One of the country’s most intriguing teams this season will be UConn, who returns a lot of talent and adds some interesting fifth-year transfers. The Huskies won their exhibition debut over the weekend with an 88-72 win over Division II Tampa and it was behind a balanced effort.
Cornell transfer Shonn Miller looked good in his UConn debut with 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals and four other Huskies finished in double-figures. Freshman guard Jalen Adams offered a speedy change-of-pace option off the bench for UConn and scored 14 points, the same amount as guard Rodney Purvis. Senior Omar Calhoun contributed 11 and Daniel Hamilton chipped in 10.
Ollie went 10 deep in the game and he clearly has a lot of talented pieces at his disposal — I didn’t even get to center Amida Brimah or Seton Hall transfer guard Sterling Gibbs, among others — and figuring out a rotation will be an on-going early-season process.
Also interesting to track with UConn is who will step up and take the lead early in the season. Ollie had a pretty revealing quote after the game and Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant mentioned it in his report.
“You can have a lot of guys contribute,” Ollie said to reporters, “but you have to have a guy that can be that alpha dog, too. That team we had [two years ago], we had options, but Shabazz [Napier] was that guy when everything got in disarray and tough, he was that guy to bring them together. That’s what I’m searching for right now, and I think I’m going to find it. Daniel didn’t have the game he’s supposed to have, but it was just the first game.”
That quote says a fair amount about the Huskies at this point and there is still uncertainty with who might take over down the stretch for a talented team. Hamilton could be in line for a big year as a sophomore and Ollie is expecting a lot on him, as he mentions him specifically in this quote. Even if Hamilton doesn’t have a huge scoring night, this Husky team probably has enough balance to win on some off nights. If Hamilton plays at a higher level, UConn could be a dangerous — and deep — team this season.