"Oh, he has helped me big time," Walker said of Napier. "I understand what he's done for this team. He brings a lot of energy to this team. He brings that extra playmaking ability to the team. There's times when I'm not able to be on the ball the whole game because maybe I'm a little fatigued. Guys will want to ball pressure me, and he gives me that extra edge."
Lamb on the Chip game:
"Coach was into me," Lamb said. "He was just encouraging me, you know, saying 'Let's go. Pick it up.' Right out of the half, they ran a couple of plays for me. I was able to get to the foul line. After I saw the ball go in a couple times, I got my confidence back and was able to knock down some shots."
Blaney on Lamb this summer:
"That kind of basketball allows you to spread your wings," Blaney said. "It was a carryover from what he did in the tournament. & He can score so many ways."
The recruit analysts have gone bonkers over Drummond, who some say is the best young big man to come along since Ohio State's Greg Oden.
"Few players in America (pro or college) have combination of size, athletic ability and skill that he possesses," ESPN.com wrote. "Anything around the rim he catches and dunks, often while getting fouled by two or more people. He has a hook and is comfortable near the basket with either hand. He can face and is not only a threat to shoot but he can drive with authority.
"Anywhere on the floor he's an adept passer, which speaks to his basketball IQ. His reflexes around the ball and the rim are awesome. He's a super offensive rebounder and will get after it on the other side. Defensively, he's an intimidator."
"I chose UConn because I thought that was the best situation for me," Daniels said. "It was their open style of play and how they make their wings better, on and off the court."
Versatility could be the key for Daniels. He is a good outside shooter and his length could be an asset defensively on the perimeter. But he could slide into the power forward spot and be a big help to Oriakhi.
Boatright is not just a passer. He scored more than 40 points in seven games as a senior, including games of 55 and 63. Keep your eye on Boatright during any dunking contests the next few years. But right now, the Huskies are counting on him to contribute right away.
"Shabazz with almost more zip," Calhoun said in describing Boatright. "It's hard to think of that."
Final thoughts by Blaney:
"When you win a national championship, it's a life-changing thing for those guys," Blaney said. "[Calhoun] is never going to allow [the Huskies to become complacent]. It's too much of a positive to make it a negative. You're not very smart if you make it a negative. I think these kids are trying to take it to another level."
"Somebody wrote that we were the best tournament team ever in the history of college basketball," Blaney said. "You'd have a tough time arguing that. That's pretty special, and I think the players understand that." Calhoun will never catch John Wooden, who won 10 championships at UCLA. But Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp are within reach with their four titles each. Calhoun, who took over at UConn in 1986 when the Huskies were perennial bottom feeders in a much smaller Big East Conference, has done this in just four trips to the Final Four. Wooden went to 12. Coach K has gone 11 times, Rupp six and Bob Knight five. The only blemish on Calhoun's Final Four record is a semifinal loss to Michigan State in 2009. At 6-1, Calhoun and the Huskies have a .857 winning percentage at the Final Four. That remarkable number now ranks first in NCAA history (based on a minimum three games), ahead of NC State (5-1) and San Francisco (5-1). "Up until the last few years, I used to think that other people write your legacy," Calhoun said after cutting down the nets in Houston. "I guess I've seen some things with some of my fellow coaches like [Ohio State football coach] Jim Tressel and other folks. I really wonder what your legacy does become. Do facts really write them or do other people think they can, by some supposition, define what the facts are or aren't? "I needed this team. Very rarely does a coach say that. & For everybody involved, they truly were brothers, they truly were trusting of each other and very, very special." The fact is Calhoun had a great time coaching the Huskies last season. And even though expectations are higher heading into this season than they were a year ago at this time, he might have an even better time in the year ahead.
BACKCOURT: A BENCH/DEPTH: B FRONTCOURT: A INTANGIBLES: A- When the Huskies began last season with the ceremonial First Night practice, Calhoun and other UConn representatives were in Indianapolis testifying before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. UConn was penalized for recruiting violations in the Nate Miles case, but the Huskies were not banned from postseason play and went on to win the NCAA championship. The scholarship reductions that last for three years will serve as a reminder of those penalties. So will Calhoun's suspension for the first three Big East games this coming season. Calhoun will miss games at USF (Dec. 28), vs. St. John's (Dec. 31) and at Seton Hall (Jan. 3). Otherwise, the mood around Storrs has greatly improved. Expectations will be higher, especially with Drummond in the lineup. Lamb is ready to be the next star in a long line of great wing players at UConn. Both could be NBA lottery picks in 2012. And there is no doubt the Huskies have the potential to repeat -- even though that may be the most difficult challenge in NCAA basketball. "When you win a national championship, it's a life-changing thing for those guys," Blaney said. "[Calhoun] is never going to allow [the Huskies to become complacent]. It's too much of a positive to make it a negative. You're not very smart if you make it a negative. I think these kids are trying to take it to another level."
The depth score is probably most likely because we have 1 real guard coming off the bench, and he's an unproven commodity at that. Our 3/4 depth is pretty good though. Tyler Olander is probably the 3rd forward off the bench and he could start and be a glue guy on many teams. However center gets a little weak again, assuming Wolf hasn't developed immensely over the summer (especially with Bradley still hurt).
What we really have, if not depth, is versatility. Lamb, Smith, Oriakhi, Giffey, Daniels, and Drummond can probably each play at least 2 positions.