Monday, October 19, 2009

The 2009-2010 Season is Here

With the Final Four a distant memory, the new Huskies are tightening their sneakers and breaking a sweat for the upcoming campaign, but for the fans it is time to sit back and unravel the gift that is college basketball. There is no knowing that Dyson will return back to form from his injury, or that Robinson can step up in his Senior year to reach the potential that fans have seen in stretches, will Edwards secure a starting role, and how high will the ceiling on Walker’s potential be in what many consider his final year, not to mention what impact will the freshmen have? There are so many questions and storylines that will make this season intriguing.

The Big East has had it's fair share of notable departures that should help UConn through it's own transition. The front runners, Villanova and West Virginia, aren’t locks, not in this league. Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Louisville all have returning starters and solid squads. Up and coming teams like Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Seton Hall will also be in the mix for a possible NCAA berth. It is this turnover and year after year transition that makes the college game so special.

The strength of this year’s team is undoubtedly in the backcourt where it boasts one of the countries best guard combos of Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker. They are both fantastic with the ball in their hands and have the ability to slash and dash defenses. They will also be one of the best defensive guards in the league and the country. They play a physical, in your face, man-to-man defense and love to jump into passing lanes for steals and momentum shattering dunks.

With the backcourt solidly figured out, the frontcourt is a mystery. Sure Robinson is a lock at the small forward position, but the power forward and center positions are total mysteries. It is Edwards job to lose at the power forward spot, but he could be sharing time with Oriakhi and Okwandu in a three man rotation. Okwandu is the biggest mystery of the bunch. His maturity will be a major factor as to how much UConn misses Thabeet and Adrien. Oriakhi will be fine. He has the size and skills to bang against experienced Big East foes.

The other freshmen will all have contributing roles, though it will be interesting to see how Calhoun dishes out the minutes. Darius Smith will back up Walker, Majok for Robinson, Trice for Dyson, and Coombs-McDaniels will be an utility player. He has the ability to slide into both guard positions and play small forward. He could be a James Posey-like player and will be invaluable by the end of the year. With so much responsibility on the shoulders of the freshmen, there is no telling what type of team this will become by March, which is the beauty of this game.

Calhoun’s ability to draw top talent or find under the radar players has left this squad with enough talent to compete for a Big East title. He’ll need to find an identity to this team though. Will they be an inside-outside team like the last squad or a fast break off a miss team of the past, and will he find that elusive sharpshooter? Calhoun will have a solid mix of young and old players that can show the freshmen how he wants things done, which is a luxury that Dyson, Robinson, and Edwards didn’t have. While there will be some bumps in the road, this is going to be a dangerous team come February.

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