Friday, August 28, 2009

The Freshmen

Alex Oriakhi: There will be a lot of pressure on the young power forward to produce right out of the gates. He has all the talent in the world to solidify the position, but with the front court so thinly manned, UConn will need him to be a consistent defender and rebounder from day one. But for UConn to be a true sleeper team, Oriakhi will need to show some offensive prowess.

Ater Majok: Here is another player with all the talent in the world, but will his extended layoff hamper his development. He has been playing as much organized ball as he can find from Springfield Slamm to the Boomer Squad in Australia, but will is his game and ability translate to Big East success?

Darius Smith: He looks to play the role that Walker had last season, the first point guard off the bench and someone to handle the rock to allow Kemba to showcase his offensive skills. He has shown to be a defensive stud in the Pro-Am and has a Dyson-like knack of getting his hands on the ball. Will he be able to handle Calhoun’s style of coaching and the quick yank after a bad play?

Charles Okwandu: He has the size to man the position, but in his limited minutes last year, he didn’t show much. While it is unfair to judge him on last year, it is all we have. He will have a lot of pressure on him, since he is the only true center on the team, besides Mandeldove. If he can remain dependable on defense and focus on rebounding then he should do fine but he is a work in progress.

Jamaal Trice: He looks to be the backup for Dyson. He is a glue-like defender and is lightning quick. With the variety of guards at Calhoun’s disposal, Trice would benefit to have his jumper sinking early. If he can show that versatility and remain a staunch defender then he should find minutes off the bench. He needs to garner Calhoun’s trust early though.

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel: Jamal will have the hardest time finding minutes out of all of the freshmen. Robinson will start and Majok, if eligible, will get the majority of the small forward minutes. But with Robinson a senior and Majok looking to leave as soon as possible to the NBA, a year of tutelage under Calhoun could do wonders for Jamal. He needs to not get frustrated with a limited role and remain a hard worker and the minutes will follow.

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