2009-2010 Connecticut Huskies Basketball Preview
Head coach Jim Calhoun has done a fine job retooling the Connecticut Huskies (31- 5 overall, 15- 3 Big East). In 2007, they missed the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. In 2008, they were back in the March Madness mix and last year they made it to the Final Four. This season, Connecticut will be a force in the league and in the NCAA Tournament.
The Huskies played a balanced game last season, placing second in scoring offense (78.3 PPG) and fourth in scoring defense (64.2 PPG). They were third in field goal percentage (47%) but seventh from downtown (34%) and ninth in free throws (68%). The team excelled at rebounding, notching a plus-8.9 rebound margin, which placed them second in the league.
The club has lost a host of players, including forward Jeff Adrien (13.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.2 BPG) and center Hasheem Thabeet (13.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.2 BPG). Senior forward Stanley Robinson (8.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.2 APG) looks ready to post a breakthrough season. Senior center Gavin Edwards (3.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.3 APG), who runs the court well and has a soft touch shot, will need to contribute more after being primarily a backup. He needs to toughen up in order to reach the next level. Center Charles Okwandu (0.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.2 APG) could also be a viable candidate for the top spot. Freshman forward Ater Majok, who boasts a seven-foot-four wingspan, could contribute immediately as could top recruit swingman Alex Oriakhi. There are question marks but there’s also potential in the Connecticut frontcourt.
The starting backcourt is one of the best in the league. It’s anchored by sophomore Kemba Walker (8.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.9 APG) and senior Jerome Dyson (13.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.2 APG). Walker, who made the All-Big East Rookie Team, is fast and looks ready to play a bigger role. Dyson, who can be inconsistent at time, is a tenacious player. The bench is inexperienced and questionable and the team will miss the three-point shooting of A.G. Price, who contributed 14.7 PPG. Still, the starters are prime.
This team’s success is dependent on the performance of incoming frosh players and the breakthrough play of a few returning guys. There’s talent and skill on the outside. The key will be the inside play. A third or fourth place finish and another trip to the NCAA Tournament look to be in this team’s future.