Thursday, October 31, 2013

Open Season

UConn opened its season with an exhibition game against Southern Connecticut University and the upstart Owls took an early 3 to 2 lead but powered by DeAndre Daniels, Ryan Boatright, and the high powered UConn offense, the Huskies pulled away and never looked back.  There was plenty of rust, especially with the jumpers, and Ollie mixed and matched different line-ups throughout the game, but there were some great signs in the new players like Brimah, Kromah, and Samuel and encouraging signs from the still developing front court.  In the end, UConn had too much fire power, 44 points off the bench, and 51 points in the paint, for SCSU to keep up with and pulled off the convincing victory.

Napier had the first points of the game on a jumper seconds into the game, but other than a few nice assists, he was a non-factor for much of the game.  He more then likely did’t force the issue and tried to let the game come to him but this team will need more from him in upcoming games.  Boatright had his jumper working.  He hit two 3-pointers, a jumper, and had two lay-ups.  When his jumper is working, his whole arsenal opens up.  This was a great start to the year for him and hopefully builds his confidence which had waned at the end of last year.

The offense flowed through Daniels for much of the game.  He had a four lay-ups, two jumpers, two dunks, ten boards and three blocks.  He was a bit sloppy with the basketball though and had six turnovers.  With the basketball in his hands so much and little help offensively from Boatright and Napier, Daniels played aggressively which is what this team needs.

Coming off a major rehab, Calhoun had little court time this summer, but he shook the rust off pretty fast.  He hit an early jumper, had a block, and an offensive rebound, but then missed two lay-ups.  He had a steal, a turnover, a lay-up, and a jumper in the second half.  UConn fans will need patience with Omar while he catches up with the rest of the team.  Giffey had a quick start and got a rebound, a steal, and a lay-up, but then had two turnovers and three missed 3-pointers.  In the second half he had a dunk and a 3-pointer.  It was good to see him take those outside shots though.  He is one of the best shooters on the team.

UConn needs one thing from Olander, rebounding.  He had two of his three boards early in the game and was benched four minutes in.  He did have three steals but also took a 3-pointer which is not what this team needs from him. It wasn't a good start for him. Nolan played a well rounded game and had a team high three offensive rebounds.  On top of that, he had two jumpers, a steal and a lay-up.  It was a great first outing and has placed himself as the prime recipient for the starting center position.

Samuel had a good game and found ways to get to the line and had a lay-up. Facey played sparingly but did have a lay-up.  Tolksdorf came in at the end of both halves and had two nice 3-pointers but also played sloppy defense.  Kromah had several steals, got to the line, and had a lay-up.  He added a nice spark off the bench.  The biggest surprise was Brimah who made an immediate impact with five blocks, two jumpers, and a dunk.  His length is what this team didn't have last year and will make a major impact.

It will be interesting heading forward to see how the front court shapes out.  Right now Nolan looks like the more competent starter but Brimah adds that anchor defensively right now.  Olander is quickly sliding down the depth chart if he doesn’t rebound better.  This team still needs to clean up some of the sloppy turnovers and get back on defense better, but Ollie has so many options on this roster.  In all, it was a great start for the team with a lot of the young players getting their first sips court time.  Hopefully that will give them the thirst in practice to work hard and earn more playing time.


Matias Nino said...

So pumped for this season!!!!

Curtis said...

Thanks for the thorough write-up. I wasn't able to watch the game and this was great.

Really excited about Brimah. From the very limited video I have seen, he looks like he plays a smoother game than Thabeet did at this point in his career. If he can rebound consistently, he will eat up most of Olander's minutes.

David Gillett said...

I am also pumped up for the season. Brimah came in and made an immediate impact on the defensive end. At least he doesn't have the pressure to produce right away like Thabeet had, because of the emergence of Nolan.