Wednesday, June 25, 2008


June 25, 2008

by Ron Bailey

Jordan Hamilton – 6’7”, 210 pounds (Connecticut, Syracuse, Pac 10, Big 12, SEC) – Okay, one word suffices for Hamilton…WOW, as the junior can do it all offensively, including drive, bring the ball up the floor, and shoot. You see him play, and you know UConn is probably touting him as the next Ray Allen/Rip Hamilton, while Syracuse is evoking the likes of Carmelo Anthony. The kid flat gets it done.

A junior from the Los Angeles area, Hamilton will have to commit to defense more wherever he lands. Expect college to be pit stop for him in route to the pros – Hamilton has big time talent.

For more on the NBA Top 100 Camp Player evals, see Ron Bailey's additional stories at the NBE Basketball Report or i95ballerz.com.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


June 24, 2008

Ron Bailey reported for the NBE Basketball Report that super recruit Brandon Knight, one of the top players in the class of 2010, of Pine Crest in Florida may have a soft spot for the Huskies. Here is Ron's scouting report from the NBA Top 100 Camp of last week:

Brandon Knight – 6’3”, 175 pounds (Connecticut, Syracuse) – Hailing from South Florida, this combo guard has long been known by recruitniks nationwide. What’s not as well known is his like of both UConn and Syracuse, which he specifically mentioned. A combo guard that can score by driving and shooting, and a pretty good defender that seemingly never tires, Knight, a junior, has the chance to be scary good.

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Friday, June 20, 2008


With future Connecticut guard Kemba Walker no longer at his side with either the New York Gauchos or at Rice High School, it is Durand Scott’s turn to take the reins and become one of the best guards in New York City – and he knows it.

But does everyone else?

“Everyone’s not giving me the respect I deserve,” Scott said. “I need to show everybody what I got.”

While Scott is Set to Prove Doubters Wrong (NBE Basketball Report) several Big East and other major conference schools definitely believe in him.

Right now, Scott’s recruitment is wide-open with a multitude of schools courting the confident youngster. He told Jeff Borzello at the Rumble in the Bronx that Pittsburgh, Louisville, Connecticut and West Virginia and other schools are looking at him from the Big East, while Virginia, Miami and Xavier are also interested in him. He said he is not leaning in any particular direction just yet.

Over the summer, Scott needs to become more of a go-to-guy and a leader for the Gauchos in preparation for his senior season with Rice. Furthermore, despite the fact he exudes swagger, Scott realizes he has things he needs to work on.

“I need to become more of an individual player, more of a scorer,” Scott said. “Last year, I usually looked to my teammates more, but now I need to do whatever my coach wants me to do.

“I have to just play.”

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Friday, June 06, 2008


June 6, 2008

Head Coach: Jim Calhoun
2007-2008 Record: 24-9 (13-5 Big East), lost in 1st Round of NCAA Tournament.

Returning Players:
Jeff Adrien, Senior (Power Forward)
AJ Price, Senior (Point Guard)
Craig Austrie, Senior (Guard)
Jerome Dyson, Junior (Guard)
Stanley Robinson, Junior (Forward)
Jonathan Mandeldove, Junior (Center)
Gavin Edwards, Junior (Forward/Center)
Hasheem Thabeet, Junior (Center)
Donnell Beverly, Sophomore (Guard)

Incoming Players:
Kemba Walker (Point Guard)
Scottie Haralson (Shooting Guard)
Ater Majok (Forward)

Eligible Transfers:
Charles Okwandu, Sophomore (Center)

Transferred Out:
Doug Wiggins
Curtis Kelly

Open Items/Issues:
For the second consecutive season, Jim Calhoun talked openly about changes to the roster and Curtis Kelly and Doug Wiggings joined Marcus Johnson, Ben Eaves and Robert Garrison as players to leave the program in the last 12 months. With Hasheem Thabeet spurning the NBA draft for a second consecutive season, the Huskies have a full allotment of 13 scholarship players. They also have scholarship seniors on the roster for the first time in three years and have the pieces in place to challenge nationally as one of the top teams in all of college basketball.

Recently, Calhoun, the UConn Hall of Fame coach, disclosed publicly that he was treated for skin cancer following the 2007-2008 season and had another round of treatments ahead of him this June. Coach Calhoun is a previous cancer survivor, and although he might miss some time on the recruiting trail this summer, he fully expects to be on the sidelines in a full-time capacity this coming season.

Connecticut rebounded from the 2006-2007 season that did not include any post-season tournament for the Huskies following an opening Big East Tournament loss to Syracuse. UConn won 13 conference games and put themselves back into the national picture. However, opening losses in both the Big East Tournament (West Virginia) and NCAA Tournament (San Diego) had Jim Calhoun surly again when the season closed.

Expectations are high for the 2008-2009 season as the Huskies are loaded with talent up and down their roster. The importance of consistent point guard play was proven last season for UConn as their play really took off when AJ Price established himself among the best lead guards in the Big East. However, their season ended with Price on the bench, injuring his knee in the NCAA 1st round loss to San Diego. Price's return to health will be an important key for UConn in reaching their lofty goals in 2008-2009.

Price is expected to be fully recovered by the time the season begins, but in the event that he is not, Jim Calhoun added some pretty valuable insurance in the incoming recruiting class in McDonald's All-American Kemba Walker out of Rice HS in NYC. Walker is a typical NYC point guard with flair and toughness. With the solidifying of the point guard position, you can't really find a weakness on this UConn club. Price joins fellow seniors Jeff Adrien and Craig Austrie and juniors Hasheem Thabeet, Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards as returning players in the regular rotation that gives the Huskies loads of experience. With Thabeet flirty with the option of entering the NBA Draft, big men like Charles Okwandu (7'1) and Ater Majok (6'10) were added this spring and 6'11 Jonathan Mandeldove is still on the roster, giving UConn the most size in the conference.

Also joining UConn in the fall is shooting guard Scottie Haralson who hopes to bring more of a perimeter threat. Also, expect Jerome Dyson to rebound from some late-season struggles after serving a 30-day University imposed suspension. In his absence, AJ Price really stepped up his game and Dyson struggled in his return to the line-up. Dyson is a go-to scorer and shut down defender that all teams need when challenging for the national title.

With a roster so talented, some of the possibilities for Jim Calhoun are endless in line-up combinations. Jeff Adrien is entrenched as the power forward, but Ater Majok and Stanley Robinson could also play a versatile power forward role, using their strong skills and athleticism away from the basket to create mismatches at the 4, or their size and strength at the 3 for another set of mismatches. With Dyson back in the mix and Price and Austrie at the guards, a three-guard line-up could also be used for extended periods of time. Moving Price off the ball and playing him with Kemba Walker is another possibility. Jim Calhoun is not shy in substituting or mixing things up, so expect many 'line changes' early on as they find the combinations that will work in March of 2009.

Expectations are high, and rightfully so for the 2008-2009 Connecticut Huskies. With Jim Calhoun pushing the strategic buttons, as well as the buttons of his players, expect big things for the Huskies next year!

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