Checking in from St. Thomas, where my mission to find shaving cream is finally complete.
I arrived last night at around 5:15, roughly the same time as UConn. With the exception of an hour-plus delay on my connecting flight from Puerto Rico, the trip went well. And any frustration with the delay was erased when our pilot stopped the plane to let an iguana cross the runway.
Anyway, on to the stuff that matters. UConn hosts Wake Forest tonight at 6:30 in the opening round of the 2012 Paradise Jam. As recent history tells us, the Huskies’ performance in tropical tournaments often sets the tone for the remainder of the season.
Wake Forest vs. No. 23 UConn
WHAT: Paradise Jam first-round game
WHEN: Friday, 6:30
WHERE: University of Virgin Islands
RECORDS: Wake Forest 1-0, UConn 2-0
UP NEXT: TBA vs. Iona/Quinnipiac
Cody Miller-McIntyre G 6-3 Fr.: 4-star recruit scored 10 pts vs. Radford
C.J. Harris G 6-3 Sr.: Leading returning scorer in ACC (17.6 ppg)
Travis McKie F 6-7 Jr.: 11 pts, 9 rebs vs. Radford
Devin Thomas F 6-9 Fr.: 10 pts, 8 rebs vs. Radford
Tyler Cavanaugh F 6-9 Fr.: 6 pts, 4 rebs vs. Radford
Madison Jones G 6-1 Fr.: 2 pts in 17 min. vs. Radford
Arnaud Adala Moto F 6-6 Fr.: 10 pts, 4 rebs, 3 steals vs. Radford
Ryan Boatright G 5-10 So.: Team-high 5.5 apg
Shabazz Napier G 6-0 Jr.: Leads team with 19 ppg
Omar Calhoun G 6-5 Fr.: 1 pt vs. Mich. State, 12 pts vs. Vermont
DeAndre Daniels F 6-8 So.: 9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Tyler Olander F 6-9 Jr.: 6.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4 bpg
R.J. Evans G 6-3 Sr.: 11 pts in 17 min. vs. Vermont
Niels Giffey F 6-7 Jr.: 3.5 ppg in 16.5 mpg
Enosch Wolf C 7-1 Jr.: 12 min. this season, 13 all of last year
Phil Nolan F 6-9 Fr.: Scored first career basket vs. Vermont
Leon Tolksdorf F 6-8 Fr.: Scoreless in 7 min. vs. Vermont
TRACKING OMAR: UConn’s freshman sensation has dominated against inferior competition (two Division II opponents and Vermont), but struggled against Michigan State. “I just want him to go out and play his brand of basketball — and that’s in attack mode,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. “It was good for him to see that ball go in the basket (versus Vermont).”
SCORING SHABAZZ: Believe it or not, Shabazz Napier, who averaged 5.8 assists a year ago, has just three in two games so far. He’s playing off-the-ball, and it appears his job is to score (19 points per game) rather than distribute.
GROWING UP FAST: Both UConn and Wake Forest rely heavily on inexperienced players. The team that gets the biggest contributions from their freshmen just may be the one that advances to the Paradise Jam semifinals.