Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Ranking the Returning Huskies
1. Kemba Walker. This is the most obvious one to rank. He is the only legitimate scorer and was the leader of the team at the end of last season. He’ll need to step up his game, especially against the zone, and be able to make good decisions when double teamed, because he’ll see plenty of it until someone else steps up. He’ll also need to knock down the jumper and finish plays around the rim, since points will be at a premium to start the season. He’s the sole leader of the team and he’ll need to lead this team early and often.
2. Alex Oriakhi. He didn’t have the year that he wanted, but he has the body to be a bruiser in the Big East. He should be bigger and more comfortable with the banging inside. He needs to become a rebounding beast, not worry to much about post play, and get his points on hustle plays around the rim. The post game will come in time, but with his size and strength, he should be flirting with a double-double in every game next year.
3. Jamal Coombs-McDaniel. He had a rough time shooting the ball and looking for his offense on a team filled with seniors, but he will get his chance to have a bigger impact on the game this season. He has a nice stroke and also isn’t afraid to attack the glass, but he is far from polished. He needs to work on using the dribble to open his shooting hand and using the pick and roll more. He can’t remain a one-dimensional player, because this team needs production from his position.
4. Ater Majok. For many fans, Majok was a disappointment last year. He came in with high praise from Calhoun, but he never achieved a quarter of it. He was in constant foul trouble and would take ill-advised shots which had him in Calhoun’s doghouse, but he did show flashes of the hype. He has a soft touch from the line which shows that he can develop a mid-ranged game, he causes havoc on defense, and hustles. If he can defend without fouling, he should be a shot blocking force that UConn needs.
5. Donnell Beverly. He knew his role last year, take over the point, don’t look for your shot unless the shot clock was winding down, play solid defense, and don’t turn the ball over. But he is going to need to contribute more this upcoming season. The team is going to need some offensive points from him with the freshmen being a total unknown. He’ll be one of the few leaders out there and will hope to have a Gavin Edwards type season, where he jumps up his productivity with more playing time.
6. Charles Okwandu. He is a hustle machine but he does everything that Majok can do but is less athletic, which slides him down the depth chart. It is his last season and he still has a ton of growth left, which isn’t good at all. He should get the minutes to show what he can do, but he is running out of time.
7. Jonathan Mandeldove. He red-shirted last year and looks to be playing the same amount of minutes. He doesn’t have a ton of on the court experience but does have the practice hours that could make him a valuable asset if there is an injury.