#66 Connecticut Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Connecticut Huskies

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #66
Conference Rank: #5 AAC

Connecticut Team Page#66 Connecticut Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Connecticut Basketball Tickets

Not surprisingly Connecticut suffered through a pretty tough 2014-2015 campaign. But that still resulted in a 20 win season and a trip to the AAC Tournament finals and the NIT. In the NIT, the Huskies lost to Arizona State. It was a brief postseason, but the young Huskies will be better off with that experience. With a great recruiting class and a big name transfer, Coach Kevin Ollie has the weapons to be a very dangerous team on the national landscape.

2014-15 Record: 20-15, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Kevin Ollie
Coach Record: 72-33 at Connecticut, 72-33 overall

Who’s Out:
Connecticut fans hoped Ryan Boatright could be the next great guard that led the Huskies to the Final Four and beyond. Boatright had a fine senior season, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals, but the great run was not to be. Boatright carried this team for large stretches at a time and he is not easily replaceable. Terrence Samuel is transferring to Penn State after averaging 20.4 minutes per game as a sophomore. Samuel wasn’t the most productive player around during those minutes, averaging 3.6 points and 1.6 assists per game, but he was a solid ball handler. Rakim Lubin, a 6-8 forward, has also transferred after seeing limited action as a freshman.

Who’s In:
There are only four eligible newcomers this year, but all four are very, very good. Seton Hall transfer Sterling Gibbs averaged 16.3 points and 3.8 assists with the Pirates last year. He is a great all-around scorer and a solid ball handler. Gibbs’ experience is a huge boost to a relatively inexperienced backcourt. With Gibbs, the Huskies will not have to rely as heavily on point guard Jalen Adams. However, Adams is a great talent and will likely be starting from day one. Adams is more than a point guard though; he is a superb scorer and should be the next great UConn guard. The frontcourt adds Cornell transfer Shonn Miller and incoming freshman Steven Enoch. Miller led the Big Red last year with 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. The competition will be tougher, but Miller is a good player who can make an impact at Connecticut. Enoch is a big 6-10, 245 pound forward who will need some conditioning before he is ready to play major minutes. His ceiling is really high though and sooner or later Enoch will be a great player in the AAC.

Who to Watch:
Rodney Purvis, Daniel Hamilton and Amida Brimah figure to step back into their starting roles. Purvis, a 6-4 junior, was quite productive during his first season with UConn after transferring in from North Carolina State. He knocked down 36.0 percent of his attempts from long range and was second on the team behind Boatright with 11.6 points per game. Like Purvis, Hamilton figures to take on a bigger role in the scoring department too. He too was a double digit scorer, but the 6-7 forward also led the Huskies with 7.6 rebounds. He even added 3.7 assists. Hamilton is a dynamic player who can do it all and that was just as a freshman. The expectations are rising and Hamilton’s versatility will give opposing defenders fits. Brimah, a seven-footer, is the presence in the paint. He has been a great shot blocker for a couple years now, but he started to turn into a solid scoring option last season. With Brimah manning the paint, Hamilton hitting the glass and Purvis providing much of the scoring punch, Connecticut has all the weapons they need to be a major threat.

Final Projection:
The newcomers will join Purvis, Hamilton and Brimah to form a solid group of seven players for Coach Ollie. But the talent and experience goes beyond those seven. Omar Calhoun averaged 5.5 points per game and the senior guard is capable of knocking down shots. Sam Cassell, Jr. showed some potential as a sophomore. He averaged 3.9 points per game and should be a solid option off of the bench. Senior Phillip Nolan and junior Kentan Facey are both experienced big men. In fact, Facey started 22 games last season and could step back into a starting role if Coach Ollie wants to play big. With that kind of versatility and talent, Connecticut will be a tough team in the AAC.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jalen Adams, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Sterling Gibbs, Senior, Guard, 16.3 points per game (at Seton Hall)
Rodney Purvis, Junior, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Daniel Hamilton, Sophomore, Forward, 10.9 points per game
Amida Brimah, Junior, Center, 9.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.1 (259th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.0 (25, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (146, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.6 (34, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (164, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.5 (121, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (114, 1)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (148, 7)
Assists Per Game: 11.9 (229, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (78, 4)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#10 Daniel Hamilton
#44 Amida Brimah

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#22 Jalen Adams
#54 Steve Enoch


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews