Friday, May 26, 2006

 

Huskie Pride! (A Tired Act...)

Growing up in Connecticut I have come to form an aversion for the UConn Huskie basketball program. Well, let me explain myself. Not necessarily for the 'program,' since part of my love for basketball is respecting talent and over the past decade plus, UConn has put some of the nation's foremost talent on the court (Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Ben Gordon, 'Spliff' Robinson, Emeka Okafor, etc..). I also recognize that since I am a diehard Syracuse Orange fan that my views on the Huskie program may be a bit slighted, however, I will reiterate that I am first and foremaost a basketball fan and do not write off players based solely on the ridiculous jersey they don (even if I were a UConn fan I would never be caught dead wearing a UConn jersey. It screams 'We're from Connecticut' to me...).

The UConn tradition has been wonderful over the past decade with two NCAA championships since 1999, the only team to win multiple championships in that span. They have been dominant in the Big East conference and, as mentioned before, have sent several all-star calibur players into the NBA. The 2006 UConn Huskies we supposed to be part of that tradtion walking all over the Big East and any other "cake" team they threw upon their out of conference schedule. With the consensus number one pick in the NBA Draft in Rudy Gay and a "High Lottery" pick in Josh Boone, this team had all the makings of a 30-2 team with a few slip-ups on the way.

The first began with now lottery bound Marcus Williams, "the best pure point guard in the nation," getting arrested and suspended from all basketball related activits through January 1st. Yes, that's right, he missed the JC portion of the schedule (Army, Texas Southern, UMass, New Hampshire, Stony Brook, Moorehead St., and Quinnipiac) and retunred just in time for conference play. He stole $11,000 worth of laptops out of college dorms and was able to earn millions in a looming NBA contract in the moths to follow. This just sounds like something you'll see on E! or "Touched By an Angel" in the near future.



Then we Have Mr. Rudy Gay and Mr. Josh Boone, both of whom were sure fire bets to be selected in the lottery and, in Rudy Gay's case, he was considered to be a lock for the #1 pick in the 2006 NBA draft. So what happened? Why is Rudy Gay now considered to be the 6th or 7th overall pick in the upcoming draft? Why is Josh Boone hanging on for dear life just to stay in the 1st round? Are they bored? The idea of them not "turning it on" during the season because the competition was lackluster is ridiculous. And even if that was the case would you want a guy like that on your team? Not at all! The upside of Rudy Gay is through the roof. And if you wantch basketball you have no reason to question his ability. But, where was it? Why is he bored with the competition? How bored were you with George Mason, who should never in a million years have beaten UConn. Play that game 99 more times and the result is a UConn win.

We saw the same thing, however, with Charlie Villanueva. They word on him was that he had no motivation and lacked the "will" to play the game. Then we saw him score 48 points in a game against Millawaukee and finish second in Rookie voting behind Chris Paul while being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Would Andrew Bynum have helped this team had he not opted for the draft and getting a suprise lottery selection from the Lakers? Probably not. He dunked over Shaq on a nationally televised game, pumped his fist, and then played Kwame Brown and hid for the rest of the year. Is he the prototypical UConn player? With Rudy Gay falling, Josh Boone falling, Marcus Williams shoing up 15 lbs. overweight to his workout with the Celtics, and Bynum (though only 19) learning the game on the end of the Lakers bench (and I can see him becoming the next Jermoe James and not the next Shaq. Shaq had several more years of experience in organized ball and honed his skills with a few years at LSU).

Is there a motivation problem in Storrs? Did Calhoun assemble a team that is so good that they don't need to compete to their best ability? Why ask all these questions when one of the best stories in NCAA basketball also comes from Storrs. Keep an eye on Hilton Armstrong, because he has the size, tools, and heart to make an impact in the NBA.

Comments:
No offense, man, because I couldn't care less about any team in the Big East. However, a Syracuse fan knocking the UCONN schedule is really laughable. You do realize that Syracuse left the state of New York exactly once prior to Jan. 11, 2006--and that was to play the Towson Tigers in Pennsylvania, right? Besides being safe at home, the only team they faced over that period that was of any worth was Florida. That game was one of only two that were not played in Syracuse. The Orange went all the way to NYC for those!
Here's the link to the schedule if anyone needs reminding Syracuse schedule.
 
What's your point? The guy before me hit the nail on the head about the Cuse's schedule. UConn & the Cuse's fans have a deep mutual respect for each others program, probably more so than any other rivals in all of college sports. Calhoun & Boheim are good friends. I cheered my ass off for Syracuse when they won in 03. I guess Syracuse has never had any underachievers on their squad (or maybe none of their players was hyped by the media to the point where they were guaranteed of coming up short). I could think of a million more things to say here but the best I can think of (again) is "what's your point?"
 
Interesting, b/c I'm an SU grad, living in CT, and I can't believe you could knock UConn in favor of the Cuse. While I agree that Josh Boone had a very disappointing year, and would be well-served by returning for his senior year, Rudy Gay was never a "lock" or "consensus" *1 pick. What Andrew Bynum, who of course never suited up for UConn, has to do with your point, totally eluded me. Finally, I have to say that Jim Boeheim (and staff) has been a phenomenal recruiter over the years, but one of the worst (albeit highly successful, in terms of wins and losses) in D I basketball. One of the best examples was his team in 1975(?), with, I believe, Rony Seikaly, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens, and Derrick Coleman, losing in the final to Indiana, led by Dean Garrett and Keith Smart! The Cuse's recent shortcomings are due, not to further erosion of Boeheim's modest coaching skills, but his inability to replace Carmelo Anthony, Hakeem Warrick, etc.

Finally, btw, the singular of "Huskies" is "Husky."
 
valid points.

however, "1975?!" First, Boeheim was not the head coach of Syracuse until 1976. Also, the Sherman Douglas, Ron Seikaly, DC team was not together until 1987. A Cuse grad?

Also, Rudy Gay was the consensus #1 pick. Write it down, seal it, and take it to the bank. If you don't believe me you can ask the wonderful staff at www.nbadraft.net or the ever talented guru himself, Mr. Chad Ford. Please, ask them!

I think the problem here is that I never compared Syracuse to UConn. I was merely stating that, as a Syracuse fan, I am baffled as to why the draft stock of these players continues to fall. A simple question. Not once was I trying to say that Syracuse doesn not have a list of disspointing prospects (trust me, I know the list: Moten, Wallace, Etan Thomas, etc.. even DC!). Syracuse does not have any 1st round prospects on the team, I realize that. Never debated who was better, because I know UConn has a better team. Just wondering why their draft stock continues to fall. ..
 
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