Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet Lasan Kromah

Lasan Kromah is a 6-5, 201 lbs. swing guard with a 6-9 wingspan from Greenbelt, MD. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 2012-2013.  He is not a 3-point shooter, only hitting .222 from deep, and his percentage has dipped in each year.  He isn’t bad from the line and knocked down .675 from the line and was the second leading scorer on his team.  In his rookie season, he earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team, but missed his sophomore season with a Lisfranc sprain that he suffered in a pre-season game against NC State.

“He definitely has the ability to score the ball,” GW assistant coach Pete Strickland said. “He has a very instinctive ability to get to the rim. He doesn’t really fit a type – he’s not a ‘classic’ anything – he just has a unique ability to get to the rim. He’s got great length to him and a nice nose for the basket."

He’s a smart kid which is what Ollie is looking for.  He has already graduated from George Washington and earned his degree in Criminal Justice and will pursue a master’s degree in Educational Psychology: Cognitive Instruction and Learning Technologies at UConn.

He visited Indiana and Xavier before choosing UConn where he has a relationship with Coach Hobbs, playing two seasons under him.

“I wanted to explore somewhere else, in a different environment, and play basketball at a higher level,” said Kromah and also spoke about UConn. “I got a good vibe, I really got a sense of family. I have a good relationship with Coach (Karl) Hobbs. It’s an opportunity for me to develop and play.”

“We’re excited to have Lasan join our program,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. “He is the type of player and person who is going to make us stronger as a team with his ability on the court as well as his high character. I think Lasan can be a great facilitator for us. I love his versatility on the court. He can help us in so many ways.” 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Heart of a Champion: A Tribute to Jim Calhoun

Thursday, September 26, 2013

UConn Husky Run 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ranking the UConn Alumni in the NBA

1. Ray Allen.  No surprise here.  Allen took home the NBA trophy and in the process hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA Finals history, solidifying his legacy as one of the most clutch shooters in the game ever.

2. Rudy Gay.  There is no denying his talent but with the recent allegations that his problems on the court had to do with not wearing corrective lenses, it boggles the mind.  Why would he detriment his team and his game over a pair of glasses? Hopefully he'll bounce back and play well on his new team the Toronto Raptors.

3. Caron Butler.  Last year was supposed to be a breakout year for Butler, but it never worked out.  He was on a talented squad with one of the best point guards in the game, but he couldn't take that next step in his game.  With Butler now in the prime of his career and in his hometown, he might take that leadership role that was expected of him the whole time.

4. Kemba Walker.  There wasn’t a whole lot of talent around Walker last year, but he still finished the season strong and showed promise.  With more scoring options around him this year, he looks primed to have a breakout season that is if he can consistently hit the outside shot.

5. Emeka Okafor.  Steady as they come.  Emeka Okafor is a rock in the locker room and a dependable double-double threat.  He won’t wow you, but he is a high character locker room presence that can help out a young team.

6. Ben Gordon.
  Its been a couple of mediocre years for Gordon.  He can come out and drop thirty a game, but is inconsistent.  That’s why he has garnered the sixth man label throughout his career.

7. Andre Drummond.  It was a surprise rookie year for Drummond and the spacing in the NBA worked in his favor.  He found plenty of opportunities to attack the rim and is a force rebounding the basketball.  He is still a major work in progress but his freshman campaign has put a major spotlight on this up and coming big man.

8. Charlie Villanueva.  Mired in the land of inconsistency, Villanueva can’t find ways to get legitimate playing time.  He has always possessed all the tools, but hasn’t been able to put them all together and has been mired on the bench for several years now.

9. Jeremy Lamb.  Being bounced around from the Rockets to the Thunder hasn’t helped Lamb and he ended up playing in the D-League for much of the season, though he flourished down there and with his play in the summer league, he has earned the right for a chance at the Thunder’s roster.

10. Hasheem Thabeet.  No other UConn Alumni has helped his basketball career more than Thabeet.  He was about to be out of the league, but the Thunder took a chance on the big man and it payed off.  Sure he isn’t going to be a starter, but he is a reliable big man and has begun to rebound much better.

11. A.J. Price.  It was a perfect opportunity for Price last season.  Wall was injured and he was awarded with a ton of minutes.  A.J. produced but not enough to stand out as a player to keep.  He’s been floating around training camps and is hoping to sign with the Timberwolves.

12. Jeff Adrien.  Jeff got some minutes with the Bobcats and did a good enough job.  He is a testament to hard work and perseverance.  He’ll get another opportunity with Charlotte and needs to prove his worth to earn a roster spot.  Unfortunately his height will always cause him to look over his shoulder at the next younger and cheaper power forward.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jim Calhoun: Remember Reggie

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Player Profile: Leon Tolksdorf

Looking Back:  Tolksdorf’s role on the team was a total mystery.   Without much playing time, there wasn’t much trust factor for the small forward.  So he rode the pine for much of the season but did have a shining moment, sinking three 3-pointers in rapid succession but never was able to duplicate that type of offense again.  He was mired as a mop up player or got in when no one else could get the job done or they were in foul trouble.

The Good: He’s shown that he can knock down the outside shot and has some size to him to not get knocked off a spot on defense.  There just isn’t a lot of game tape to point out a lot of his upside at the moment.

The Bad:  He hasn’t been able to rebound the basketball and for this team that is a necessity.  He’s literally a one dimension player at this point and needs to develop a dribble drive, post up game, or mid-ranged shot to stop teams from crowding him at the 3-point line.

Looking Ahead:  This is an important year for Leon.  If he can show an improvement in rebounding the basketball then he will play and anything he gives this team offensively will be a luxury.  His main focus should be clearing space and battling for those 50/50 balls.  With a lack of depth on the front line, the opportunity is there for Tolksdorf.  It is up to him to seize the opportunity and make the most of it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Coach Profile: Kevin Ollie

Looking Back:  Kevin Ollie had a remarkable season.  He inherited a program in disarray.  Their Hall of Fame coach retired, they had the departures of four key players in Oriakhi, Lamb, Drummond, and Smith.  On top of that, the NCAA slapped UConn with a post season ban, which the Big East piggybacked with a suspension of their tournament.  If things couldn’t be worse, Ollie also had to play with a seven month contract, which meant if he didn’t show results right away, his dream job could be short lived.  And what did he do?  He coached his butt off, knocking of a respectable Michigan State team early in the season and continued to have his team play at a high level.  The flaws of this team were too much to overcome and they ended up in the middle of the pack in the highly competitive Big East, which was more then anyone would’ve expected from this group.

The Good: He’s young, enthusiastic, and has a wealth of knowledge as a college and NBA player to lean on.  With that background, Ollie can come up with a solution to any problem that can arise on the basketball court.  He’s also proven that he can maximize the talent on his team which is the best asset that a coach can possess.  He is also a great role model for today’s athlete.  He didn’t have the pure athleticism nor opportunities that other players have had, but he did things the right way and earned his accolades through hard work, determination, and a humbling attitude. 

The Bad:  It is still unknown how Kevin Ollie will handle a team in the post season and a team expected to do well.  Even the Hall of Fame coach had problems with teams expected to achieve great things.  Even with some early success on the recruiting trail, Kevin Ollie hasn’t put together his own team yet and it will be interesting to see what type of players he brings in and how he can mold them into a team.

Looking Ahead:  With last year behind them, it feels like a weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Kevin Ollie, but this year might be just as important.  They will need to show the rest of the country and possible recruits that UConn and the AAC are still a viable option.  The only way to do that is to go out and win games against elite competition.  With a tough non-conference schedule, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so.  If Ollie can get the same effort out of this team as he did last year and with an influx of experience and talent, this team is primed to challenge to win that first ever AAC title and earn a hefty seed in the NCAA tournament.  

Monday, September 2, 2013