Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Depth Charge

Check out tomorrow's Register for a story on UConn's depth and talent at virtually every position, and how competitive the fight for playing time will be for many players.

Think about it: an All-American at point guard (A.J. Price) backed up by a McDonald's All-American (Kemba Walker) and/or Mr. Clutch (Craig Austrie) and perhaps the team's most improved player (Donnell Beverly).

At the two, the team's most athletic player (Jerome Dyson) will vie for time with Austrie and perhaps the team's best sharpshooter (Scottie Haralson). (Incidentally, assistant coach Patrick Sellers calls Beverly and Haralson the team's "two hardest-working guys. They come back late at night to shoot extra shots.")

And, of course, highly-touted, 6-6 freshman Nate Miles can play all three guard positions.

Hasheem Thabeet is the center and Jeff Adrien the power forward, but a battle will ensue on who their respective back-ups will be. Gavin Edwards, Jonathan Mandeldove and Charles Okwandu are all in the fray. Jim Calhoun said today that either Mandeldove or Okwandu could be red-shirted.

"With Hasheem most likely leaving (after this season), we want to make sure we have an experienced center coming back. We also want someone there to develop, without the pressure of playing, whether it be Charles or Jonathan. But nothing's written in stone."

Of course, UConn should also be adding a 6-10 freshman in mid-December. Ater Majok is still waiting to get through the NCAA clearinghouse, and Calhoun doesn't expect that to be a problem. He's also counting on Stanley Robinson to resolve his personal issues and be back with the team at the same time.

Robinson is working full-time as a sheet-metal worker and, according to Calhoun, has bulked up from last year's playing weight of 200 lbs. to 233 lbs. -- all muscle.

If Robinson and Majok return to the team once first-semester exams end, they could battle for time at the three. Until then, expect either Dyson or Miles to get significant minutes at that position.

"We’ll start off as a three-guard attack,” said Calhoun, “and after six or seven games, we’ll probably have a three-man come in and contribute.”

IN RECRUITING NEWS: Sellers was in West Virginia on Sunday to watch Deniz Kilicli, a hot new 6-9, 245-pound Class of 2009 recruit from Turkey who's now at Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W.V.

Kilicli is said to have a tremendous body, with wide shoulders and huge hands and who shoots lefthanded from the inside but righthanded on 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers.

Also on UConn's radar are a trio of 2010 kids: Baltimore's Roscoe Smith, a 6-7 forward who got a visit from Calhoun and Sellers on Monday; Harrison Barnes, a 6-6 forward out of Ames, Iowa whom Sellers also recently saw; and C.J. Fair, another 6-7 Baltimorean (is that a word?).

UConn has also recently saw Jarrid Famous, a 6-11 center out of Westchester Community College, and were reasonably impressed -- but would like to see him again. Famous is visiting Seton Hall this weekend.

The Huskies are getting a visit this weekend from Durand Scott, the 6-5 guard out of New York City who was Kemba Walker's teammate at both Rice High and the New York Gauchos. Scott attended the Connecticut Elite Camp in Storrs last month and is very much coveted by the UConn staff.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Beverly play so I'm not going to say I can speak about his abilities.. but let us not forget last year's supposedly most improved player (Curtis Kelly) isn't even on the team anymore.

8:43 AM 

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