Uconn Exceeds Early Expectations

Surprise Winners in Mauii

College basketball fans at Trinity have good reason to be excited.  This season, students will be able to watch a young, exciting and potentially top-tier team up close and personal at their home away from home, the XL Center in downtown Hartford.  And no, I am not talking about the Uconn women, although they too are well worth the price of admission.

While the Lady Huskies are surprising no one with their amazing unbeaten streak, it is the men who have fans around the country buzzing.  Led by Junior guard, Kemba Walker, the Huskies have burst onto the national stage by defeating a veteran Wichita State team, outlasting the Michigan State Spartans (2) and demolishing a highly-touted Kentucky (9) team on consecutive nights in Maui.  Not many analysts believed they would get by Wichita State, let alone defeat two top-ten teams in a row.  In fact, Uconn were widely tipped for a season of mediocrity and a lowly finish in the Big East Conference after the departure of Seniors Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson, respectively.

Much of team’s early success is due to the off-season work ethic of Kemba Walker.  After a summer of scrimmaging with Team USA and attending Lebron James’ Academy, Walker has developed a jump shot to go along with his dribbling skills and is now wiser in picking and choosing when to use his explosive speed rather than going 100 mph every possession.  Walker’s performances in Maui (and his 42-point outing vs. Vermont) have proven he is one of the best and most exciting guards in the country.  Sophomore Forward Alex Oriahki has chipped in, as the 6-9, 240 lbs beast has used his size and raw talent to become a force to be reckoned with in the paint.  But the unheralded Freshman class cannot go unmentioned.  Niels Giffey, out of Berlin, Germany, has proven to be a solid player who hardly puts a foot wrong, while Shabazz Napier is an absolute pest on defense and has good ball-handling skills, which allows Walker some deserved rest.

The team is by no stretch perfect and Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun is quick to point out that it is too early to draw any significant conclusions.  However, there is clearly a lot to be excited about and Trinity students have ample chance to catch this potentially special team in action.

Remaining XL Center Games:

12/03/10 vs. UMBC

12/20/10 vs. Coppin State

12/22/10 vs. Harvard

12/31/10 vs. USF

01/11/11 vs. Rutgers

01/22/11 vs. Tennessee

02/02/11 vs. Syracuse

02/16/11 vs. Georgetown

02/24/11 vs. Marquette

 

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