Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The news that Roscoe Smith is transferring UConn was a bit of a shock. Here is a glue player, running away with the sixth man of the year award, that has come on late in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He would be coming into a situation where he would be playing a larger role then what he had in his prior years, and even though UConn might miss both the Big East and NCAA tournaments, he would still have the opportunity to play in those in his senior year. Drummond and Lamb leaving were no brainers, Oriakhi was a senior and even Bradley would do well with a much needed change of scenery, but this move just doesn't seem beneficial. There has to be more to this story then missing a chance at the post-season, because making the tournament isn't a guarantee.
This transfer automatically puts DeAndre Daniels into major minutes. While Roscoe and Daniels both play the same position, their games, as of now, are totally different. Smith did start out shooting the outside shots but soon realized that attacking the glass and playing staunch defense was the way to get minutes. He was one of UConn’s most consistent ten feet and out players and did a great job on the glass. Daniels hasn’t developed that mentality yet and that is vital for UConn to have on the wing, especially with the smaller line-up. The sophomore will need to bulk up some more and be willing to battle on the boards because with Smith gone, UConn has only Olander as a veteran rebounder. Wolf has the bulk and size to be effective but hasn't been able translate that to the court.
So what is the real reason for Smith's sudden departure? Was there a rift between Smith and some of the other players still on UConn’s roster? There is no telling, but something just doesn’t add up. He’ll find a fit as a glue guy on a variety of rosters, but he will not covet the attention that Oriakhi did. Oriakhi is a senior that needed to showcase his skills now because this is his last shot to get into the lottery. For Smith to get into the lottery this year or next, he would have to metamorphosis into a legit twenty point scorer. Unless Calhoun was holding him back offensively, Smith at the best would be a ten point and ten rebound performer. Not enough to change his draft status.
Assuming that the transfers are done and the roster will consist of starters of Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, and Enosch Wolf. They might move Calhoun to the bench for DeAndre Daniels but the talented freshman will be playing starter minutes, because the three guard line-up will dominate this team. Jim Calhoun will need to blend in some big bodies at the forward and center positions to build a front court by committee. They need as a unit to average ten to fifteen boards and chip in some points, but the offense will solely be on the backcourt.
It is amazing that even though talent like Drummond, Lamb, and Oriakhi leaving didn't put the pressure on UConn's squad as the news that Roscoe Smith was going did. He was one of the few consistent players that this team could count on next year and with that gone next season looks even gloomier. But the show must go on and this team needs to head into next season with a good mindset, because it can't get any lower then right now. These next two years are going to be Calhoun's most precarious. He'll need to get his program back on track before he hands it off to his successor and he only has two years to do it.