Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Play Time

UConn’s last exhibition game came against a Concordia team that lacked size, skill, and depth that the Huskies had in full abundance and it was evident early on when UConn pounded the paint and jumped out to an early double digit lead and never looked back.  They dominated in every aspect of the game, out rebounding Concordia by 23 and limited the transition scoring.  Ollie did a great job of playing his younger players and they all contributed.  While there wasn't much to really take from this massive blowout, this still was valuable experience for new players on the team heading forward, especially when their minutes will be in spurts.

Napier had another slow start to the game with only a steal in the first half.  He turned it on in the second half, hitting an early 3-pointer and then had four pretty assists before sinking a layup.  He played sparingly, only 14 minutes, and even though he didn’t score, he was more engaged in this game.  Boatright had a steal & dunk and a lay-up in the first half, but it was his court vision that really impressed.  He had two nice dimes in the first half and three in the second.  On top of that he didn’t have a single turnover and also snagged two steals.  Like Napier, he only played 18 minutes, but had a significant impact on the game.  If he can limit his turnovers this season, watch out.

Daniels only played 11 minutes but remained aggressive, hitting 5 of 6 from the line, grabbed 3 offensive boards, had a lay-up, and a jumper.  That’s not too bad in such a limited time.  Giffey had a great game.  He started off with a lay-up & one, a steal, and a block in the first half, but he turned it up in the second half.  He had a lay-up, three 3-pointers, two steals, two dunks, and two offensive rebounds.  He’s really confident in his game lately and it has shown with his play on the court.  Calhoun played a good chunk of this game, 24 minutes, and played well.  He had two lay-ups, and two steals in the first half, but then knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half.  His jumper is starting to come around on him.

An interesting battle for minutes will be between Kromah and Samuel for that fourth guard off the bench.  Samuels showed a lot of poise out there for a freshman.  He was first off the bench and made spectacular pass after spectacular pass, ending the night with 12 dimes with 4 turnovers.  He also had three lay-ups, and a jumper.  Kromah had his jumper working and drained three 3-pointers but cooled off after that.  Both showed flashes in this game had Samuels edging Kromah out, but only slightly.

The other battle to watch for is at the wide open center position.  Nolan got the start and played a solid 18 minutes.  He attacked the boards and helped UConn jump out to an early lead by snagging offensive rebounds.  He also showed the ability to knock down the jumper which he worked hard on during the summer.  So far he has the edge on the starting position. Brimah was first off the bench and played 15 minutes.  He immediately grabbed a rebound, which is a great sign.  He also had a block and a lay-up in the first half and followed that by a dunk and a block in the second half.  Olander has taken a dramatic fall down the roster.  He came in midway through the first half played five and a half minutes without a rebound.  He then came in late in the second half and only lasted two and a half minutes and still didn’t get a board.  Now take Facey.  He had 11 minutes and had four rebounds, one offensive and got to the line.  He did have two offensive fouls on moving screens, but he  thoroughly outplayed Olander.

Tolksdorf remains a mystery.  He took seven shots, all 3-pointers, and made 3 of them.  He did have four rebounds with one offensively, but this team doesn’t need another 3-point shooter.  They need rebounders.  Lenehan had a fantastic 5 minutes, hitting a 3-pointer, got to the line, had a steal and a lay-up.  Watts also got into the party and hit a free throw.

With a game like this there is little you can really take away from it.  It’s like playing your little brother.  Sure the rebounding was fantastic, but it really can’t translate over to the level of competition UConn will eventually play.  What they can take away is the outside shooting 14 of 28 and the play of Calhoun, Nolan, Kromah, Samuel, and Brimah.  They all looked great in their extended minutes and hopefully it can carry over against more elite teams, because play time is officially over.

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