Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kemba Walker talks about life and UConn

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

UConn 2011 Highlights

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coach Profile: Jim Calhoun

Looking Back: Calhoun arguably had his best coaching season of his illustrious career. He had a top star in Kemba Walker but other than that he had some under performing sophomores and seniors, and an unheralded class of freshmen. But it didn’t matter, this team had “it”. Call it chemistry, a will to win, or lightning in a bottle, but when they got into a tournament setting, they were unbeatable. The team bought into playing tough defense and settling into their roles and that all comes from their coach.

The Good: Calhoun knows where and when to push a player to get the most out of them. He also isn’t afraid to change conventional thinking, starting a bench player to limit early fouls for a starter and to gain much needed experience for a younger player for the next season. He also is a master at development and finding those under the radar players. He discovers players like Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier that weren’t highly touted out of high school and instilling them the confidence to make major impacts. In the end, it comes down to players and Calhoun knows how to find them and mold them into winners.

The Bad: He is still fighting off the effects of the NCAA investigation and a bad NCAA grade that took away scholarships. A major factor for this is his catch and release of players like that of Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and several others throughout his career. He also isn’t to keen on players playing through mistakes and uses minutes as a punishment even at the detriment of the game. He is also in the twilight of his career and while it is obvious that he still has what it takes to win, his health has been an issue and can not be ignored.

Looking Ahead: Calhoun will have a much more experienced team though not a true talent like that of Kemba Walker, but his team will be more well rounded and proven. He has two offensively talented freshmen to complement his defensive minded squad. If he can get Lamb, Oriakhi, and Napier to all contribute more offensively then he should have another team to compete for another title, but it is awfully difficult for lightning to strike in the same place twice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Player Profile: DeAndre Daniels

DeAndre Daniels is a 6’8” and 180 pound small forward. He is an effortless scorer that has a great balance of speed and shooting. He already possesses the ability to hit the jumper off the catch, in transition, or on ball reversal. He rebounds well but needs a bit more size to carve out space on the block. He sometimes takes bad shots that aren’t in the flow of the offense and isn’t defensive minded. With that all said, he is an extremely gifted talent with limitless upside. For Calhoun, the wing position has always been hard to figure out and with having Daniels' offensive talents, hopefully it will compliment the more defensive minded Roscoe Smith. If DeAndre can focus on defense, take the open shot in the flow of the offense, and rebound then he will have the minutes to showcase his skills.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Player Profile: Ryan Boatright

Ryan Boatright is a 5’10” and 165 pound point guard that can also slide into the two guard position. He averaged 31.2 points, 5.5 boards, and 3.1 assists as a senior. He is ultra quick and can get anywhere that he wants to go on the court. For a smaller frame, he isn’t shy about taking it into the paint to attack the rim or dish it out to open shooters. He has a knack for putting the ball in the basket and can do it in a variety of ways, from the outside shot or slamming it home. He does need some more size, which everyone coming into the college game needs, and needs to be more consistent with his shooting. As a point guard, he holds the ball too much and tends to take over large stretches of the offense. Defense isn’t his strength and he tends to gamble a lot. Another troubling sign was that he was suspended for an altercation with one of his teammates.

Ryan will fit in nicely into the rotation, filling Shabazz’s role of a sixth man/back up point guard. He also allows Calhoun a way to play two guards at the same time and go small. If he can be happy with a small role, be more defensive minded, and play a more team oriented game, then Boatright will have a tremendous year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Player Profile: Shabazz Napier

Looking Back: Napier adjusted well to Big East play and never looked overwhelmed, which is amazing for a freshman. He did have one of the best players in the country on his side, but it was his ability to handle the rock and move Walker over to the two guard spot that negated the double team. He showed tenacity and grit that was almost senior-like and was that spark off the bench that the team needed, earning him sixth man of the year, voted by the fans.

The Good: He has great ball handling skills and doesn’t get flustered in traffic. He has a tremendous first step and can knock down the three which is a deadly combination. He has all the tools to become one of the best point guards in the Big East and has the confidence in Calhoun to play through some of his mistakes. He is a great on the ball defender and can get into opponents head with his pressure defense.

The Bad:
He takes a lot of bad shots that aren’t in rhythm of the offense. He also settles too much for the outside shot when he could cause more havoc by driving lanes. He gets too aggressive on defense and allows his defender to slip by him too easily or picks up fouls twenty feet from the basket. He needs to find a happy medium to allow his aggression for steals but also not put too much pressure on the help behind him.

Looking Ahead:
Napier will have a lot more minutes to work with and it will be important for him to make the simple play. Without Walker to attract a lot of the defensive schemes, he will have to be more alert to mismatches and different defenses. He has total confidence from his coach that he should become a more productive and complete point guard in his second year.

(Video has swears in it)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Player Profile: Enosch Wolf

A lot was expected out of Enosch Wolf and Calhoun even forfeited giving Wolf a red shirt because the team desperately needed front court help, but it didn’t pan out. Wolf tread water, trying to learn a totally different style of basketball on the fly in mid-season, which might have been unfair to him. It really was a wasted year and hopefully won’t hurt his progress like that of Charles Okwandu who wasn’t red shirted and started coming into his own in his final year of eligibility. One thing on Wolf’s side is his size. He is a true seven footer and when he did get into the game, he looked the part of a Big East center. He just needs to work on his fundamentals and focus on defense and rebounding. If he can provide those two things and barring some big named recruits still not committed, then he will have the opportunity to earn minutes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Player Profile: Michael Bradley

It is hard to tell what Michael Bradley will do in his first full season. He has bulked up from his wiry 6-10 and 215 pound frame, and has a better knowledge of what it takes to become successful , but it is impossible to know what he can bring until he gets on the court. The player he most resembles so far is Hilton Armstrong and like Armstrong, Gavin Edwards, and Charles Okwandu, it took a good three years to really mature into an impact player. He’ll get an opportunity because this team is going to need some depth at the center position behind Oriakhi and if he can play solid defense, rebound consistently, and score on second chance opportunities then he’ll get the minutes, but for a red-shirt freshman, it is really a roll of the dice.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Omar Calhoun & Others at Nike Global Challenge

Players featured include Julius Randle, Tony Parker, Omar Calhoun, Cameron Beidscheid, Dominic Artis, Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley, Gary Harris, J.P. Tokoto, Ricardo Ledo, Sim Bhullar, Anthony Bennet, Andrew Wiggins and more. Video by Tim Brown,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Top UConn Players in the NBA

1. Ray Allen. 16.5 points, 3.4 boards, 2.7 assists, .444 from 3-point range. Ray Allen had a superb season, breaking Reggie Miller’s all-time three point record, cementing his entry into the Hall of Fame. Unlike his prior season, Allen was hot throughout the playoffs, carrying the Celtics for much of the post season. Even for his age, he had one of his best seasons as a Celtic increasing his 3-point percentage, rebounds, assists, and had less turnovers then his previous season.

2. Emeka Okafor. 10.3 boards, 9.5 boards, 1.8 blocks. Okafor had a bounce back season, becoming a dependable double-double threat throughout the season. It helped that he had a full season with Chris Paul. His numbers didn’t increase all that much from the year before, but his effectiveness has gone from a .530 field goal percentage to a .573.

3. Rudy Gay. 19.8 points, 6.20 boards, 2.8 assists. Coming into the season with a brand new contract, Rudy Gay was primed to have a breakout year, but he had to sit on the bench with an injury and watched his Grizzlies become one of the hottest teams in the Playoffs and nearly got to the Conference Finals. Before his injury, he was having a solid year increasing his 3-point percentage, his rebounding, assists, blocks and steals from his prior season. There are rumors swirling that Rudy Gay is on the trading block because of the success that Memphis had without him.

4. Caron Butler. 15 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists. It was a bittersweet year for Caron. Like Rudy Gay, he watched his team from the sidelines as his team went on an epic run and win the Championship. He battled hard to get back on the court but was a few weeks short in his rehab. Caron improved his 3-point shooting drastically from .290 to a Ray Allen like .431. It is unsure if Dallas will resign Butler or trade him.

5. Ben Gordon. 11.2 points, 2.4 boards, 2.1 assists. Gordon just can’t find the starting lineup but when his does, he plays well. He only started 27 games and had a career low 11.2 points per game. He shot the ball and rebounded better then the year before but watched his minutes drop. For some reason teams feel Gordon is best as a sixth man but are paying him as a starter.

6. A.J. Price. 6.5 points, 2.2 assists, 1.4 rebounds. Price had a stellar second half of the year, getting some key minutes when the Pacers decided to go young. He was effective at the point and showed that he can be a suitable back up point guard, but isn’t likely to be a heavy minutes performer. His 3-point shooting was horrendous, hitting just .275 from deep. But when he played in the playoffs, he hit .438 from deep.

7. Rip Hamilton. 14.1 points, 2.3 boards, 3.1 assists. Rip is taking a lot of the blame for the debacle of the Pistons. He was benched for much of the season and didn’t give it his all for his new coach, but when he did get on the court, he showed that he still has a lot left in the tank. He is more than likely out of Detroit.

8. Charlie Villanueva. 11.1 points, 3.9 boards, .6 assists. Like Ben Gordon, Villanueva only started eleven games last season, but increased his field goal percentage, three point shooting, and had fewer turnovers. He was best known for his twitter spat with Kevin Garnett this season rather then his play on the court.

9. Jeff Adrien. 2.5 boards, 2.5 PPG. Adrien only played eight minutes in 23 games but proved that he could carry over his rebounding and defensive play that he displayed in the D-League into his limited minutes. He just needs a chance to display his skills. When he did get extended minutes versus Memphis, he had 10 points and 6 rebounds. With the pending lockout, Adrien felt that signing with an Italy team would be his best chance of keeping his NBA dream alive.

10. Hasheem Thabeet. 1.1 points, 1.6 boards, .3 blocks. Thabeet had a rough year. He barely got on the court in Memphis and then was traded to Houston where he didn’t play. He is running out of time and needs to have his game mature much faster then it has so far.

11. Kemba Walker. He will assuredly move quickly up this list but for now he is waiting for his chance to show his skills. He will have plenty of opportunity in Charlotte but it might take a year or two for him to take over a starting role.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Player Profile: Tyler Olander

Looking Back: Tyler Olander showed promise early on and Calhoun even called him the best post player on the team heading into the season. While he never showed much offensively, he settled into his role and played defense, rebounded and took the open shot once in awhile. He did get valuable starting minutes but played sparingly, a trend that Calhoun likes to use. The experience was invaluable and Olander quickly became a reliable piece to the rotation.

The Good: He moves his feet well, has a soft touch, can knock down the occasional 15-footer, and plays reliable defense. He isn’t afraid to bang bodies inside and enjoys sticking his nose in for tough boards. He is a hard worker, hustles for every loose ball, and is a fan favorite because of his close ties to the UConn area.

The Bad:
He needs more size and has to be more assertive with the ball in his hands. He tends to think too much and allows the defender to settle into position. He also needs to position rebound better and clear more space for more rebounds. While he can hit the occasional three pointer, he should not take them and take more mid-ranged shots or attack the rim.

Looking Ahead: Olander has a lot to prove this season. He’ll need to be more reliable with more minutes coming his way, because there are younger players nipping on his heels for playing time. If he can be a solid rebounder, defend without picking up silly fouls, and be effective in the paint, then he should be in heavy rotation again.