UConn Basketball: A New Tradition
With Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun retiring this week, the common question has appeared often: What will become of the University of Connecticut’s basketball program?
For the foreseeable future, the reigns of the program will be handed down to Calhoun’s protégé, Kevin Ollie. A former NBA regular, Ollie played under Calhoun from 1991-1995. It is safe to say, the program is in safe hands.
Despite the 2013 NCAA Tournament ban that faces the program, the end of UConn’s so-called “dark days” is coming to an end. Current 2013 commits Kentan Facey and Terrence Samuel are expected to remain signed due to Ollie’s promotion to head coach. Also, current prospect Xavier Rathan-Mayes said that if Ollie would become the head coach, it would be “special” and would impact his college decision outright.
The current 2012 squad does show promise late in the off-season. The back-court will be one of the best in the nation, featuring experienced guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Incoming Holy Cross transfer RJ Evans and highly-touted freshman Omar Calhoun will add to the depth and could expect big minutes from day one.
If UConn has a kink in its armor, it is in the frontcourt. It will not be as deep as teams of the past. Returning forwards Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels, Niels Giffey join incoming freshman Leon Tolksdorfs, who will all see minutes. At center, sophomore Enosch Wolf and freshman Phillip Nolan will share playing time. Due to UConn’s lack of depth in the frontcourt, expect to see a three guard lineup that will push the tempo.
Expect Ollie’s Huskies to play a spoiler role this season, as they learn to play with one another and under a new head coach. Jim Calhoun always said he was going to ride out through the NCAA investigation and penalties. Now that he has retired, it is up Kevin Ollie to take control and continue to keep UConn a national basketball powerhouse.