Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hilton Armstrong on how he became a Wizard

Friday, July 30, 2010

Khalid El-Amin's Pro-Am Game

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top Five Reasons Why UConn Could Be Better

1. Kemba Walker: He is now the leader of this team, which he had to defer to others in his previous two seasons. Now he owns this team and they’ll look to him for leadership. He grasped the reins toward the end of the season and the team really responded, playing their best ball of the year. Last season didn’t sit well with Walker and he is determined to leave his college career as a winner. Kemba is proving himself as one of the best point guards in the country, earning a spot on the USA Basketball team.

2. Size plus experience: Majok, Oriakhi, and Okwandu all had poor seasons, but it truly was learning on the fly. They’ll be adjusted to Calhoun’s style and should all be much more improved. There is no denying that this team will have enough length to cause any team problems. They just need to execute. You can also throw in the freshmen in Bradley, and Wolf into the mix and this team is even heavier on the size.

3. Perimeter shooting: This has been the Achilles heal of all Calhoun teams since Rashad Anderson left. They have plenty of shooting potential freshmen and Coombs-McDaniel, Walker, and Beverly should be able to show more. It can’t be worse then last years, could it? Calhoun has also recruited players that have proven to be great game time perimeter shooters in Napier and Giffey. They should provide the team instant help and Kemba knows that if he can add a consistent perimeter game, his stock will rise drastically in the draft.

4. The Big East: It will not have a clear cut powerhouse with Pittsburgh on top, but teams have lost a great deal of talent. UConn sits in the middle of the pack right now, but the conference is wide open and there is enough talent and experience on this team to end up on top. UConn is prime to have a season like Syracuse of last year, where they were totally off the radar and they surged up the polls.

5. The Freshmen. Sure it was disappointing not to land a big named blue chip player, but the word coming out of the early pick-up games is that Napier and Smith are the real deal. There are some long term projects in Olander and Bradley but this crop of freshmen look to be legitimate scorers, which will be a necessity this coming up season. But like all freshmen, you never know what you are going to get, which is what makes college sports so intriguing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

UConn Summer League Observations

Stanley Robinson:
He didn’t force the action when the ball rolled his way and did what he knew he could do which was defend and rebound. There were a few fast break opportunities that showcased his leaping ability, but his jumper was just like it always was, stiff with no arch. He had some nice defensive plays, rising up for a monster block and snagging rebounds at its highest point, but he didn’t wow anyone and needs to continue to work hard during training camp.

Jeff Adrien: He bulked up and looked like a man among boys out there. There were stretches of ballgames where he dominated the boards and showed some good footwork around the basket, but there were also stretches where he had little to no impact. He really struggled with his passing, making several ill-advised turnovers. It was a good sign to see him get another opportunity with Memphis after his stint with the Orlando and should bode well for him. Players like Blair, Davis, and Harangody are paving the way for smaller and less athletic power forwards like Adrien to make an impact at the next level. It will be interesting to see if a team takes a chance on Adrien. We are all a rooting for him.

Jerome Dyson: He didn’t get much action early on in Summer League, but he made use out of it, showing his improved outside touch. When he did get extensive minutes, he played well. He was able to get into the lane and get to the line, but there wasn’t an eye opening play, which he might of needed to turn the heads of some General Managers. He struggled at the free throw line but took good care of the ball and played great defense. The Cavaliers played him at the point and at the shooting guard. He handled the transition well, not forcing the action or jacking up poor shots. He didn’t put enough on tape in the Summer League alone to warrant a NBA contract, but he still has a chance to make an NBA training camp.

Hasheem Thabeet: Thabeet looked bigger and more physical then at any other time in his brief basketball career. He was fighting off double-teams for rebounds and blocking shots at an incredible clip, especially against the D-League Select squad. He still didn’t show a back to the basket game that he needs to develop to become a legitimate starter, but he put his stamp on games and shined in major stretches of the game. He should become a much more useful piece off the Memphis bench, which isn’t what 2nd picks in the draft should be, but if he continues to get better, which he has in every one of his seasons, then he should become one of the dominate big men in the league down the road.

Gavin Edwards: He didn't have the summer league that he wanted. He didn't show much on the offensive end and his hands once again became a liability. He had several balls slip right through his grasps that could have easily been dunks. There is no denying that he has the desire and hustle, shown by him leaping into the stands for a loose ball, but it probably won't be enough to earn him a roster spot. More then likely, he will have to take a year and play overseas. He needs to bulk up even more and get comfortable banging against bigger foes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Player Profile: Alex Oriakhi

Looking Back: Alex Oriakhi had a tough time adjusting to Big East play. He would be out of position on numerous occasions and was foul prone, never getting into any type of flow. He was an offensive liability with most of his scoring coming five feet from the basket. Even with all that, he was UConn’s best rebounder. There was a lot of pressure put on his shoulders with the exodus of Thabeet and Adrien and with little time for adjustment, he stumbled.

The Good: He has the ability to be a big time bruiser. He has a frame that can handle a two hundred-plus weight and still be nimble enough for a post game. While he fouled a lot when he is playing defense, he did a solid job. His strength is an asset in the rebounding department and once he gets his hands on the ball, it is secured. Even with his physical style of play , he is still a good shot blocker.

The Bad: He is lacking an offensive game and looked uncomfortable with his back to the basket. His free throw shooting wasn’t great, and he fouled early and often. For being a solid rebounder, he did give up far too many offensive boards by not blocking out and ball watching. He also needs to demand the ball in the post and fight harder on setting up position and getting back on defense. He was beat down the floor on numerous occasions last season.

Looking Ahead: Oriakhi should be much better in all areas. He should be bigger and better adjusted to the rigors of Big East play. He still has a ton of talent that made him a McDonald’s All-American. He just has to put it all together and get confidence. With Edwards gone, much of the responsibility for the pick and roll offense will be on his shoulders and he will need to be effective to let the guards have opportunities. He should not only be one of the most improved players on the team, but also in the conference.

(Video has swears in it)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Player Profile: Jamal Coombs-McDaniel

Looking Back: Coombs-McDaniel had a tough time finding his rhythm to his offense with a team full of established players. He would hesitate or take ill-advised shots, and didn’t find his stroke until the middle of the conference schedule. He does have a nice shot, is solid from the line but could improve there, isn’t afraid to take it to the rim, and plays solid defense. He was at times shy of shooting the ball after a miss and disappeared from key stretches of ballgames.

The Good: He has a pretty jumper which should only get better with another year under his belt. He also has a deceptive first step, which isn’t lightning fast, but has allowed him to get to the rim if he is being pressed. Calhoun has shown trust in him and it has to do with his defense. He isn’t flashy but does a good job of keeping his defender in front of him.

The Bad: He isn’t that athletic, big, or quick, which leaves him with only his jump shot as his only deadly weapon. He is a streaky shooter and needs to do a lot better in mixing up his shots. To often he would pass up an open shot for a tougher one.

Looking Ahead:
With a year under his belt, Jamal should be adjusted to Calhoun’s quick yank and it shouldn’t effect him or his shot. He’ll need to bulk up more and be able to contribute on the boards more especially since Robinson is gone. It would suit the team well if he can create his own shot off the dribble to utilize the pick and roll more. Sets will be called for him and he will have to knock down open shots.