Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jeremy Lamb at Windsor Basketball Clinic

Shabazz Napier Deep Three

Friday, July 27, 2012

Player Profile: Ryan Boatright

Looking Back: Ryan Boatright had a rough start to his freshman season.  His eligibility was in question for the first couple of games and didn’t get on the court, but when he did finally see action, he made an immediate impact,  hitting some clutch free throws to pull out a victory in the waning seconds of a tight ballgame against Florida State.  Throughout the year he never fully gelled into his sixth man role though he did have a team high in points in three games, but he wasn’t that sparkplug off the bench that the team needed on a consistent basis.  His outside shot was streaky and he struggled to find the right times to take his shots.  Not wanting to disrupt Lamb and Napier’s offense, he barely took over ten attempts a game.  It wasn’t until late in the year that he finally took control of stretches of the ballgame, but it was far too little to help right the sink ship.

The Good:  He has an uncanny athletic ability added with superior speed and can get to anywhere on the court that he wants to.  He is a better defensive player than what he showed last season, only having 29 steals, but did do a good job of not fouling while defending.  He is most potent in open space and has a great stroke, hitting .377 from deep and can stretch the floor which opens up driving lanes.

The Bad: Ryan tends to settle for difficult shots by either driving too deep or taking an unnecessary deep three.  He should of had more free throw attempts then what he did, because he shied away from contact instead of going into shot blockers.  He also needs to do a better job of knocking down shots when he gets to the line.  He only hit 69% from the free throw line.  His court vision isn’t his strongest asset and he passed the ball too early and to the wrong spots, ending with too many turnovers, 56.

Looking Ahead: With a solid freshman year behind him and this team needing ten to fifteen shots a game from him, Boatright should have a great opportunity to become an offensive threat.  He just needs to mix his game up a bit more, develop a mid-ranged game to his arsenal and get to the line more and he should be a great compliment to Napier.  A lot will be asked of Boatright in his second season and if he puts in the work that everyone expects he will, then he should have a great year.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Player Profile: Shabazz Napier

Looking Back:  Shabazz Napier was coming off an impressive season where he played the point guard position off the bench that freed up Kemba Walker and allowed him to play effectively without the ball.  Napier showed a tenacious defensive ability that frustrated opposing guards and often times led to easy steals and lay-ups.  So coming into his sophomore season, everyone was expecting him to carry that play over and progress, but it didn’t.  He struggled at times in when and where to take shots, when to distribute the ball, and how to give and take with his teammates.  The team never gelled and part of the blame has to go on his public outburst at his teammates.  By the end of the season it all fell apart with early departures and transfers that left a sour taste in what should have been a great season.

The Good:  There is no doubt that Napier has the talent to be a top tier point guard in the Big East.  He has the outside shot, a great first step, plays in your shirt defense, and has good vision.  He is a tough nosed kid who takes losing personal and shows his emotion on his sleeve.  When UConn needed a shot, Napier wasn’t shy about taking it and made his fair share.  Later in the season, Napier began to take the ball to the basket more which got him to the line.  It opened up his jumper and made him a more complete player.  He led the team in steals at 56 a game, had the most free throw attempts at 148, and nearly had 200 assists.

The Bad: He forced himself to become a leader of the team last year and several players didn’t respond well to it.  There seemed to be a major rift between Lamb and Napier which caused a broken locker room.   He never gelled with the team, either not taking enough shots or taking too many and he never found that sweet spot.  He struggled to get his outside shot to be consistent until they were far too deep in a hole.  His offensive woes would carry over onto the defense end and he led the team in personal fouls at 87.  He also needs to limit his turnovers which were way too high for a top level point guard, 94.

Looking Ahead:  This is his team now and he needs to lead by example.  The offense will flow through him a majority of the game and he needs to understand when and where to take shots, distribute the ball, and play tight defense.  He needs to avoid foul problems at all costs, because he will be hovering around 35 minutes a game.  He will need to score around 17 to 20 points a game, hover around 8 to 10 assists, limit his turnovers, and keep his frustration in check.  If he can do all that then he should be a consideration for Big East Player of the Year.

Monday, July 9, 2012

To Boo or not to Boo

For UConn fans, losing Ray Allen to the Miami Heat hurts more than the average fan.  Here is the best UConn alumni ever, who came back to his hometown market and delivered a championship right away.  He broke the all-time three point record in his backyard, he shattered a playoff record for three point attempts, and was the perfect role model for a UConn franchise.  While his leaving makes sense in a couple of ways, it still twists the hearts of Husky fans because of how it was done and to where he landed.

Rumors had swirled since the Celtics were eliminated by the heat that Allen was frustrated with how he was treated by Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers' use of him and his beleaguered relationship with Rajon Rondo.  While Ray Allen was struggling down the stretch with bone spurs, his ego was a bit bruised by the way Doc Rivers had Ray Allen come off the bench, even though during that time Allen expressed his thumbs up to the move. His frustration with Rajon Rondo has to do with his belief that Rondo gave up on Allen to early in sets.  This is all new to fans that have grown up watching Allen.  They have had a picture of Ray Allen as one of the hardest workers and not a player that let his ego get the better of him, but this is a professional athlete and ego is what fuels them to be the best at what they do.

His frustration with Ainge is more understandable.  The O.J. Mayo trade that fell apart halfway through the year set the sour mood that eventually led to Allen’s exodus out of  Boston, especially since Ainge called Allen and said he was traded to Memphis before the deal collapsed.  Allen probably made up his mind that he wasn’t going to return to Boston at that time.  It also didn’t help that Ainge signed Jason Terry before Allen did anything in free agency.  That was the push Allen needed to put Boston in the rear view mirror.

The hardest pill to swallow for most UConn fans is that he signed with the Heat.  Sure it was for less money, but remember he doesn’t have an agent and money at this time in his life isn’t his main aspiration.  The only thing he needs to accomplish now is Championships and the Heat  provide him with that opportunity.  They need to surround James and Wade with outside shooters.  If it wasn’t for the complementary three point shooters for Miami, they wouldn’t have won the Championship.  They need Allen’s sharp shooting, especially since Miller is dealing with back problems.  It was a perfect fit for him.  No team besides Boston and Miami that had legitimate chances at a Championship were courting Allen.

It will be tough to watch Ray Allen suit up for the Heat, but it was the right move for both teams.  Ray Allen will have a pivotal role on a favorite to win it all next season and the Celtics will be getting younger, which they need to do, and also have Jason Terry who is comfortable being that six man off the bench.  It might not be what UConn fans would want, but no one should blame Allen for his decision.  So it is understandable if you are hurt over the move, but understand that he was almost shipped out halfway through the season.  He'll probably get booed, but he doesn't deserve to.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Remember the Name: Cliff Alexander

Cliff Alexander is a 6'9" power forward from Chicago, Illinois.  He is in the 2014 class and is being heavily recruited from some of the top schools like Michigan State, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, and Big East Schools like Syracuse, DePaul, and UConn.  Originally a football player, he grew into a basketball body, but still brings a football mentality to his game.  His greatest asset is his motor and plays from baseline to baseline. He is now ranked 2nd in the country at his position and is leaning heavily towards Michigan State but also considers Kentucky a dream school