The Huskies are off until Saturday, which means we have ample time to analyze the non-conference portion of UConn’s season.
Let’s review the hot topics:
*Kevin Ollie’s contract extension: It seems to be a matter of when, not if. Ollie has fulfilled everything that Warde Manuel could have possibly requested. UConn is 9-2 and, minus a stinker versus New Hampshire, has played hard and played well every game. Can’t ask for much more than that.
What’s more: When you watch Ollie operate and watch the players respond to him, he just has the “look” of the next UConn basketball coach. It feels right. You get the sense that Ollie gives the program a shot to overcome all the conference realignment drama (a developing concern). So why mess with a good thing?
UConn apparently wanted to make sure the team’s grades were up-to-par before considering an extension. First semester grades should be finalized this week (at the latest), so it’s possible that Ollie has a new contract before the Huskies’ next game. Unless Manuel isn’t sold, there isn’t reason to wait any longer.
*Rebounding: We’re beating a dead horse with this one. Let’s be honest: UConn isn’t rebounding because its big men aren’t very good. It’s not rocket science. DeAndre Daniels, while talented, is a wing. Neither Tyler Olander nor Enosch Wolf has proved to be a starting Big East center. Chances are, the Huskies will continue to get outrebounded in Big East play. If Olander, Daniels and Wolf can box-out and become more aggressive, maybe the margin won’t be crippling.
*Team MVP: Shabazz Napier — and it’s not even close. He’s excelled off-the-ball and, more recently, has been a tremendous facilitator (23 assists and six turnovers in past three games). I doubt you can name 10 point guards in the country better than Napier.
*Need More: DeAndre Daniels. Of all the frontcourt players, Daniels clearly has the highest ceiling. There’s a reason he was ranked as the nation’s No. 1o recruit in the class of 2011. He’s hit double-figures in three straight games and is averaging 10.1 points and 4.3 boards for the season, but the Huskies will need more — particularly in that latter category — once the competition picks up. I’m not sure Olander or Wolf can improve much. I’m certain that Daniels can.