Niels Giffey, JaQuon Parker, R.J. Evans

UConn’s Niels Giffey to represent Germany in 2013 EuroBasket

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In three seasons as a member of the UConn basketball program, 6-7 forward has held the same general role. Provide some versatility at the forward position, with his size allowing Giffey to handle responsibilities at both the three and the four for the Huskies.

But there’s always the hunger to do more, and such is likely the case for Giffey (4.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg in 2012-13) given the fact that he’s entering his senior season. The question: how much will Giffey’s summer experience with the German national team help him when he returns to Storrs?

Giffey’s averaged 7.5 points per game for Germany, which is playing scrimmages in preparation for the 2013 European Championships that begin on September 4. His best outing came against France’s national team, which included pros Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum, as he scored 13 points in the scrimmage. With five more games to play ahead of the actual tournament, Giffey will have plenty of opportunities to hone his skills in game action before returning to the UConn program.

But roles within teams tend to be different, as we saw earlier this summer with former Villanova guard Mislav Brzoja. With UConn returning guards Shabazz Napier (17.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, Ryan Boatright (15.4, 4.4) and Omar Calhoun (11.1, 3.9 rpg), as well as sophomore forward DeAndre Daniels (12.1, 5.5 rpg), how much room is there for Giffey to score during his senior campaign?

Each of those four players finished the season with possession percentages of 20% or higher, with Boatright (24.5%) and Napier (24%) leading the way as expected (stat courtesy of Giffey, by comparison, factored into just 13.7% of UConn’s possessions in 2012-13, which despite being an improvement when compared to his percentage as a sophomore (12.2) is still nearly two percentage points lower than the number he posted on UConn’s national title team (15.4).

Ultimately his summer experience with the German senior national team will benefit Giffey, but that won’t necessarily mean drastically higher numbers in the scoring department in his senior season at UConn due to the role he plays.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.