Is anyone else just dying for the actual season to start?
Exhibition games are all well and good, but it’s awfully hard to judge UConn against American International and UMass Lowell, which got blasted Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun were nothing short of sensational, and Shabazz Napier was more effective than his stat line indicates (5 points, two assists, three rebounds).
“No one can really guard us in transition,” Calhoun said. “We’ve got the best backcourt, we’ve got shooters spotting up and guys who can get to the rim.”
It’s true: The Huskies are extremely dangerous on the break. But if they can’t rebound, they can’t run. It’ll be interesting to see how they do on the boards Friday versus Michigan State.
For now, let’s examine Sunday’s victory:
*We had an Enosch Wolf sighting in the second half, and the big fella got involved with a putback dunk that ballooned UConn’s lead to 69-46. Wolf (concussion) may get some legit minutes this season. I can envision the undersized frontcourt of Tyler Olander and DeAndre Daniels getting into some foul trouble.
* Calhoun earned the start over Niels Giffey and delivered 20 points in 22 minutes. He’s a stud, no question. Some freshmen hit a wall and lose confidence (DeAndre Daniels and Andre Drummond last year) while others never waver (Ryan Boatright). I have a feeling Calhoun will fall into the latter category.
“He doesn’t care if he makes or miss, he’s going to shoot the next one,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. “He wants the next shot. The wonderful thing about him is you don’t have to run any plays for him. He’s getting it off of just being a basketball player.”
*I believe DeAndre Daniels is the key to UConn’s season. If he’s aggressive and confident (as he was Sunday in a 15-point, 14-point, 4-block performance), the Huskies could surprise some people.
*UConn shot 29-for-45 from the free throw line. Two newcomers — R.J. Evans and Phil Nolan — combined to go 3-for-12. I’m not sure how much the Huskies will get from Nolan this year, but Evans, who scored UConn’s 100th point, should be a regular. The team is noticeably more engaged and energetic with him in the game.