Friday, July 31, 2009

Player Profile: Stanley Robinson

Looking Back: Stanley Robinson had a major adjustment last season with coming into a team halfway through the season. Not only did he have to get into game shape, but he also didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry of a team that was having success. Without Ater Majok last year, Stanley was the only legitimate wing player on the team and played the role well, making an impact in his first game back. He did what he knew best, digging his nose into the paint for the hustle boards and putbacks. While he didn’t start right away, he quickly gained the starting job and helped solidify the small forward position. He ended the season with some NBA draft buzz, but did the wise thing and opted to return for his senior season.

The Good: Robinson has tremendous leaping ability and can finish plays off with authority. He is a hustler, sticking his nose into the paint and isn’t afraid to get knocked around. He is a physical rebounder, offensively and defensively. He runs the floor well, though he is around the rim so much that he doesn’t have the opportunities to show his rim rattling hops in the open court like the guards do. He is a fantastic defender and shot blocker. His quick feet and athleticism keeps his opponents in front of him.

The Bad: He hasn’t been able to consistently knock down shots, be it mid-ranged or from distance. He is a streaky shooter when they do drop but when he clanks a couple, he tends to give up and take the ball to the hoop. If he isn’t getting rebounds, he tends to become quiet offensively and doesn’t demand the basketball. He doesn’t have a post game yet and likes to dribble drive to create shots.

Looking Ahead: Stanley will be an integral part of the offense next season and a lot of the Huskies success will ride on his ability to score points. He will need to keep opponents honest with his jumper and not shy away from it if it isn’t dropping. He will have to become a leader on the team and lead by example on and off the court. If he can find that elusive jumper and remain a consistent rebounder then he should have an excellent season and look to take the next step in his career.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A.J. Price at Charity Pickup Game

Price's team, white, won by thirty points.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Player Profile: Jerome Dyson

Looking Back: Jerome Dyson will have to go through something he has never had to go through, battling back from a season ending injury. It was a shame that he went down in the first Syracuse match-up because he was becoming a significant threat offensively and was the team’s best on the ball defender. There is no telling where this year’s team will reach, but for him to go down on such a senior laden team that went so deep into the tournament was a shame. He had sweated and bled with that squad and for him to have to watch the magnificent run from the sidelines must have been excruciating.

The Good: Dyson is most deadly in open space and is the definition of a warrior. He attacks the basket with no regard for his body and has incredible athletic ability around the rim. His defense is stellar and has quick hands to be able to get steals. Even with missing the tail end of the season, he still led his teams in steals. He fights hard through screens and plays an in-your-face man-to-man defense that not even Walker can achieve. He has a tremendous first step and if his opponents body up to him, he has a first step that is deceptive.

The Bad: He has never been comfortable with his outside shot, though he has shown the ability to drain from deep. His shot is streaky and once he clanks a few, he doesn’t go back to it. He tends to attack the basket to much and creates offensive turnovers in traffic. While he looks to be in great shape, there is still that question as to how much punishment his body will be able to handle.

Looking ahead: He has never been a floor leader, but this is his team now. With the departure of most of the scoring, Jerome will have to shoulder a lot of the offensive burden. It will be interesting to see how he handles it and how quickly he can get back from his injury. The only thing missing from his ability to make it to the next level is his jumper. If he can be consistent from there then he should have a great year and a great career at the next level.

Monday, July 20, 2009

In Defense of Thabeet

They’ve called him a dud, overrated, and even brought out the U-G-L-Y chant, but what people don’t understand is that Thabeet is a game changer. Sure he’s blown dunks and hasn’t been blocking the basketball like he did in college, but he’s getting his feet and game used to the 3-second rule and NBA style of play. He’s said that he hasn’t even touched his defensive game yet in practice and has focused solely on his offensive.

So Memphis fans who haven’t seen much of Thabeet, here is what you are getting. A player that can anchor a defense: He has the knack of playing his man but protecting the weak side with his help defense. A soft touch: He is going to be an excellent free throw shooter in his NBA career. Every year he has improved from the stripe and there is no reason why that won’t improve. He is also developing an 15-foot jumper that will space out the floor and make the lanes necessary for your talented wings and guards.

Thabeet’s contributions aren’t visible in the stat sheets. They are seen in low percentage floaters and off balanced jumpers. They are seen in dishes out of the paint and over the backs. It is amazing to see the dud status placed on Hasheem before he gets himself situated in a legitimate defensive scheme. There is little to none defense played in the Summer League and with teams thrown together to play in a handful of games, there is no chemistry to allow Thabeet to showcase his true skills.

Now there are many legitimate gripes that Thabeet most work on other then his anemic offense. He must rebound with more authority and limit his turnovers, but a healthy dose of perspective needs to be applied when looking at Thabeet’s summer league debut. He’s not going to 'Wow' the league in year one, but with experience, he will turn into a top five NBA center. Just hold off on your dud classification before he plays in a real game.

Thabeet Summer League Interview

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Remember the name: Doron Lamb

Doron Lamb is a 6’5”, 190 pound, shooting guard from Brooklyn, New York. He is as gifted an offensive player coming out of the 2010 class and has a variety of ways to score. His strength is in his mid-ranged game, but has a streaky outside shot. He doesn’t have a blazing first step but has a knack for getting into the paint and to the rim. He pushes the tempo and has the strength and athleticism to finish plays off around the basket. He isn’t a lock down defender and tends to get beat on drives and loses sight of the ball. Another aspect that makes him a great player is that he is a great student of the game and has a thirst to get better on all aspects of his game. He has the chance to go to any school that he wants to with Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisville, and UConn all on his radar.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Teaming up with Sports Blog Net is teaming with Sports Blog Net. They are an up and coming sports blog community that brings all of us bloggers together under one net. There are a number of NCAA blogs already in the network, but we will be the first Big East blog to join. Come by and check out the plethora of bloggers that call home. From hockey, NFL, Baseball to NCAA there is a wealth of talent here. Nothing on this site will change and you will still get your UConn Huskies fix each and every day. Thanks for your support and feel free to email me with questions and suggestions that will enhance this website.

Inside the draft with Hasheem Thabeet

Friday, July 3, 2009

Looking Back: UConn Highlights of 2009 Final Four

Hasheem Thabeet

Jeff Adrien

A.J. Price

Stanley Robinson

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meet Darius Smith

Darius Smith, a 6-foot-2 guard, can play both point and two-guard. He excels on using his length to get steals, has excellent athleticism, and has an ability to create his own shot. He was first-team All-State averaging 23 points, 7 boards, 6 assists, and 7 steals a game. He says, “I pride myself on doing it at both ends of the court…UConn’s style of play is my style--up and down the court….I like the program and get along real well with the coaching staff. I will be a true point guard there.” He has been known to not take well to authority, which will be tested by Calhoun’s abrupt style of coaching. It will be interesting to see how he handles Calhoun’s ‘tough love’. He also needs to work on his outside shooting and his court vision. Though he said, “I really worked on my shot and it became a threat.” His addition will add much needed depth to the backcourt, but basketball isn’t all that he is about. “Making the NBA is one thing but architecture is something I want to do.” Sounds like a grounded young man.

Ben Gordon a top free agent