2012-2013 Overall Rank: #79
Conference Rank: #10 Big East
Connecticut Team Page
Head Coach Jim Calhoun has had wondrous success during his time at Connecticut. He has three National Titles to his name. However, the beginning of the end may be upon him. With failing health in recent seasons, Calhoun has been forced to take numerous games off for surgery and healing. In his stead sat Assistant Coach George Blaney for those missed contests. In spite of his recent bike accident he seems to be in reasonable health coming into this season, Calhoun is most likely nearing retirement. Aiding this inevitability may be the NCAA sanctions brought down upon the Huskies in recent years. There have been recruitment violations and, most recently, academic standard failures which have led to a dreaded postseason ban for the 2012-2013 Huskies.
2011-2012 Record: 20-14, 8-10
2011-2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Calhoun
Coach Record: 618-233 at Connecticut, 866-369 Overall
Simply put, everybody is out. UConn’s best scorer, Jeremy Lamb, departed Storrs early for the NBA. So did Andre Drummond, UConn’s best defender and best recruit in ages. Also leaving, because of the postseason ban and no hope of tournament play if they stayed, were veteran big man Alex Oriakhi and swing forward Roscoe Smith. With the departure of these men, the Huskies are without much of their scoring and nearly all of their interior size and presence. Drummond and Oriakhi, although not the most effective offensive players, formed one of the best inside tandems in the nation as far as rebounding and protecting the glass. And with Lamb leaving, Connecticut lost their very best player. Although Lamb was prone to disappearing in spurts or relegating to others, he was a special offensive player. With the ability to score any way he liked, containing length and athleticism to beat men to the basket or shoot right over the top of them, much of UConn’s offense relied on Lamb. It is impossible to know who would have stayed if the Huskies didn’t face this postseason ban but with it in effect, much of the team’s starting five from a year ago fled town.
Connecticut was able to bring in a couple of highly touted recruits, although the class was nowhere near what UConn fans have come to expect, most likely because of the penalties. Who is coming to Storrs is Omar Calhoun, a top rated shooting guard and Philip Nolan, a long and slender power forward. It will be hard to expect these two men to immediately replace the holes left by the departing stars so much of the slack will need to be picked up by Huskies already in uniform. The greatest impact should be delivered by the smallest men: guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Although UConn has grown accustomed to dominating the glass and the inside game this past decade, the 2012-2013 team may be the first in a while controlled by their guard play.
Who to Watch:
With a depleted roster, the two starting guards, Napier and Boatright, are the players to focus on. Napier had some alpha dog issues a year ago. He liked taking big shots and lots of shots when a large majority of them probably should have gone to Jeremy Lamb. Now, with Lamb gone, the scoring load will actually fall on Napier by design. He will need some help though. Ryan Boatright, as a freshman, was suspended for a number of games for rules violations and disappeared in others. He needs to find more consistent playing time and production in his second year. The Huskies need him to be their second best player, a title he has the talent for but needs to back up. As scoring guards who can get to the rim, the most important improvement needs to come in their three point shooting as both men are average at best from down town.
If Jim Calhoun salvages something out of THIS one, we’ll know he deserves that Hall of Fame title and everything that comes with it. UConn seems pretty doomed this season. Nearly all of their top players left. Many of their desired recruits went in another direction. They did regain some of their lost scholarships but the postseason ban is the killer. With the strength of the conference and the lack of experience on this roster, it will be quite a surprise if the Huskies are able to pull out a USC-like season where the football Trojans, with no hopes of the postseason, turned out to be one of the best teams in the country.
Projected Postseason Tournament: Not eligible
Projected Starting Five:
Shabazz Napier, Junior, Guard, 13.0 points per game
Ryan Boatright, Sophomore, Guard, 10.4 points per game
Omar Calhoun, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
DeAndre Daniels, Sophomore, Forward, 3.0 points per game
Tyler Olander, Junior, Forward, 4.2 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#53 Shabazz Napier
#82 Ryan Boatright
Madness 2012 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#41 Omar Calhoun
#107 Phillip Nolan