Monday, June 2, 2014

Grading The Huskies

Shabazz Napier: A+. What more do you want from your best player? 99% of the offense flowed through him and he delivered more than not. He hit big time shots, carried the team on his back when both Boatright and Daniels struggled, and proved all the doubters wrong. Add leadership and sprinkle in a bit of selflessness and toughness and you have one of the best players ever to wear a UConn jersey.

Ryan Boatright: B+. During much of the regular season, Boatright’s scoring numbers were down. To say he struggled would be an understatement. He reverted back to his dribbling into double teams, getting caught in the air, not finishing plays around the rim, and displaying a frustration on the court. His grade heading into the NCAA tournament would probably have been a C+, but something clicked. All those blemishes disappeared and Boatright became this lock-down, clutch shooting, and decision maker that UConn fans thrived to see from him.

DeAndre Daniels: A. The one knock against Daniels was his consistency. One game he would have NBA scouts slobbering and then come out the next game and lay a big egg. To his credit, he was the only low post threat on the team and the majority of the defensive schemes were directed his way. It wasn’t until the Louisville loss on the last regular season game that he found his groove and from there, he was unstoppable. He had everything going from turnaround jumpers, pick and pop 3-pointers, to slashes to the rim that culminated with monstrous dunks. His superior play in the post season moved up his grade from a B+ to an A.

Neils Giffey: B. Every good team needs a Giffey. They called him the glue of the team and his versatility allowed Ollie to play him in a multitude of situations. He could help break the press, had deadly though streaky range, battled down low for boards, and played great defense. He did all the little things that don’t always show up in the statistics but he was willing to do it.

Terrance Samuel: B. For much of the season, people questioned if Samuel would ever get a chance to play. With Napier, Boatright, and Kromah as the three guard rotation, Samuel got only a sprinkling of minutes late in blowouts, but that would soon change. Both Kromah and Boatright struggled at times and that opened the door for Samuel to step in and the freshman guard took full advantage. He showed a slashing ability that caught teams off guard and had numerous lay-ups in crucial situations that helped jump start a lagging offense.

Lasan Kromah: B-. It was a tale of two seasons for Kromah. He had a great start to the year and immediately established himself as the third wheel in the three guard rotation, but then his game tailed off. He no longer was getting those easy lay-ups or knocking down shots and that carried over to his defense. He left the door open for Samuel to take his minutes and the freshman took advantage.

Amidah Brimah. C+. The one word to describe Brimah is upside. He has a natural ability with the ball in his hands and has already developed a better offensive game then Thabeet had at the end of his. Brimah finishes plays strong and has a soft touch with the basketball that with practice should have him develop a 15-footer and a 70% free throw shooter. His biggest development will be on the rebounding department. He had problems holding and establishing good position for rebounds. Even though the new rules will hinder the big men in the NCAA, Brimah will need to control his hands on defense. It caused him too many needless fouls that had him in and out of ball games.

Nolan: C. Nolan looked primed to take the next leap as a big man. He showed promise at the end of last season and ended up being UConn’s best low post player, but he never took the step this year. His rebounding was below average and his post play was non-existent. The one thing he did great was rotate on the defensive end. He took charge after charge, giving up his body for this team.

Tyler Olander: D+. It is easy to pile on Olander. He felt more comfortable playing 15-feet and out but he was stuck in a big man’s body. When put in the game, he got pushed around. There is no denying his energy he put on the court, hustled, and never complained when his role diminished like other big men that had won a championship with this team had. In the end, he had the last laugh, winning two National Titles.

Kentan Facey: D+. Facey just couldn’t crack into significant minutes for a team desperate for someone to rebound. He did show flashes on the court but unlike Samuel, Ollie didn’t trust him in game time situations.

Omar Calhoun: F. This was supposed to be the bounce back year for Omar. He was coming off hip surgery and was finally playing without pain. He looked good early on and was even the second best player in some of those earlier games, but that disappeared. Be it confidence, unknown injury, or bad luck, but each negative play or miss began to snow ball until he couldn’t stop it. Ollie just couldn’t afford to have him on the court and he had to languish on the bench and watch UConn’s magical run.

Leon Tolksdorf: F. It wasn’t like he didn’t have a shot at getting minutes but Leon just couldn’t find the balance in his game. He kept taking ill advised threes and couldn’t rebound the basketball. It all added up to him playing in mop up time and not having a real defined role on the team.

2 comments:

Curtis said...

Great write-up. I would have been ready to give Giffey an A- had he shot a little better in the tournament. He may be the one guy whose potential grade (in my opinion) actually went down in the month of march.

I think I might have graded Brimah slightly higher when you consider he was battling an injury late in the season and pretty much nothing was expected from him. I'm excited to see how he bounces back from surgery next year. If he can learn to play defense without fouling I think he has the potential to be a game changer on the floor.

Thanks again for your continued writing.

David Gillett said...

Thanks for reading. It is hard to tell if Brimah's injury really hurt his game since his productivity never really dipped. Hopefully he will make the next progression in his development next season because UConn will need him.