Location: Storrs, CT
Conference: Big East
Last Year’s Record: 31-5
Key Returners: Jerome Dyson (13.2 ppg), Kemba Walker (8.9 ppg), Stanley Robinson (8.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Top Newcomers: Jamaal Coombs-McDaniel, Alex Oriakhi, Darius Smith
Strengths: It’s crazy that a team can lose A.J. Price and still have one of the best backcourts in the Big East. Kemba Walker and a healthy Jerome Dyson return to lead a Husky team in the middle of a rebuild(load). Before the injury, Dyson was the heart and soul of the Huskies. He averaged over 13 points-per-game and was the one player who was unafraid to take the big shot. Walker stepped in for Dyson and provided solid scoring while becoming UConn’s best on-ball defender. With these two returning, UConn will still be in the mix in the Big East.
Weakness: This team was hit hard by players leaving. A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien left due to graduation while Hasheem Thabeet chose to forgo his final year of eligibility. Between the three, they averaged 42 points and 24 rebounds per game. It doesn’t matter that UConn has good talent returning and a top-ten recruiting class. When that level of production leaves, there will always be a drop-off. How large of a drop-off depends on well the younger players adjust.
Outlook: With Dyson and Walker in the backcourt and Stanley Robinson returning up front, Jim Calhoun still has plenty to work with in Storrs. Throw in a top-ten recruiting class and the Huskies don’t look to be a team to be taken lightly.