UConn is relying heavily on a group of freshman this season. Jeremy Lamb, Roscoe Smith, and Shabazz Napier are all becoming vital players for the Huskies. Marcus Lynam has more from Storrs.
Tag Archives: Kemba Walker
UConn was very impressive over Thanksgiving break out in Maui. Marcus Lynam and Ryan Grace discuss three topics concerning the now 7th ranked Huskies.
- UConn extended their winning streak to 4 games on Saturday, when they defeated defending Big East Champ Cincinnati 38-17. They improve to 7-4 (4-2 in the Big East) on the year. The win also puts them one win away from heading to the program’s first ever BCS bowl (most likely the Fiesta Bowl out in Arizona). UConn heads down to Tampa to take on South Florida this Saturday to finish up the regular season. USF is coming off an impressive win at Miami, and would love nothing more than to ruin UConn’s BCS dreams. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 8pm.
- Jordan Todman had another great game on Saturday, as he rushed for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns on 31 carries. Todman has gone over 100 yards rushing in every game this season except one (@ Louisville). For his efforts Todman was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week. “Our coaches do a heck of a job, and me, I just pretty much do what they say,” Todman said after Saturday’s game. “I’ve got the talent and the ability and that helps, but they do the studying, they do all the work and they put us in a situation, a position to make plays and be successful.”
- UConn picked up two more commitments this weekend for their 2011 recruiting class. Deshon Foxx, a running back from Lynchburg, Virginia and offensive lineman Dalton Gifford of North Bridgton, Maine both committed to play for the Huskies next season.
- In Big East news, the conference announced on Monday that Texas Christian University (TCU) will join the Big East Conference in all sports starting in 2012. This is a major development in the realm of college football. TCU is currently ranked number three in the nation. TCU will bring the Big East big time television money because the Dallas/Fort-Worth television market (which is currently the 5th largest in the nation) will now be in play. This will give the Big East nine football-playing members and 17 basketball playing members. Most likely another football-playing school will be added, and there is a possibility of the Big East getting rid of a few basketball-only schools.
-In the latest College Basketball rankings, UConn sits at #7 in the AP poll. UConn has been unranked all year until now, but after winning the Maui Invitational last week, voters thoughts on the Huskies have changed. The only bigger jump by an unranked school since the poll went to 25 teams was by Kansas. It went to No. 4 after winning the 1989 Preseason NIT. The Maui Invitational Championship included three wins for UConn, over Missouri-Valley conference favorite Wichita State, second ranked Michigan State, and finally ninth ranked Kentucky. UConn was led by junior guard Kemba Walker, who is averaging 30 points per game this season, the best in college basketball.
- UConn is ranked number 9 in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Poll.
- UConn returns to the court tomorrow night when they take on New Hampshire at 7:30pm at Gampel Pavilion.
Going into this season not to many people outside of Storrs, Conn. thought the UConn Huskies were going to be a good basketball team. Frankly, not to many people outside Jim Calhoun, his assistants, and the players, may have thought this team had potential. Oh how things can change in three short days.
Heading out to Maui for the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Huskies had the opportunity to prove themselves on a national stage against a crop of very good teams; and boy did they ever. Behind an absolute mind-blowing performance from junior guard Kemba Walker, the Fightin’ Jim Calhouns proved to everyone that UConn is still an elite basketball program.
“We wanted to show the world we’re still UConn and that Coach Calhoun can still coach a team,” said Walker, the tournament’s MVP after scoring 90 points in three games.
After a tough opening round game against a pretty good Wichita State team, and a heavyweight fight in the semifinals against second ranked Michigan State, UConn finished up their week in paradise with a shellacking of ninth ranked Kentucky and their head coach John Calipari (Personally, and I feel I speak for most UConn fans when I say, there is no one else in college basketball I love beating more than Calipari).
Calhoun couldn’t have been more proud of his young team: “I fell in love with this team,” Calhoun said. “I know the effort is legitimate and as coaches that’s what you want all the time.”Walker made quite a name for himself as well. He played on an entirely different level than the rest of the field all week. Whenever UConn needed a basket, Kemba was there. UConn knew who was going to take the big shots, the fans knew it, and even the other teams knew it…yet they couldn’t stop him. His performance has bolted him into Player of the Year consideration (granted it’s still November), and has seen his draft stock explode upwards. One NBA scout told ESPN.com, “I’m not sure he’s going to be a star [in the NBA], but I just love how he played here and how hard he’s worked on his game. If he keeps this up all season, he’s a top-10 pick.”
While Walker was the star of the tournament, he did receive help from his supporting cast. Alex Oriakhi seems to finally be living up to his potential as he averaged 15 points and 11.67 rebounds in the tournament’s three games. Other players who seemed to really step up during the tournament, include Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, and Niels Giffey, all of whom are freshman. They played like experienced players, and seemed to make the right decisions in key moments. Their hustle and energy really sparked the Huskies.
UConn will now enjoy a nice flight back to campus, and then it’s time to get back to work as the team takes on New Hampshire next Tuesday night (November 30th).
- UConn defeated Vermont on Wednesday night, 89-73, behind a career high 42 points for junior guard Kemba Walker. Walker, who was 15-24 from the field, added 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. The 42 points tied Cliff Robinson’s record for a UConn game played in Hartford.
- Coming into the season everyone knew Kemba Walker would be THE GUY for the Huskies, and it was uncertain who his “wingmen” might be. Through two exhibition games and the first two real games, Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb, and Roscoe Smith have all shown they could possibly fill the role of the number two go-to scorer. Oriakhi has been impressive with his improvement from last year. Through two games he is averaging 11 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 3.5 blocks per game. Lamb, who was very impressive in the second exhibition game when he scored 17 points, has shown he is not afraid to fire up a shot…or 10. He’s a natural scorer, who will provide the Huskies with a great outside presence if he can consistently hit jump shots. Smith finally had a so-called “coming-out performance” on Wednesday night against Vermont. He finished with 15 points (including 3-3 from three-point range), 3 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. He was the highest ranked recruit for the Huskies, and will look to live up to his unbelievable potential the rest of the season.
- The Huskies will now head to Hawaii, for the annual Maui Invitational which kicks off on Monday. UConn’s first round game is against Wichita State on Monday Nov. 22. at 3pm on ESPN2. UConn could possibly match up with #2 Michigan State in the semifinal and even John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in the Final.
- UConn heads up to Syracuse this Saturday when they take on the Orange at 7pm on ESPNU. Syracuse (7-3, 4-2 in the Big East) is 0-2 in Big East home games this season, while UConn (5-4, 2-2 in the Big East) is 0-4 away from home this season. One team will break their streak this weekend.
- Jordan Todman is currently 2nd in the nation in rushing with over 140 ypg, but was left off the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back, list of 10 semi-finalists, which is ridiculous (It’s the second time in the last three seasons that the voters for this award have left a well-deserving UConn running back off the list, as they did the same to Donald Brown during the 2008 season.) Todman showed his gracious side and strong personality by saying: “It doesn’t bother me. That’s something based on everybody else’s opinion.”
- UConn needs just one more win this season to become bowl eligable for the fourth straight season. The Huskies have three games left to get win number six.
- UConn senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was named the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in last Thursday’s victory over Pittsburgh. Wilson had 11 tackles, including a sack, to lead a Connecticut defense that forced four turnovers and had three sacks in a 30-28 win against first-place Pittsburgh. Wilson is currently leading the BIG EAST in tackles with 95. He was also the leading tackler last season.
What seemed like a normal Wednesday in October, has actually been a pretty busy day for UConn Sports news.
The day started down in New York City at the Big East Conference Basketball Media Day. All of the 16 Big East coaches and select players traveled to the Big Apple and Madison Square Garden for the annual event. However, UConn found themselves in a not so familiar position as they were picked to finish 10th in the preseason rankings. “Well, I got a chance to be coach of the year,” head coach Jim Calhoun joked about the Huskies’ position. “We’re the most unknown team in the league,” he said, “I truly believe that.”
Last year UConn was picked to finish third in the conference, but ended the season near the bottom of the league. Calhoun and his Huskies hope to change that this year. “It’s not if you get knocked down, it’s if you get up and how you do,” Calhoun said.
Pittsburgh was picked to win the Big East.
There was one bright spot for UConn Basketball today, as Junior Point Guard Kemba Walker was selected the preseason All-Big East 1st Team. He was voted to the second-team last year as a sophomore.
The football team delivered some bad news today, as it was announced that starting quarterback, junior Cody Endres, has been suspended for the rest of the year. Reports are that the suspension is due to violations of university substance abuse policies. Endres was suspended early this season, missing the first three games. Since taking over for Zach Frazer in the second half of the Buffalo game, Endres has played pretty well. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions while going 1-1 as a starter.
Redshirt Freshman Michael Box is currently listed 2nd on the depth chart, and will most likely make his first career start Saturday when the Huskies travel to Louisville. Senior Zach Frazer, who was the starter before Endres, might be in the running to make his way back on the field as well. Head Coach Randy Edsall will have a lot to think about before kick-off on Saturday.
The Huskies, who are currently 3-3 (0-1 in the Big East), have been nothing but inconsistent all year, and have yet to live up to the high expectations set forth at the beginning of the season. With six games left in the season, UConn needs wins, and needs them fast if they hope to make a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season.
The UConn men’s basketball program has seen brighter days. Jim Calhoun has seen better days. The Hall-of-Fame head coach, and the program he has built into a perennial college basketball powerhouse, have both fallen on hard times. Just a year-and-a-half removed from reaching the 2009 Final Four, UConn has been in a steady decline since they walked off the court in Detroit’s Ford Field.
As it was announced a few weeks ago, the NCAA, after a year-long investigation, found eight violations into the UConn basketball program. The violations, which were centered around the recruitment of Nate Miles, cost two UConn coaches their jobs, millions of dollars in legal bills, and possibly the fall of Calhoun and the UConn program he has built. While UConn will have to wait till October to find out their punishment, it is easy to see how the program has been in a steady decline.
Going into last season there was some hope and buzz surrounding the program, as they we’re ranked as high as 14th in the preseason. This ranking came after losing A.J. Price, Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, and Craig Austrie from the 2009 Final Four team. Calhoun lost arguably his three best players, but the return of Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, and Kemba Walker, along with the incoming class of Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-Mcdaniel, gave the Husky faithful hope for the 2009-2010 season. However, the team was unable to play up to expectations, as they suffered many tough losses throughout the season. The program also took a hit, when Calhoun had to take a medical leave of absence in January. The team was able to get a few marquee wins as they beat #1 Texas, #3 Villanova, and #7 West Virgina, but were unable to put a considerable winning streak together. The Huskies missed the NCAA Tournament for just the second time since 1999, and headed to the NIT, where they once again were disappointing, as they lost to Virginia Tech in the second round. UConn finished with an 18-16 record.
Since that final game to the disappointing 2009-2010 season, UConn hasn’t seen much hope. During the spring signing period, UConn missed out on a few top national recruits in Corey Joseph, Brandon Knight, and Josh Shelby, settling for just one top-tier recruit in Roscoe Smith.
The notification of violations by the NCAA kept the bad news coming, and as Calhoun and his program prepare for next season, the bad news might keep coming. Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi are the only two returning starters (It’s hard to even count Oriakhi as a starter for as bad as he played last season), along with Ater Majok, Jamal Coombs-Mcdaniel, and Donnell Beverely who all received decent amounts of playing time last season (none were huge contributors). Calhoun has a decent incoming class for the 2010 season, highlighted by Smith, but the Hall-of-Fame coach will have his work cut out for him next season.
Many college basketball experts, including ESPN’s Andy Katz and Dick Vitale, are not to high on the 2010-2011 UConn Huskies. Vitale recently released his Preseason Top-40 teams for next year. Want to know where UConn landed on that list? I’ll give you one guess….. Well, if you guessed NO-Where, then you are correct. That’s right, the two-time National Champion, 16-time Big East Champion, with a Hall-of-Fame coach, can’t even find itself in a preseason TOP-40 poll.
It’s a sad decline for Calhoun and his Huskies, hopefully for his sake, the players sake, and for the UConn faithful’s sake, the team is able to move on in the right direction and get this program back to where it belongs…at the top.
The UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball team won their second straight, and seventh overall, national championship on Tuesday night(April 6, 2010) when they defeated Stanford in the National Championship Game. ESPNU Campus Connection Reporter Marcus Lynam caught up with students to get their reaction to women’s title.
In case you missed anything over the past month concerning UConn football or basketball, this “News and Notes” post will fill you in with anything and everything UConn.
- UConn started spring practice on March 16 in Storrs. They practice three times a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
- Head Coach Randy Edsall is excited about the 2010 season, and is looking for younger players to step during spring drills.
- The Spring Game aka the “Blue and White Game” will be held April 17, at Noon at The Rent. The event will be a little different this year, as Coach Edsall has decided to bring back former players to be the Honorary Captains of the two teams. The former players selected were Dan Orlovsky, Ryan Krug and Alfred Fincher from the 2004 team that won the first ever bowl game in program history, as well as Donald Brown and Tyler Lorenzen from the 2008 team.
- UConn held its annual Pro-day on March 25. UConn seniors that participated were Robert McClain, Andre Dixon, Marcus Easley, Lindsey Witten, Brandon Dillon, Robbie Vaughan, Mike Hicks, Dan Ryan, Desi Cullen, Brad Kanuch. Over 25 NFL scouts were on hand for the event. Many experts expect that up to four Huskies will be drafted in April’s NFL Draft. The players who have a good shot at being drafted include, running back Andre Dixon, receiver Marcus Easley, defensive end Lindsey Witten, and cornerback Robert McClain.
- Head Coach Randy Edsall made a few position changes after the first week and a half of practice. Senior outside linebacker Kijuan Dabney will be moved to safety, and freshman safety Andrew Opoku, who is 6 feet 4, will move to outside linebacker. The ‘ole swith-er-roo.
- The Huskies begin their season on September 4th, when they travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to face the college football powerhouse Michigan Wolverines.
- After a disappointing finish to a very disappointing season, as the Huskies lost in the second round of the NIT at Virginia Tech, the Huskies have begun to move forward, as they are forgetting about this past season and starting to prepare for next year.
- UConn will head into the offseason with a few question marks: Who will replace the production of Stanley Robinson, Jerome Dyson, and Gavin Edwards? Will Kemba Walker stay for his Junior year? Will UConn land another top-flight recruit? Will Alex Oriahki and Ater Majok improve and become more consistent? Will any players transfer?
- Speaking of transfering…it is almost certain that the Huskies will have at least one, possibly two players transfer from the program. The most likely candidates are Darius Smith and Jamaal Trice.
- The Huskies got a commitment from two players this past weekend. One is still in high school, while the other is already on the team. Kemba Walker will return for his Junior season, and will most likely be one of, if not the best, point guards in the nation next year. The other player to commit to the Huskies is point guard Shabazz Napier of Lawrence Academy. Napier is currently listed as a Junior, but is in the process of reclassifying as a Senior, and will most likely be the fifth recruit for the 2010-2011 season. He is currently ranked the 9th best point guard in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com.
- The Huskies got a verbal commitment from an in-state product. E.O. Smith Forward Tyler Olander, a three-star prospect, made his verbal commitment to his hometown Huskies. He picked UConn over offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Wake Forest.
- Speaking of recruiting….Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant put together an update of how this years recruiting is going. Possibly really good news for the Huskies.
- Coach Jim Calhoun has pledged he is close to signing a contract extension that will keep him at the school for 5 more years.
The UConn Huskies out-fought the West Virginia Mountaineers Monday night, in a Big East fist fight. In a very physical contest, UConn used the play of Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, and Stanley Robinson, to secure their third straight victory.
Coming off his first ever Big East Player of the Week Award, for his play last week, Walker led the Huskies with 21 points as he went 14-17 from the free-throw line. His massive one-handed dunk with less than a minute to go, put the seal on the win and made the XL Center go crazy.
The NCAA Tournament hopes are alive for the Huskies, as the win over West Virginia is their third over a top-10 team this season(Texas and Villanova). If the Huskies can win on Sunday, which is the home finale and Senior Day, then they will put themselves on the right side of the “bubble”.