Is UConn a Guard School?

HuskyHawk

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I've often seen this sentiment put forth. So I wanted to look into it. I decided to look at our best teams. Those that won more than 25 games. I'm excluding walk ons and players who played under 7 minutes a game. 12 seasons in total.

1989-90: Chris Smith, Tate George, John Gwynn. (Pikiel gets 4.3 mins). Three guards. Smith 17.2, Nadav 11.6, Tate 11.5. Gwynn 10.5 was 6th in minutes.
1993-94: Ray Allen, Sheffer, Fair, Ollie. Four guards. Donyell dominated the scoring at 25 pg. Allen and Donny Marshall both about 12.5. Then Sheffer at 12.
1994-95: Ray Allen, Sheffer, Fair, Ollie. Four guards. Allen dominated the scoring at 21 pg. Donny Marshall next at 15.8. Sheffer 11. Ollie, Fair and Travis Knight 9+
1995-96: Ray Allen, Sheffer, Ricky Moore, Rash Jones, Four Guards. Ray scores 23.4. Sheffer 16. Kirk King next at 9.9.
1997-98: KEA, Moore, Hardnett, Jones, EJ Harrison. Four Guards. Hamilton dominates scoring at 21.5. KEA 16 and Freeman is 10.3.
1998-99: KEA, Moore, Mouring, Jones, EJ Harrison. Five Guards (Harrison 8.1 mpg). Hamilton dominates scoring at 21.5. KEA 13.8 and Freeman 12.2.
2001-02: Ben Gordon, Tony Robinson, Taliek Brown. Three Guards. Caron Butler leads at 20.3. Gordon 12.6. Selvie is 11.4 and TRob 11.3
2003-04: Ben Gordon, Rashad Anderson, Taliek Brown, Marcus Williams. Four Guards. Gordon leads at 18.5. Okafor 17.6. Anderson 11.2. Boone, Hilton, CV lots of minutes
2005-06: Anderson, Williams, Austrie, Garrison. Four Guards. Rudy leads at 15.2, Anderson 12.8, Williams 12.3, Brown 10.7 and Boone 10.3. Hilton just under 10.
2008-09: AJ Price, Dyson, Kemba Walker, Austrie. Four Guards. Price 14.7, Adrien 13.6, Thabeet 13.6, Dyson 13.2. Kemba and Stanley both around 9.
2010-11: Kemba Walker, Lamb, Napier, Beverly. Four Guards. Kemba 23.5, Lamb 11.1, Oriakhi 9.6, Napier 7.8
2013-14: Napier, Boatright, Kromah, Omar Calhoun, T Samuel. Five Guards. Napier 18. Deandre Daniels 13.1. Boat 12.1. Niels 8.4.

So, what to make of this. At no point did UConn play more than four guards really significant minutes (double figures). In several seasons only 3 guards saw significant minutes. The guards that did play a lot were critical scorers. Of those 12 seasons, 7 times our leading scorer was a guard (one of those is Ben barely ahead of Okafor). There is quite a bit of balance of reliance on forwards or centers and guards. I see only a few seasons where guards really dominated (89-90, 95-96. 10-11). In almost all of these seasons we had a big averaging double figures. We had multiple bigs averaging a lot of minutes in most of them.

Since 1989, we've had 32 guys chosen in the 1st or 2nd round of the draft. 11 played guard. 7 were centers. 14 were forwards at UConn. I don't think UConn has been "Guard U".
 
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It helps when our guards have been some of the best college players ever. How many other schools can match Ray Allen, Gordon, Kemba, and Shabazz. Then add in Smith, Boat, Price, Dyson, Taliek, etc. Our guard resume is up there with the best of em
 

CL82

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I guess it depends how you define the term "Guard U." I don't think it is about # of minutes per player. I think that it is more that our program has produced some memorable guards. Chris Smith, Ray Allen, KEA, Ben Gordon, Kemba, Shabazz are pretty impressive list. When you add Rip Hamilton, Jeremy Lamb, Marcus Williams, Rodney Purvis, AJ Price, Daniel Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Kevin Ollie and Tate George it becomes more impressive. All them went on to the NBA. I think, to the extent UConn as Guard U means anything, it means that UConn has a history of players moving on to the NBA at guard slot. Kind of hard to argue against that.
 
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We have had greats at every position but I would say we are a wing school (Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Rudy Gay, Lamb) followed by PG or shorter guards next (Chris Smith, Ben Gordon Kemba, Shabazz, Price, Khalid). Our shorter guards are definitely more legendary though with a lot of championships.
 
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I don't think minutes and number of players is a fair way to look at it, UConn is Guard U because the guards we've had are so good they play the majority of the minutes
 

ColchVEGAS

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I do not consider UConn to be Guard U. I like to think our coaches over the years have recruited balanced teams. It just so happens that the guards we get are usually of high caliber. Not that all of them have come from this area of the country, but the tri-state is known for heavy guard play as the style of basketball.

When I saw the term Guard U the first thing that came to mind was Nova. Jay Wright is always guard oriented and playing an "undersized" front court.
 

HuskyHawk

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I do not consider UConn to be Guard U. I like to think our coaches over the years have recruited balanced teams. It just so happens that the guards we get are usually of high caliber. Not that all of them have come from this area of the country, but the tri-state is known for heavy guard play as the style of basketball.

When I saw the term Guard U the first thing that came to mind was Nova. Jay Wright is always guard oriented and playing an "undersized" front court.

Yes, but Rollie didn’t. He had some impressive length on those teams.
 

ColchVEGAS

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True. I should have said of recent years. Lappas had some balanced teams as well. Times were different in that era though.
 

HuskyHawk

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I guess it depends how you define the term. Guard U. I don't think it about # of minutes per player. I think that it is more that our program has produced some memorable guards. Chris Smith, Ray Allen, KEA, Ben Gordon, Kemba, Shabazz are pretty impressive list. When you add Rip Hamilton, Jeremy Lamb, Marcus Williams, Rodney Purvis, AJ Price, Daniel Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Kevin Ollie and Tate George it becomes more impressive. All them went on to the NBA. I think, to the extent UConn as Guard U means anything, it means that UConn has a history of players moving on to the NBA at guard slot. Kind of hard to argue against that.

Maybe. But I think there is an argument that Donyell, Rudy Gay, Caron Butler and Richard Hamilton are better than any four guards we had. That’s omitting Charlie V, Burrell, Henefeld, Boone and Cliff Robinson (18 year NBA career). Both Hamiltons were SF at UConn. I posted the draft numbers. We had 7 centers drafted. Combining C and get twice as many as we had guards drafted.
 

CL82

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Maybe. But I think there is an argument that Donyell, Rudy Gay, Caron Butler and Richard Hamilton are better than any four guards we had. That’s omitting Charlie V, Burrell, Henefeld, Boone and Cliff Robinson (18 year NBA career). Both Hamiltons were SF at UConn. I posted the draft numbers. We had 7 centers drafted. Combining C and get twice as many as we had guards drafted.
[Shrug] I don't think it is all that official a title. I've heard "Wing-U" used as well.
 
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HuskyHawk

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[Shrug] I don't think it all that official a title. I've heard "Wing-U" used as well.

Yes, as @Lefty2one notes, we have won with dominant players at every spot on the court. I just find it odd that the current team plays guards more minutes (especially if you consider Martin a guard) than any UConn team I can ever remember. And yet people here keep saying we don't have enough guards. We have plenty.
 
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Yes, as @Lefty2one notes, we have won with dominant players at every spot on the court. I just find it odd that the current team plays guards more minutes (especially if you consider Martin a guard) than any UConn team I can ever remember. And yet people here keep saying we don't have enough guards. We have plenty.

Yep we have them and the one that makes the most impact is hurt. But it is strange we have so many minutes handed to them without the content required to be really good. But it's the way the minutes work out I guess. Just the numbers don't add up to why.
 

UKemba15

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It’s definitely interesting seeing it broken down by the numbers, I appreciate you taking the time to do that. I think we get labeled “Guard-U” nationally because all of our championship teams had absolutely tremendous leaders at PG (KEA, TB, Kemba, Bazz). Plus our fast pace of play required excellent vision and quick-thinking passes, so guards really mobilized our team (what I wouldn’t give for another distributor like Marcus Williams...).
 
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We've gone through stretches of being everything...

Point Guard U (Kemba-Bazz)
Wing U (Ray-Rip-Caron)
Big Man U (Okafor, Boone, Villaneuva, Thabeet, Drummond)
It's about star players, style of play, and how it evolved over various eras.

During the early-mid JC era (through ~2002) we were a running team mostly defined by star wings (Donyell, Ray, Rip, Caron).

From 2003 through 2009 we were defined by stud bigs (Okafor, Villanueva, Boone, Armstrong, Thabeet) and big lineups also featuring Rudy Gay, Stanley Robinson, Jeff Adrien, etc. Led the nation in blocks forever, big rebounding advantage.

From 2011 through the KO era we were defined by ball-dominant scoring point guards (Kemba, Bazz, Boat, even down through Jalen Adams). Frankly, I consider this as much an indication of a weakness (not much offensive design, not much of a post presence) as the strength of those players.

Now, in Hurley era, I think we're still feeling our way around, but I think it's most likely we return to a style most similar to the early JC era with terrific wings.
 
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It helps when our guards have been some of the best college players ever. How many other schools can match Ray Allen, Gordon, Kemba, and Shabazz. Then add in Smith, Boat, Price, Dyson, Taliek, etc. Our guard resume is up there with the best of em
Left out Rip... wing/guard... like Ray.
 
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Yes, as @Lefty2one notes, we have won with dominant players at every spot on the court. I just find it odd that the current team plays guards more minutes (especially if you consider Martin a guard) than any UConn team I can ever remember. And yet people here keep saying we don't have enough guards. We have plenty.
We don't, we have 4 guards and one is hurt right now. Martin and Jackson are nowhere near good enough shooters to be playing guard
 

HuskyHawk

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We don't, we have 4 guards and one is hurt right now. Martin and Jackson are nowhere near good enough shooters to be playing guard

Martin is shooting well from 3 actually. We've had teams with 3 guards on the whole roster. The problem is we won't play our bigs.
 
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Martin is shooting well from 3 actually. We've had teams with 3 guards on the whole roster. The problem is we won't play our bigs.
He's been shooting well, that's true. But he's not a guard and it's obvious by taking one look at him playing. There's really no use comparing how many guards were on UConn rosters in the 90s to now, the game of basketball has changed
 

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