#53 Connecticut Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Connecticut Huskies
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #53
Conference Rank: #4 American
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Coach Dan Hurley had a tough debut season at Connecticut. The Huskies went just 16-17 overall and finished 6-12 in American Athletic Conference action. Jalen Adams is a big loss after leading the team with 16.9 points per game, but the other four starters are back. That was a young UConn team that Coach Hurley had to deal with last season. Now they are growing up and ready to make a big push up the conference pecking order. A return trip to the NCAA Tournament may be another year away, but expect the Huskies to make big strides in 2019-2020 and head into life back in the Big East on an upward trajectory.
2018-19 Record: 16-17, 6-12
2018-19 Postseason: None
Coach: Dan Hurley
Coach Record: 16-17 at Connecticut, 167-122 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jalen Adams, Guard, 16.9 ppg
Tarin Smith, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Eric Cobb, Forward, 3.7 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Christian Vital, Senior, Guard, 14.2 ppg
Alterique Gilbert, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Josh Carlton, Junior, Forward/Center, 9.0 ppg
Tyler Polley, Junior, Forward, 8.4 ppg
Sidney Wilson, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 4.6 ppg
Brendan Adams, Sophomore, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Key New Players:
Akok Akok, RS Freshman, Forward
James Bouknight, Freshman, Guard
Jalen Gaffney, Freshman, Guard
Richie Springs, Freshman, Forward
R.J. Cole, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Howard, not eligible
Alterique Gilbert and Christian Vital return to lead the backcourt. Gilbert dished out 3.6 assists and 12.6 points per game. If he can finally stay healthy for an entire season, Gilbert should be an All-AAC caliber point guard. Vital has been known for his streakiness, but last year he connected on 40.9 percent of his three-point attempts and averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Another season like that and the Huskies will have a very dynamic backcourt duo. With sophomores Sidney Wilson and Brendan Adams gaining a year of experience and freshmen Jalen Gaffney and James Bouknight ready to at least add quality depth right away, Connecticut has plenty of options on the perimeter. The frontcourt should not be an issue either with Josh Carlton and Tyler Polley leading the way. Carlton had a great sophomore season, averaging 9.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Polley is more of a big guard who stretches the defense with his outside shooting ability. The Huskies do need to find a backup for Carlton in the paint and the hope is redshirt freshman Akok Akok is ready to at least provide some defense and rebounding off the bench. If that happens, UConn should have the depth they need to end their three year postseason drought.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.8 (130th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.3 (175, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (163, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.9 (188, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (185, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.4 (175, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.0 (274, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (157, 8)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (223, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (176, 8)
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#67 James Bouknight
#93 Akok Akok
#100 Jalen Gaffney