Saturday, January 5, 2013

December 2012

December started out with UConn taking on a talented North Carolina State team in Madison Square Garden.  It was a tight ballgame but in the end NC State’s frontcourt was too much for UConn to handle and pulled out the victory.  After that UConn took out their frustrations on a Harvard squad that stuck around  for a little bit but was totally out gunned by the Huskies backcourt.  Next up was Fordham.  It was a strange game where UConn dominated most of the game, going up by more than 30 points, but Fordham went on a tear and scored 17 straight points to put a bad spin on an otherwise great performance.  After the Christmas break, they took on the Washington Huskies.  It was the first time in awhile that UConn was able to win the rebounding battle and the backcourt dominated the game, taking control of the game in the second half and keeping Washington at arms length.

Napier had a great month of basketball and was aggressive right from the start versus North Carolina State but disappeared in the second half, causing UConn to flounder offensively.   He had his best overall performance of the month against Harvard, dishing the ball, getting steals and being the floor general fans are used to seeing.  He continued to become that pass first point guard, but had some turnover issues.against Maryland Eastern Shore. He put forth a stellar performance versus Fordham, rebounding, not taking a ton of 3-pointers, and finally got his turnovers under control that plagued him for much of the month.  In the Washington game, he reverted back to his 3-point heavy performance and had way too many turnovers, 7.  It was his only poor performance of the month and he has shown tremendous maturity in the month of December.

Boatright’s jumper came to life in December.  He displayed his mid and long ranged jumper against N.C. State and carried it over into the Harvard game, though he took too many deep shots.  He had his best game of the season against Maryland-Eastern Shore where he had everything working from his first dunk of the year to rebounding the basketball.  He followed that game up with a solid first half against Fordham, but had too many turnovers.  He ended the month with a sub-par game against Washington where he again turned the ball over too many times, but made some clutch shots down the stretch to pull out the win.  He was UConn’s best option on the offensive end throughout the month of December but needs to work on ball control, getting to the line more, and not settling for contested jumpers.

Omar Calhoun had a bad start to December, coming up with only 5 points against N.C. State.  His horrible shooting continued, missing all his shots against Harvard.  He finally bounced back with a stout game versus Maryland-Eastern Shore where he was more assertive in the offense and he was able to carry over his play into the Fordham game where he was finally making plays in the second half.  He finished the month with his best performance against Washington where he had his mid-ranged game on display and also found ways to get easy buckets which is something he hadn’t done earlier.

Daniel’s month started out slow with a tough game against N.C. State where he had numerous turnovers that marred his night and only had one rebound.  He bounced back though and had his best game of the month against Harvard, getting lay-ups, hitting deep jumpers, and getting to the line.  Then he backed it up with another good game against Maryland-Eastern Shore by making plays around the rim.  His next game was a let down and struggled to rebound and make plays against a Fordham team in which he should have dominated.  He has been the X-factor throughout the month and when he is playing well, the team usually wins.

Giffey had a rough start to the month, struggling to guard C.J. Leslie but had a good game against Harvard, even dunking twice.  He backed that up with key contributions against Maryland-Eastern Shore.  The Fordham game was a disappointment and so was the game against Washington.  His rebounding has been lackluster in December and he needs to do more there to warrant more playing time.

Olander has had a December to forget.  He lost his starting job, got it back, but has done little to deserve significant playing time.  His rebounding numbers are way down from where they should be, his elbow jumper which should be an asset is non-existent, he’s being out muscled to spots on the court, and he is fouling on defense.  Not good.

Wolf has been the bright spot for UConn in the month of December.  He had an amazing game versus North Carolina State, disappeared late against Harvard, played sparingly against Maryland-Eastern Shore, struggled against Fordham, and was a catalyst in the game versus Washington.  He just needs to keep himself out of foul trouble, play within his game, and rebound, rebound, rebound.

R.J. Evans had a tough month, dealing with a shoulder injury but he made the little plays that this team is getting used to him making which is lay-ups and hustle plays on loose balls.  He even hit a rare 3-pointer against Fordham, but he is still adjusting to a step up in competition.

Tolksdorf has had little to none playing time and Nolan has gotten in sparingly but has shown the ability to finally get the ball through the basket and rebound.

All in all UConn is playing well despite its obvious deficiencies.  They are going to be tested in the next month while heading into Big East play.  The wings need to focus more on making plays around the rim, the back court needs to get to the line more, and the frontcourt, well they need to make some plays every once in awhile.  If they can do those things then this team will surprise some of the big boys.  They need to because with all the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, they need to make a statement on where this program is heading.

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