2008 Connecticut Huskies Basketball Preview
Last season, the Connecticut Huskies (24-9 overall, 13-5 Big East) under longtime coach Jim Calhoun finished fourth in their conference and went one and out in the NCAA Tournament, losing to San Diego 70-69. Connecticut, which has been rebuilding over the past two seasons, looks to be primed to once again compete for the league crown. That’s something that they haven’t done since the 2005-2006 season.
In front, seven-foot-three center Hasheem Thabeet (31.0 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 60.3 FG%, 69.8 FT%) returns after a prodigious sophomore season that saw him earn All-Big East and National Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was third in the nation in blocks. Senior forward Jeff Adrien (33.8 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 50.1 FG%, 61.6 FT%), another All-Big East player, returns as the club’s leading point producer and rebounder. Freshman forward Nate Miles looks to start at small forward. He could be one of the best frosh in the nation.
The Huskies offer a backcourt that’s simply one of the finest in the nation. Senior point guard A.J. Price (32.1 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.8 APG, 43.7 FG%, 74.6 FT%), who had off-season knee surgery, is a leader in every way. He could have an All-American year. Although shooting guard Jerome Dyson (27.0 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.3 FG%, 81.1 FT%) had off-court issues last year, he managed to put them behind him. Look for him to be more consistent on offense this season. His ball-handling, which he worked on this summer, has to improve. There’s some fine backup with senior Craig Austrie (22.3 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 37.6 FG%, 89.2 FT%) ably playing either guard spot. There are also some fine new guys who can play.
In 2006-2007, UConn did not make it to either the NCAA Tournament
or the NIT. Last year, they were knocked out in round one of the
Big Dance. This season, coach Calhoun, who’s starting his
23rd year with the team, has the chance to work with a group of
guys who have the talent and experience to go all the way in the