jersey.

Robinson has arrived. His athleticism is off the charts and he has started to channel it into productiveness on the court. His shot has started to drop and he has found a dribble-drive to his game. While his rebounding and put backs were always there, he has been especially deadly around the rim with the ball.

Walker has blossomed into a primetime player throughout the season. While he would like to forget his last game, we sometimes forget he is just a freshman. He has a tremendous burst of speed and an ability to control the ball while at light speed.

Edwards shouldered a lot of the load coming off the bench, entering for both Thabeet and Adrien. He played larger and stronger centers and more athletic power forwards, but Gavin held his own. He has shown an above the rim game, solid hands in rebounding, and an ability to play with his back to the basket.

Donnell Beverly was played sparingly but emerged as the first guard off the bench. He played solid on the defensive end but didn’t flash much offensively.

Scottie Haralson began to show his outside ability late in the season, but never gained Calhoun’s trust to warrant extended minutes, even during Austrie’s long draught from the outside. He really got under Calhoun’s skin in the Tournament when taking a shot in the final seconds of a blowout and he rode the pine the rest of the year.

It was a recipe for disaster, letting teams have 15 to 20 more shots then you in every game and it finally caught up with Connecticut. Turnovers and poor transition defense is a deadly combination then add in poor free throw shooting and it was to much to overcome. By the end of the Tournament there will be 63 broken hearts and one champion. While the loss stings, it shouldn’t deter from the accomplishments of the team and their season as a whole. This team will hang another banner, though not the one they wanted, into the rafters and leave their legacy in the annals of Connecticut basketball. Thank you for the great year.

The Aftermath: UConn Versus MSU Highlights

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Robinson, Calhoun, and The Talking Heads

Stanley Robinson

This is our quality local news.

Calhoun and Izzo

ESPN Talking Heads give their predictions

NECN Chimes In

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hype Machine: Final Four

Promo Video for Final Four

Izzo on his team

Security will be tight

New York Times Final Four Preview

UConn is on their way

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

UConn prepare for Final Four


I can’t remember another March like the one UConn had. They entered the month on a three game winning streak and then faced Pittsburgh in the regular season finale. They were able to contain Blair, but had no answer for Sam Young, who torched the Huskies.

They then entered the Big East Tournament against the upstart Orange and played what many fans considered the best game ever played. It had all the drama from a near buzzer beater that was overturned, to shot after shot after shot after shot that sent the game into 6 dramatic overtimes. All the stars shined and it came down to walk-ons and bench players to settle the game. But in the end UConn didn’t make their free throws to seal the deal and they lost.

No one knew what to expect from this team come NCAA tournament time. Many pundits had them as a two-seed, but they were awarded a top seed. That didn’t stop the talking heads from saying that they were the worst one-seed and the first to get ousted. Then Yahoo spoiled everything and reported on a possible agent-recruiting violation. It looked like the chips were stacked against this team. It didn’t matter and they came out like gangbusters, blowing away Chattanooga. Price was playing like a man possessed and Adrien hit shot after shot from the elbow to blow Texas A&M out of the water.

And just like everyone planned against Purdue, Craig Austrie found his shot and gave UConn the much needed jolt when Price and Adrien went cold offensively. Then in the Elite Eight the super freshman, Kemba Walker, was able to flash his speed and get to the rim to help stave off a very athletic Missouri team and send Connecticut to the Final Four.

The month of March has seen Robinson’s emergence as an offensive threat and the ability of this team to have a multitude of scorers that share the burden. The constant has been Thabeet’s and Adrien’s dirty work on the boards. Walker has shown to be a star, putting his best performance on the biggest of stages. March also has seen Austrie play his best ball of the year at the right time. It has all added up to a very well rounded and impressive squad. A team, no matter what happens in April, that we can all be proud of.