Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Giving Back: Thabeet and Basketball Without Borders

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ater-native Plans

If the rumors of Ater’s likely departure have trickled into the press, then it is assuredly a sealed deal and that is a tough loss to a team already in flux. There is no reason yet to why he would not play for UConn, but only two reasons come to mind: Either it is outside motives that will force him to play overseas (Money) or it is the upcoming investigation that would null and void his eligibility. Whatever it is, his departure will put a giant hole in an already questionable position.

Majok has NBA athleticism and would be a lottery pick if he could find some fundamentals. UConn is going to lose their only legitimate shot blocker and it effects how the guards play their own man. They can’t let their man get into the lane and expect someone there to protect the rim. The worst part is that Majok was making major gains in his game throughout the summer. He had a better grasp of his 15-foot jumper and looked to be stronger and more comfortable with the ball in his hands.

This is a golden opportunity for Charles Okwandu. He looked to be battling for that back up position behind Majok and now he is handed a ton of minutes and a starting slot. It is up to him to hold on to it though. He has the length to man the position and there is no assurance that he can play a whole 30 minutes without fouling out of the game, which was a major issue with his play. He’ll need to provide a rebounding presence too. The ball is now in his hand, he has to make the most of this situation.

It would be a huge surprise if Enosch Wolf could come in and play a ton of minutes. He is just to raw of a talent at this point. He has the length but he would be outsized by 20 to 30 pounds in the post. If he can come in and show some tenacity with rebounding and boxing out, then he should serve well, but without seeing a ton of film on him, there is no knowing what he can do.

This team is going to have to adjust on the fly here. They’ll have an open eligibility spot, but this close to the opening of school, there is no one out there to help. It will be up to what they have now on the roster and hope that Okwandu and Wolf mature quickly, because they’ll be thrust into the fire.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Player Profile: Donnell Beverly

Looking Back: Donnell Beverly had a solid year for what he was expected to do. He filled in nicely, gave Walker a breather, and also let him play the two guard. Beverly played under control and almost never turned the ball over. His defense was effective, keeping his defender in front of him, but he wasn’t known for his steals or charges. His major flaw was on the offensive output. His jumper was iffy and he had trouble getting to the rim, but he wasn’t asked to score or look for his shot, and only took it as the last resort.

The Good: He is reliable. He isn’t going to be a flashy player or a double digit threat, but he is one of those glue players that all good teams need to be successful. His major asset is his ball handling. He will be able to help out against full court pressure and also give Kemba a chance to move without the ball.

The Bad: He hasn’t shown any consistent offense. While he did have a break away dunk, he doesn't have a quick first step or a way to create his own offense. Will he be able to handle 25-30 minutes a game and will that interpret into improved numbers? No one knows what Beverly can do and that uncertainty could have him leapfrogged by an underclassman or starting next to Walker.

Looking Ahead: He will get his opportunity to show his skills now that Darius Smith has transferred. The team will need every scrap of offense that Donnell can give. He should have the role that Craig Austrie played in his senior season. He’ll need to be flirting with double digits in points next season and be much more of a distributor. 1.6 points and 1.3 assists are not going to cover it, but he will be getting more then 10 minutes a game. It is up to Beverly now to grab this opportunity and run with it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Enosch Wolf

Enosch Wolf is a 7-1 and 210 pound center from Germany. While he is a bit raw, he still possesses an athletic frame. He runs the floor well and can finish around the rim, but he needs to bulk up to be able to compete against comparable talent. He has been beating up on smaller players in his division and it is still undetermined how he will handle being out muscled. Teams like Georgia Tech, Boston College, Georgetown, and Oklahoma have all shown interest in his services. His father played for Ohio State but the school didn’t show him any interest. He didn’t make the German National team, and it is unlikely that he will make an immediate impact at UConn. He looks to become a long term project.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Player Profile: Ater Majok

Looking Back: Majok didn’t have the type of year that he and the rest of the Husky Nation wanted him to have. He was over reaching on defense and drew far to much contact on shot blocking attempts. It left him in foul trouble and he never got consistent minutes to build up a good game sweat. When he did get into a flow, he showed some good signs of hustling and flashes of the length that had Calhoun salivating.

The Good: He is super athletic and has all the tools to become an NBA caliber player. His energy is amazing and he doesn’t mind diving on the ground for loose balls. He has a nice shot and is a solid free throw shooter. He has the potential to be a shot blocking beast, and has shown flashes but tends to use his body instead of his length to defend, which tends to get him into foul trouble.

The Bad: Ater is lacking in the fundamentals from post play to blocking out. He struggled with finding his role in the offense, taking ill-advised long ranged shots or rushing plays around the basket. While he does have a nice touch, he is best suited in taking the elbow jumper once in awhile and focus on attacking the basket. He isn’t a great rebounder yet and tends to wait for the ball to come down instead of going after it.

Looking Ahead:
Majok should have a great season. He looks focused and if he finds a post game then he could be a primary weapon on this team. He should also be the anchor of the defense with his natural shot blocking ability, but all of this hinges on his ability to play defense without fouling. There is a ton of options at Calhoun’s disposal at Ater’s position and Majok needs to show the improvement everyone expects out of him or he will lose valuable playing time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet Niels Giffey

Niels Giffey is a 6-foot-7, 205 pound, versatile small forward from Berlin, Germany. He is considered one of the top players in that country, shining in several national games. He was widely coveted by big named schools such as Michigan, Louisville, UCLA, and Gonzaga, but chose UConn because of his love for Ray Allen. Giffey has a nice outside shot, hitting 46% from deep, isn’t afraid to knock down free throws late in tight ballgames, and he also has an above the rim game. The major knock to his game is his ball handling. He tends to dribble himself into trouble. He should thrive in Calhoun’s pick and roll offense, because he has shown that he can catch and shoot effectively, which is something UConn has been lacking. He is also a solid defender, even taking on defending the center position. While he is an elite overseas player, he will have some adjustment to the college game.

Monday, August 2, 2010