Cuse, UConn tie at top of preseason rankings

2011-12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll

4screens/Flickr

1. Connecticut (7) 209
Syracuse (5) 209
3. Louisville (3) 201
4. Pittsburgh (1) 188
5. Cincinnati 169
6. Marquette 155
7. West Virginia 132
8. Villanova 127
9. Notre Dame 114
10. Georgetown 104
11. Rutgers 75

Alan Maglaque/Flickr

12. St. John’s 71
13. Seton Hall 56
14. USF 43
15. Providence 40
16. DePaul 27

courtesy of BigEast.org

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YouTube clip of the week

Here’s several UConn players as they discuss the 2011-2012 squad. I took this video at the annual Husky Run last Wednesday.

UConn Season Preview


Courtesy of Matt Wurtz/Flickr

UConn 2011-2012 Projected Lineup

PG Shabazz Napier, sophomore
SG Jeremy Lamb, sophomore
SF Roscoe Smith, sophomore
PF Alex Oriakhi, senior
C Andre Drummond, freshman

Key reserves: Tyler Olander, sophomore; Michael Bradley, freshman (redshirt); Niels Giffey, sophomore; DeAndre Daniels, freshman

Kemba Walker left one year of eligibility on the table, opting to go pro, getting drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Walker put up a season for the ages, but if it wasn’t for the play of his supporting cast, there’s no way UConn wins the national title.

Now the supporting class is in the driver’s seat ready to defend their title.

Napier looks to replace Walker at point. He’s a capable point guard with a knack for knocking down big shots.

But Jeremy Lamb is going to be the one to replace Walker as the go-to player. Lamb emerged later in the season and was the key to UConn’s march to the championship.

Courtesy of Matt Wurtz/Flickr

On August 26th, UConn got a commitment that every team in the nation was trying to get. Center Andre Drummond announced his commitment via Twitter.

“It’s official I’m heading to the university of Connecticut to be a husky this year! Do I hear #repeat #huskyfam @aoriakhi34” – @AndreDrummond03

Drummond is projected as the top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, so his stay in UConn won’t be long. Drummond will start at center, moving the 6-foot-9 Alex Oriakhi to power forward, which is probably a more comfortable fit.

Drummond joins a team full of returners from the national title team. Even with Jim Calhoun missing the first three Big East games due to suspension, look for the Huskies to be the top team in Big East this season.

Preseason All-Big East

Jeremy Lamb, UConn

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 11.1
RPG: 4.6
APG: 1.6

Lamb is also my preseason Big East Player of the Year. He came on late last season and provided that extra scoring option alongside Kemba Walker, which was needed for the eventual national champions. Lamb is a top NBA prospect entering his sophomore campaign. He is a lanky 6-foot-5 with a deadly stroke and moves extremely well without the ball. Lamb can also able to create for himself by getting to the rim. With an incredible wingspan that stretches out over seven feet Lamb is also a good rebounder and underrated defender.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 14.4
RPG: 5.0
APG: 2.1

Joseph could have left for the NBA this summer and probably would have been a first-round pick. But he decided instead to return for his senior season in hopes of winning a national title. Last season Joseph was asked to fill the role of Wesley Johnson and he did a nice job once he began to play his own game. Joseph is a great athlete. He’s quick and is hard to stop once he penetrates the lane. He’s also versatile defender. Jump shot still needs work, but overall it seems Joseph improves each year.

Maalik Wayns, Villanova

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 13.8
RPG: 2.8
APG: 4.5

Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are both gone. Villanova’s offense this season will go through junior point guard Maalik Wayns. He’s the Wildcats top scoring threat and he’s a good one. He came on later in the season, averaging over 20 in Villanova’s last four Big East games. He is one of the quickest players in the Big East. Despite his 6-foot-1 stature, Wayns has no problem getting into the lane and scoring over bigger opponents. His shot needs to improve and Wayns needs to continue to cut down on the turnovers.

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 16.8
RPG: 2.3
APG: 2.8

Gibbs tested the waters of the NBA Draft this summer, but decided to return to Pitt. Good news for head coach Jamie Dixon, he retains one of the conference’s best three-point shooters. Gibbs knocked down a remarkable 49 percent of his threes last season. Gibbs has a pure stroke from deep. He can come off the dribble or catch and shoot. Gibbs is steady with the ball and rarely turns it over. With only two returning starters this season for the Panthers, Gibbs will have to step up his game, not just his scoring.

Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame

2010-2011
PPG: 15.4
RPG: 6.1
APG: 1.9

Like Gibbs, Abromaitis is another great shooter from deep. Abromaitis knocked down almost 43 percent of his three-point attempts last season. Although he known to stretch the defense with his shooting, the 6-foot-8 senior, is not a bad scoring threat inside. He uses an array of shot fakes and ball fakes to get his defender off balance and then beats them with mid-range jumper or finishes at the basket. Overall, he’s a complete player offensively.

Honorable mention: Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Kevin Jones, West Virginia