Friday, August 30, 2013

Caron Butler Traded to the Milwaukee Bucks

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Player Profile: Philip Nolan

Looking Back: It looked like Nolan would have a year of watching from the sidelines and he would have to wait for his chance to play.  He was third in line off the bench with Olander starting and Wolf backing Tyler up.  That all changed once Wolf found himself with off the court troubles and became indefinitely suspended.  That thrusted Nolan into the back-up duty and he showed right away that he was up to the challenge.  He instantly leapfrogged Olander as the best big man on the team, showing the ability to score points in the paint and most importantly rebound.  By the end of the season, Ollie had a trustworthy and upcoming center on the team that seemed to be improving with each and every performance.

The Good:  He has good instincts to find the ball when it comes off the rim.  He runs the floor well and can finish plays around the rim.  Though limited, he has shown the ability to play on the post.  Right now his greatest asset is his rebounding and he progressed with each outing.  He has a great demeanor on the court and he doesn’t look overwhelmed.

The Bad:  He doesn’t have the weight right now to hold a position for long.  He needs to add ten to twenty pounds to his frame and be able to not only seal his man, but to establish a position early in the defense and offense sets.  His post game is a work in progress and he hasn’t displayed a fifteen foot jump shot yet that a big man needs against the zone.  He has shown an ability to rebound, but for him to garner more playing time, he will have to double his output last year in that department.

Looking Ahead: Nolan has a great opportunity this season.  He finished last year strong and the starting spot is wide open this year.  He needs to show that his hard work in the summer will pay off.  If he can add some weight, develop a short jumper, and box out then he could snag that starting center position.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Player Profile: Tyler Olander

Looking Back:  Tyler Olander missed a great opportunity last season.  With Drummond and Oriakhi gone, he was the next in line to fill in their role.  While he is a power forward, today’s college game rarely utilizes the center position due to zone defenses and the inability to truly space the floor.  The position has become more of a hybrid and that is exactly what Olander is.  Unfortunately he couldn’t string together solid performances and struggled to do the little things out there.  With each bad performance, his confidence took a hit until he could barely scratch two or three rebounds a game. To top it all off, he had to have surgery on his foot and then got arrested in Florida while on vacation.  It truly was a season to forget.

The Good:  Olander has shown the ability, though in small doses, to hit the fifteen footer.  He has a smooth jumper and is a good free throw shooter, though doesn’t get to the line.  He has an above the rim game and can run the floor well.  He also has versatility to his game and can defend both the four and the five positions.

The Bad: His rebounding instincts just aren’t where they need to be.  He doesn’t clear out space and doesn’t get the ball at its apex. Often times he lets his man slip by him for easy put-backs and his footwork on the pick-and-roll defense needs to improve.  Far too many times he didn’t hedge well and let his defender slip to the basket unmolested.

Looking Ahead:
This is it for Olander.  He needs to put it all together this year and the sooner the better.  This team has a deeper roster at his position and minutes will go to whoever rebounds the best.  Hopefully his foot injury will not hurt his progression this season.  If he can hover around 8-10 boards a game then Ollie will give him the starts, but if he continues to play like he did last season then it won’t be as memorable a senior season for this hometown boy as he would’ve liked.

EDIT: Olander was suspended from the team due to a DUI arrest on 9/7/2013.  Ollie said that he will be reinstated when he shows better life choices.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Player Profile: Niels Giffey

Looking Back:  Niels Giffey played a significant role last year and did everything this team needed.  Ollie had Giffey play three different positions at times, subbing in at the two, three, and four spots.  His versatility gave UConn plenty of options off the bench and has quietly gone about his business.  The major improvement for Giffey this past season was his ability to finish plays at the rim.  At the end of the season, fans of this blog voted him with the Sixth Man of the Year award.

The Good: Giffey isn’t going to wow you.  He’s versatile, can slide into three positions, has a smooth jumper, displayed an above the rim game in transition, and has good enough lateral movement to play the pick and roll defensively.  He’s one of the better free throw shooters on the team and Ollie is comfortable leaving him in late in tight ball games.  He cut down his offensive fouls a lot last season and has developed a mid-ranged game.

The Bad: He doesn’t have a good first step and dribbling is still a major problem for him.  His rebounding needs to improve and lacks the ability to seal his man when the ball is in the air.  He only managed 100 rebounds last season which is sixth best on the team. Even though he has a great free throw percentage, his game rarely allows him the opportunity to get to the line.  He has developed a mid-ranged game but he doesn't utilize it as much as he should and even though he has a good jumper, his three point percentage doesn’t reflect that.

Looking Ahead: Giffey will play a major role this season.  He’ll once again be the first option off the bench but needs to get better at rebounding and finding ways to get space for his jumper.  This team needs him to do all the little things from getting loose balls, defending without fouling, and help on the boards.  If he can do all those things then it should be a fruitful season for Giffey.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Player Profile: DeAndre Daniels

Looking Back: Heading into the 2012-2013 season, DeAndre Daniels was labeled a jump shooting wing player that was reluctant to take the ball into the paint. 50 of his 91 shots were from beyond the arch in 2011 and he only averaged 3 points per game in his sparse 12 minutes of playing time. With nearly 17 minutes more of court time, Daniels quickly showed a more versatile game.  While his jump shot still was his major weapon, he took less three pointers, 68, and displayed a variety of ways to score the basketball.  Every aspect of his game improved from scoring around the basket, becoming UConn’s best rebounder and also the number one shot blocker on the team.  By the end of the season, he was chosen by the fans of this blog as the Most Improved Player of the Year and it wasn’t even close.

The Good:  Daniels upside is tremendous.  He has shown the ability to use both hands to get to spots on the floor where he can hit shots.  He has an above the rim game and can use it on the break or attacking the rim off the dribble.  Over the season he developed a hook shot, though not a major weapon, it is progressing.  His intangibles like rebounding, 40 more than anyone else, and blocking shots, 45, also have improved, leading the team in both categories.

The Bad: His jumper needs to soften up a bit and it isn’t as consistent as it needs to be.  He also needs to work on his post game.  Daniels feels more comfortable when facing up his opponent instead of backing him down.  For his ability to work in traffic, he doesn’t get to the line as much as he should.  He only had 88 attempts last year which is far below what it should be.  It might have to do with his size right now.  He needs to add a bit more muscle to be able to create space and finish through contact. His turnovers are also a problem, 50.   He needs to limit the unforced errors that lead to easy points the other way and kill momentum.

Looking Ahead:  If DeAndre continues to progress the way he has then this might possibly be his last year with the team.  The NBA loves upside and Daniels has plenty of that.  He has set the bar pretty high for himself but he possesses all the tools to be a UConn star.  If he can soften up his jumper, get to the line more, limit his turnovers and have the confidence in himself then he’ll live up to those expectation and be that next great wing to play for UConn.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Player Profile: Omar Calhoun

Looking Back:  Omar Calhoun had a tough role to play last season.  He was the third guard behind that of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, which meant that he didn’t get many offensive sets designed especially for him.  He ended up being primarily a three point shooter, 134 of his 246 shots were from deep.  He struggled with a hip injury halfway through season which limited his ability to drive and might have effected his jumper.  After the season he went through hip surgery and hasn’t had much basketball activity through the off-season.

The Good: He has a lightning fast release and is accurate.  His defensive skills, while not exceptional are underrated, especially if you consider he was playing bigger and more athletic wings.   He did have 13 blocks which is excellent for a guard and shows his ability to stay with his man on defense. He’s also a good rebounder. 114 total boards with 38 of those offensive which is only one less than DeAndre Daniels who led the team in offensive rebounds.  Even though he isn’t known for taking his man off the bounce, Calhoun did get to the line 106 times and made 80 of those.

The Bad: While his jumper is accurate and quick, it is awkward with a low release point which allows his defender to block it more easily and his mid-ranged game needs more work.  Teams are going to take away his three point shot, so he will need to adjust and take the ball in for that ten to fifteen foot jumper.  His jumper is also inconsistent and he went through a couple of long dry spells.  His assists, 37, to turnovers, 54, needs to improve and even out more also.

Looking Ahead: Omar is primed to have a breakout season.  If he can bounce back from his surgery then he should help stretch the floor, but with little to no practice done in the off season, Calhoun will have to work hard to catch up.   Ollie will need to watch Calhoun’s minutes early on, but by the end of the year, Omar should develop into a major scoring threat and alleviate the pressure off of Boatright and Napier offensively.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Giving Back: Ray Allen at Hall High School

Friday, August 2, 2013

Player Profile: Ryan Boatright

Looking Back: Ryan Boatright’s 2012-2013 season could be summed in one word: inconsistent.  There were games when he looked to be that scoring 2-guard that everyone expected him to be and then there were times when he looked lost out on the court.  Boatright’s offense was dependent on his jumper and when it wasn’t working his game struggled.  When it was working, he was as good as it gets and was a great compliment to Napier.  Overall it was a successful season and an improvement over his freshman campaign.

The Good: Ryan has a tremendous first step and plays well off a solid pick.  He also has deceptive athletic ability and attacks the rim with authority like that of Jerome Dyson.  He is a great on the ball defender and rarely lets his man beat him off the dribble.  One aspect to Boatright’s game is his ability to pass the ball.  He led the team in assists last year with 131.  He’s a scorer and knows how to put points on the board.

The Bad: His offense is too dependent on jumpers and he needs to find ways to get to the line more.  He also turned the ball over way too much, 33 more times then in his freshman year, and he needs to mitigate the unforced errors.  One of his major issues last year was dribbling out the shot clock and putting up horrible or more difficult shots.  He also needs to help out more in the rebounding department.  Only Evans, Nolan, Tolksdorf, and Wolf had less rebounds than Boatright.

Looking Ahead: Boatright needs to trust his stuff.  If he does then he should have a good season but this is an important year for him to show that he can depend on other aspects to his game other than his jumper.  If he can get to the line more, play within the offense, and focus on ball control then he will have a solid season, but it will all depend on the work he put in this summer.