Monthly Archives: June 2010

UConn News and Notes: June 29, 2010

Overall it’s been a pretty quiet month for UConn athletics, which is to say a good thing. After a rough May with all of the NCAA Violations issues, UConn athletics can start to get focused on the 2010-2011 school year. Here are the latest news, links, and nuggets on UConn sports.

Stanley Robinson

– Former UConn Forward Stanley Robinson was drafted last week by the Orlando Magic as the 59th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Robinson was expected to go earlier (was once considered a possible lottery pick), but had to settle for the third to last pick in the draft. While his contract will not be as big as he hoped, he might have ended up in the perfect place for him to grow. He’s going to an Orlando team that has become an annual NBA Championship contender. He will get to play with players such as Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson. Sticks has a great opportunity to make the roster and grow as a player in Orlando. Congrats Stanley.

– In other UConn Basketball news… It looks like Jim Calhoun is set to announce within the next few days that Kevin Ollie and Glenn Miller will join the UConn basketball staff, as the UConn men’s basketball team’s new assistant coach and director of basketball administration, respectively. Ollie and Miller will replace Patrick Sellers and Beau Archibald, who each resigned last month in the wake of the NCAA’s announcement of alleged recruiting violations by the program.

– The UConn Football team is in the midst of summer workouts as they prepare for the 2010 season, a season with a great deal of hope and expectations. Many college football writers, reporters, and even fans of other schools are looking at UConn to the Big East Champs this season. Rivalry Esq., a respected Big Ten Blog, put out its summer bowl selections, and they seem pretty high on the Huskies.

– UConn Football has already picked up four recruits for the Class of 2011. The Huskies recently held their skills camp for high school players, which is a place where the coaches usually extend offers to players they like, so even more commitments could be coming soon. The four recruits already on board are running back Max DeLorenzo, quarterback Michael Nebrich, offensive lineman Paul Nwokeji, and defensive back David Stevenson.

Lawrence Wilson

– UConn senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson and senior offensive guard Zach Hurd have both been named preseason All-American by the Sporting News. Both players were selected to the third team.

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UConn Basketball Progam In a Free Fall?

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.

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UConn Sports News and Notes – June 2010

News and notes from around UConn sports over the past month.

Recent UConn News:

– Men’s Basketball player Darius Smith has decided to transfer. Smith’s decision has a lot to do with incoming freshman guard Shabazz Napier being on board.

– Kevin Ollie has been rumered to replace Patrick Sellers as an assistant on Jim Calhoun’s staff. Ollie, who is still beloved by the UConn fan base, has mentored some of the game’s greats – from Allen Iverson to Ray Allen – and has become a dependable backup point guard for 11 teams since going undrafted in 1995.

– Stanley Robinson has a workout planned with the New Jersey Nets in the coming week. Robinson is preparing for the NBA Draft, which will take place on June 24th. Robinson is projected to be a late first round draft pick.

– Former UConn running back Andre Dixon was the second overall pick in the 2010 UFL Draft by the Hartford Colonials. The expansion Colonials have recently added two more former Husky football players, in Mike Hicks and Keith Gray.

– It was announced that the UConn football season opener against Michigan on September 4th, will be televised to a national audience on ABC, with kick-off coming at 3:30pm ET.

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