Thursday, September 30, 2010

Caron Butler on the upcoming 2010 season

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stanley Robinson Media Day 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Alumni Profile: Rip Hamilton

Looking Back: Hamilton had his toughest year as a professional last season, only logging in 46 games. He was battling injures throughout much of November and December and never felt comfortable with the new look Pistons. He was still an effective scorer but the team floundered down the stretch and crash landed in March going 2 for 12.

The Good:
Rip has one of the quickest releases in the game. He has also mastered the art of the mid-ranged shot, using double and triple screens to free up his shooting hand. Even though he had an injury plagued season, his numbers didn’t decrease. He is great from the line, averages 18 points a game, and is a solid defender, who isn’t afraid to crash through contact to chase his man. His most important asset though is his consistency, getting into double figures 22 out of the last 26 regular season games.

The Bad: The wear and tear of the long arduous NBA season is starting to catch up to Rip. In each of his last five seasons, Rip has played in fewer and fewer games. He turns the ball over too much, 2.50 a game. He also had one of his worst outside shooting years of his career, only shooting .297 from deep a drop of .071 points from the previous year.

Looking Ahead:
Rip should be healthy and ready to go, but it is unclear what the Pistons can do this upcoming season. You know that you can count on 18 points a game from him, but trade rumors are always swirling around him. He is the clear leader of the team, but he seems to be one of the most underrated players around the league for what he does and has done for Detroit. He is a true professional and should have another solid year, barring any significant injuries.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Alumni Profile: Rudy Gay

Looking Back: Rudy entered the year with a lot of expectations. He was on a team that looked to be ready to make a push in the highly competitive West and didn’t quite make it. While it was a disappointing season for the team, Rudy showed that he was the leader of the team. His season carried over into the FIBA World Championships, where he filled in nicely behind Kevin Durant. While he isn’t Durant, he showed that he is an up and coming star, landing himself a max contract and with that high expectations.

The Good: Rudy is blessed with an abundance of athleticism. He is a highlight reel ready to happen. He has an ability to play heavy minutes, averaging 39.7 a game and knows how to get to the line, which all great players can. While he isn’t known for his defense, he has a great ability to get steals which lead to those highlight dunks at the other end. His jumper is still a second weapon to his deadly driving ability, it has come leaps and bounds from when he first entered the league.

The Bad: Turnovers. He needs to limit the careless and unnecessary turnovers that plague his game, averaging 2.11 a game. He also had a poor outside shooting year and dipped in his average. He needs to bring it up from just .327 from three point range.

Looking Ahead: The arrow is pointing up for Rudy. He is on a young but talent filled team that keeps adding core players around him. His play overseas has added attention to his game and he should respond to that with a solid year. With the max contract signed, he is now the unquestioned leader of the Grizzlies and should help lead the team into the playoffs. If he can do that, then it will be a successful year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alumni Profile: Caron Butler

Looking Back: Caron had a pretty good year, moving out from a horrible situation in Washington and onto a team pushing for a championship in Dallas. While the year didn’t end the way that he wanted, he still played solid during the postseason scoring more points but he couldn’t buy a three pointer, hitting just 7 of 23. It was a tough transition and he never truly felt comfortable and it showed in some stretches.

The Good: He has a great combination of size and athleticism which can create all sorts of mismatches. While he doesn’t get the credit that he should deserve, he is entering the prime of his career and on a team that has the right pieces to make a deep run. He can post up, has range on his jumper, can play above the rim, and can create his own shot off the dribble.

The Bad: He has always struggled with turnovers and it showed up in the playoffs. He has to limit that aspect of his game. He also isn’t known for an in-your-face defense. There were rumors swirling in Washington about his ability to be a team player, but take those with a grain of salt because of the atmosphere of that locker room towards the end of the year.

Looking Ahead: His expiring contract is a bargaining tool, but if he doesn’t get traded, he is in a great situation to make a significant impact on a respectable team. With another year under his belt, he should be comfortable in the Maverick’s system and he will be more willing to make plays.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Alumni Profile: Ray Allen

Looking Back: Ray had a solid year. He never complained about being on his last year of his contract and came to work every day. He was healthy all year and helped propel the Celtics through the playoffs and into the Finals where he had one masterful game, but then struggled throughout the series. He resigned with the Celtics and looks to have another solid chance at a ring.

The Good: He has the most beautiful jumper in the game and is one of the best conditioned athletes too. There are few better from the line then Ray and he has an impeccable motor, running through double and triple screens for open jumpers. He is also an underrated defender and is able to play a surprising amount of minutes for a veteran. One of the best sides of Ray Allen is off the court where he is one of the most charitable athletes, giving as much of his time as he does his cash for his foundation.

The Bad:
He is getting up there in age and while he is still playing at a high level, there is no way to outrun time. His minutes will need to be tinkered with to keep his legs fresh and he’ll need help guarding the speedy and athletic backcourts. He tends to get streaky with his shooting and needs to find ways of contributing points when the 3-ball isn’t dropping. Ray also needs to find better ways to involved in rebounding and assists.

Looking Ahead:
He has resigned back with the Celtics where it looks like he will finish his career. Boston knows what they’ll get from Ray and barring an injury, he should be a good complement to an aging but still talented team. The season is long and he’ll need to make sure that he doesn’t wear himself out during the middle of the season, but whenever someone counts Allen out, he tends to prove them all wrong.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Player Profile: Kemba Walker

Looking Back: Walker took awhile to find the courage to take over the leadership of the team from the seniors, but when he did the team played at their best. When he was aggressive, he took a lot of pressure off the front court and let them battle for boards and fight for second chance points. The team still floundered down the stretch and he was the quarterback of the team, but by the time the buzzer sounded down in Virginia, he was the best UConn Husky leaving the court.

The Good: His speed is deadly. He has a burst unlike any other and he has a unique ability to go from standing still to sprinting in two strides. His ball handling has improved and he has become more effective in traffic and around the rim. He has the ability to play an in your shirt defense, but he tends to tone down his aggressiveness to avoid fouls. During the summer he played against some young elite NBA guards and handled himself, while his peers were barely making it over half court.

The Bad: The only thing holding Walker from elite status is a consistent jumper. If he adds that part to his game then he is an All-American. He also needs to be clutch from the line and needs to flirt with 90% from there. Even though he possesses a lighting fast burst, he needs to remain in control of the ball and limit turnovers and sloppy passes.

Looking Ahead: The only question for Walker is if there is going to be anyone to take away the double team. If he can get some of his players to open some driving lanes, then this team will be okay, but if he is the only deep threat and driver, then this team will flounder again. Kemba Walker looks primed to have a monster season and UConn fans need to sit back and enjoy the sensation that is EZ-Pass.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meet Jeremy Lamb

Jeremy Lamb is a 6-5 and 165 pound shooting guard from Norcross, Georgia. He emerged on the scene with his superior play in the Peach Jam Classic and was recruited by Texas, Georgia, Clemson, Florida, and Indiana. He is a talented shooter and deadly from mid-range. His coach, Jesse McMillan, said, “We felt that any time we could get him the ball around the free throw line he was going to knock that bucket down.” Lamb has an ability to create his own shot, though still has work to do with working in traffic and shooting off the dribble. He has a wiry frame, with a 7-4 wingspan and could use some more weight, but it is his ability to shoot the rock that has most UConn fans salivating. He hit 42.6 percent from deep and isn’t afraid to take big shots. Lamb has the ability to take a verbal lashing from his coach and use that as motivation on the court, which will come in handy with Calhoun’s coaching style.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Player Profile: Charles Okwandu

Looking Back: Okwandu had a hard time finding the minutes in a crowded front court that featured Edwards, Oriakhi, and Majok. When he did get into the game, he was at times lost or out of place, but he did give effort and showed an ability to defend, but he never solidified a role and played sparingly.

The Good:
He is a maximum effort player and isn’t shy to dive on the floor for loose balls or tie-ups. He is a legitimate seven feet tall and has the ability to be a shot blocker, though didn’t have the natural tendencies that UConn has been used to.

The Bad: He is a senior and still has a ton of learning to do, which isn’t good. He has no offensive game, isn’t a great position rebounder, and gets caught out of position. While it isn’t right to dump all these negatives on a player that only played a handful of minutes a game, he had an opportunity to get minutes with Oriakhi and Gavin coming off the bench and he didn’t make the most of them.

Looking Ahead:
He’ll get more minutes but what he does with those is all up to him. He needs to be a solid rebounder and defender first and not take quick fifteen foot jumpers. Without Majok, a lot of responsibilities have fallen into Okwandu’s lap. He’ll need to show some development from last year or UConn could struggle. He couldn’t of had a better opportunity then he does right now and it is up to him on how high he wants the bar to be set.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Coach Profile: Jim Calhoun

Looking Back: Calhoun had a tough time trying to find an identity for his team. He knew what Dyson and Walker would bring to the table, but Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards were still mysteries. The team started off strong, but showed signs of weakness. They had trouble holding onto leads and struggling against inferior opponents. They also had a very tough schedule, playing against elite squads and coming up short against a majority of them. Health issues again came up and he had to take an extended absence from the team. The season came to a horrible ending with UConn playing themselves out of an NCAA tournament berth with one of the worst Big East Tournament games in their history and wound up in the NIT where they took a very good Virginia Tech squad to the brink.

The Good: Even with the poor season, Calhoun still produces NBA caliber players and that attracts top talent. While his team underachieved last season, he is only one year removed from a Final Four. He still has the passion to coach and he resigned a highly priced multi-year contract that has stabilized the program which he has built. Even with his stern coaching and volatile attitude with the press, he is one of the most charitable coaches in the game today.

The Bad: Once again it starts with his health. It has been multiple seasons in a row that he has had to miss games due to an illness. He is getting up there in his age and the time for his retirement is on the horizon. Another thing that has plagued Calhoun for the past couple of seasons has been his catch and release of his recruits. He doesn’t have much patience for players making mistakes and if they don’t work out, he has no problem in showing them the door. While none of the recruits that left have said a negative thing about Calhoun, it does hurt the player by making them sit out an entire year. The NCAA investigation into improper contact with an agent and Calhoun's assistants lying to the investigators has also brought a dark shadow over the program.

Looking Ahead: The program will be on solid foundation for the next couple of seasons, but UConn should be looking ahead to grooming another replacement for Calhoun. He still has what it takes to win a National Championship, but he’ll have another young and inexperienced team to get him there. This should be his last rebuilding project and he’ll need to find the right chemistry on a team with a lot of uncertainties. He has an NBA caliber point guard but there are so many questions surrounding him. He’ll have to find the right combination and hope that some of the Sophomores mature.

Thursday, September 2, 2010