Blog posts about today's UConn Practice | The Boneyard

Blog posts about today's UConn Practice

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Shabazz Napier (on his comments after the Rutgers game that he didn't feel his teammates viewed him as a leader)

“I’m not even worried about that anymore. If it happens, it happens. We’ll find (a leader) sooner or later. We’re going to win games and lose games without a leader. I feel as though if we play team basketball, we should be fine. Within that, we’ll find a leader.”

Is it so crazy to believe that Andre Drummond can be the leader of his team? Yes, he is a freshman, but he has a presence about him and when he get's going it seems nothing can stop him. If he keeps up his enthusiasm that he showed against WV then there is not doubt this team will rally around Drummond, like OSU rallies around Sullinger. That's my opinion on the leadership issue.
 

tykurez

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Shabazz Napier (on his comments after the Rutgers game that he didn't feel his teammates viewed him as a leader)

“I’m not even worried about that anymore. If it happens, it happens. We’ll find (a leader) sooner or later. We’re going to win games and lose games without a leader. I feel as though if we play team basketball, we should be fine. Within that, we’ll find a leader.”

Is it so crazy to believe that Andre Drummond can be the leader of his team? Yes, he is a freshman, but he has a presence about him and when he get's going it seems nothing can stop him. If he keeps up his enthusiasm that he showed against WV then there is not doubt this team will rally around Drummond, like OSU rallies around Sullinger. That's my opinion on the leadership issue.

My opinion on the leadership issue is that it's troubling one hasn't emerged.

I predicted this would be a possible problem for the team if they didn't establish one early. I had really hoped that one of either Jeremy, Alex, or Shabazz would take on that role ... but it appears none have. They all witnessed how important having a leader like Kemba was last year.

Of course, you can't force leadership on someone ... Jeremy seems too quiet, Alex too all over the place. Shabazz seemed to have the moxie to take on that role, but his recent comments make me think otherwise. And a guy like Boat, who I think could be a strong leader like Kemba, is a freshman and likely doesn't feel comfortable at this point in time taking that away from his older peers.
 
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I bet it's hard too for Shabazz being asked about the leadership 'problem' from those outside the program. I'm sure dealing with it on his own and with JC is hard enough!
 

Fishy

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Young teams are just going to fall into these valleys.

UConn has one player who's 21 years old - contrast that with Syracuse where they have a couple of 23 year olds starting and the rest of the contributing portion of the roster is at least 21 years old. (I think one of their freshmen is already 20 as well.)

If there's a leadership vacuum next year and the year after, I'm concerned. Kemba didn't lead anyone anywhere until his junior year.

This year? It is what it is.
 
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Ideally it would be Shabazz. He seems confident, he's as experienced or moreso than everyone else, he's the point guard (quarterback), I believe he has expressed a desire to lead and hell, he's a captain. I think it really needs to be him this season. I like Andre's enthusiasm but he is young, inexperienced and has disappeared too often in games.
 

Edward Sargent

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I do think it is Drummond. He appears to have leadership qualities, of course we are all looking at this from a fan's perspective watching them on TV. Shabazz looks angry, Jeremy passive, Alex "Geez why did you call that on me". THey may be leaders but it does not appear to be for this team. For this team Drummond is it.
 
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Presumably ND will not try to match up athletically with us and play zone. Tyler's presence would be nice in that case. In any case we could use a good perimeter shooting game. Maybe DD is ready to get it going.

Are ND students on winter break?
 
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Problem with Napier as a leader is the kid is struggling to find his own game. This is his first year as a starter and he's handed the most difficult on the court position of controlling the game and trying to do what Calhoun wants him to do on the court. Suddenly one of his biggest assets last year, having the nerve to come off the bench and confidently create offense is a liablity as doing this reflexively detracts from the team's offense. And now suddenly with this added worry Shabazz is unsure and missing the shots he used to make and take with confidence.

Or more simply put, its exceedingly difficult to lead others when you don't know what you are doing or where you are going until a volatile Irishman tells you.
 
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I don't see any way Andre Drummond can be the leader of this team.

1. It would be incredibly hard in any event for a freshman to take this role. Not impossible, but very difficult.

2. It is exponentially more difficult for a freshman to take this role on a team where six "in the rotation" players have championship rings from a team they were "in the rotation for." They all earned rings without Drummond. That makes it harder than it otherwise would be.

3. If a freshman was ever going to be the leader of a defending champion, the freshman would have to be a fundamentally sound type of player, to go with big time skills. How can you be the leader of a team where you are routinely making your teammates look bad by not getting them the ball when they're open, by not calling out a pick when your man picks them off, by not boxing out your man on the boards so that he takes the rebound from someone else, or when you don't free someone else up by holding your screen until your teammate's defender has either run into you or gone past you? All these little things make his teammates look bad.

How is a freshman, even one who is going to be an NBA star, going to lead his teammates when he can't or doesn't do the little things that make them successful as players?

Drummond can carry this team to a championship on the court if he's determined to play at 100% every minute and focus on making the little off the ball plays. But he's not going to be its leader.
 
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Feeling good karma on the huskies for sat's game. I think those 2 tough road loses in a row will have hardened this team some and the comeback win over the mountaineer's hopefully will have an impact.
 
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Exactly what is a leader, in the basketball sense, and what does he do? Maybe there's a specific description some have in mind or maybe there are different types of leaders.

I find that it helps most when the leader is one of the PGs since they're the ones that are often getting the players to run the right offense. I don't know who directs them to get into the right defense. Now I realize that much of this is yelled out by the coach, but in many cases, especially when the crowd is loud, someone out on the floor needs to make a decision and/or tell the others what they're running.

I'm sort of surprised that Bazz is not the clear cut leader. What might have hurt this team is both the two captains (Am I wrong that they are Bazz & Alex?) were struggling lately. Alex has had a tough season, though seems to be coming out of his funk and Bazz hit a big time wall lately and seems to be second guessing his role and abilities. I think he'll be fine and will come out as the clear team leader.

With that said, it doesn't mean that others will step up with leadership qualities such as AD. Every team could use some guys who lead by example and encouragement, but the true leader is the one that the players naturally follow, especially during adversity. I'm concerned that this has even become an issue, but I think they'll play through this and will be a mature team by season's end. As many have pointed out they are a very young team. Even though some have a lot of PT under their belt, they're still young men who have a lot to learn.
 
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My opinion on the leadership issue is that it's troubling one hasn't emerged.

Shabazz seemed to have the moxie to take on that role, but his recent comments make me think otherwise.

I too find it disconcerting that Shabazz hasn't seized the leadership mantle. It sounds like he's trying, but having a hard time getting the guys to buy in. It could be a matter of them not trusting his play on the court, and therefore not trusting his verbal leadership; or it could be personality clashes that make guys not want to follow Shabazz.

I'm more inclined to believe the former, but the latter could always be the case.
 

Mr. Wonderful

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Road games are gonna be a b!tch all year long. It's best to come to terms with it now, imo.
 
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Most interesting thing to me from that article is that Boat is expecting 400 family/friends in the audience. Wow! That number is usually associated with facebook "friends."
 
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As far as the leadership topic... while it is a bit worrisome that we haven't developed a clear cut leader at this point in the season, I am not all too worried about it at this point. I pretty much feel the same way as Shabazz, this team should be worrying most about playing together as a team as much as they possibly can and moving the ball as much as possible throughout the offense. This means that when a big man works his ass off for position down low and gets into good position, you get him the ball. This means when Lamb hustles his ass off and gets open off a screen, you hit him for the pull-up jumper. So on and so forth. While I don't think they have done so intentionally, it seems as though this team was struggling with selfish play amongst the players... not consciously being selfish but just not looking for all the options all the time. Shabazz would often pass to Lamb even if he wasn't in position to make a play... kind of in hopes that he'd just make a play one-on-one I guess. This is really frustrating to watch when you see AO fighting his man down low to post up and then you see him get into perfect position and call for the ball and the person with the ball isn't even looking at/for him. Either way, this was not much of a problem against WVU like it was in some of the other games this year. Definitely a good sign, hopefully they can continue to play team basketball and build some chemistry and confidence in one another.
 

DieHardHusky

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Boatright having 400 friends+fam. in attendance...wow! Hopefully they can make some noise in South Bend!
 

fleudslipcon

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Young teams are just going to fall into these valleys.

UConn has one player who's 21 years old - contrast that with Syracuse where they have a couple of 23 year olds starting and the rest of the contributing portion of the roster is at least 21 years old. (I think one of their freshmen is already 20 as well.)

If there's a leadership vacuum next year and the year after, I'm concerned. Kemba didn't lead anyone anywhere until his junior year.

This year? It is what it is.
Very true. Plus the statements made by JC and Shabazz after the Rutgers game were just about one person speaking out of frustration and the other person, with some resentment, somewhat echoing the boss. Whether JC reads the BY or not he is similar to many posters on this site.

Shabazz is the leader of this team and has been all season. For the most part he has exceeded my expectations and has done a much better job of handling the team than Kemba did his sophomore year.
 
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Very true. Plus the statements made by JC and Shabazz after the Rutgers game were just about one person speaking out of frustration and the other person, with some resentment, somewhat echoing the boss. Whether JC reads the BY or not he is similar to many posters on this site.

Shabazz is the leader of this team and has been all season. For the most part he has exceeded my expectations and has done a much better job of handling the team than Kemba did his sophomore year.
I think you really hit the nail on the head. Their comments were out of frustration. JC has shown a great deal of confidence in Bazz throughout the season. Even with Napier's recent poor play and increased TOs, he's not been getting all up in his grill like he has with other players. That makes me believe that he knows Bazz is banged up and probably sees that some of the poor play is him trying to do too much because some of his teammates are turning the ball over at an alarming rate and are reluctance to make plays. Now this is not to day that JC is not happy with some of his decisions and inability to get the team into their offense as he would like. I'm sure JC knows he needs a Napier with his head screwed on right, playing with confidence for this team to win. It's not like he can look down the bench and find someone to take his minutes and fill in for Bazz.

Although Bazz did not shoot the ball well against WVU, I thought he did a much better job of creating for his teammates and getting them to run their half-court with more conviction, especially during the end of that game. Just keep in mind when a team is feeling good about themselves and are playing with confidence, they make their point guard look all world. When just about everyone is struggling, the PG tends to do too much and when they fail not only look terrible, but can be subject to harsh criticism from the fans, media and even their teammates. What I liked about last game was that Bazz showed us, his coach and teammates that he can help the team win even when his shot is not falling, which is a very important lesson for a PG, and any player to that matter, to learn.

Now I hope he rights his game where he puts up about 12 to 15 points a game along with 6 to 8 assists and few TOs. I have little doubt he's capable of that, but he's going to have some off shooting nights and it is critical that he is able to run the team effectively in those instances. No one likes to see the team lose a couple games and look bad doing it, but if they steadily build on the WVU win, those two losses will be a lesson well learned and all the talk about a lack of leadership will be in the rear view mirror.
 
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