We miss Kemba more than I expeected; Calhoun too | The Boneyard

We miss Kemba more than I expeected; Calhoun too

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As confident as I am that we'll be a good team by year's end, we're not as good right now as I expected we would be. I didn't think we'd miss Kemba so much because we had more talent and experience at the other positions and Shabazz seemed like he was ready to take the helm.

I was wrong. We do miss Kemba, in a Peyton Manning kind of way. We missed Calhoun last night too. His absence was fine for a short time. Maybe it was even a good thing to get a change of pace at practice. But his leadership, and the emotional strength he imparts in the players was sorely missed last night. When the bleeding started, there was no one there to apply a tourniqet. Instead, we got a Blaney band-aid, which simply wasn't adequate.

Glad our coach is back today. I look for a growth spurt from this team real soon.
 
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As much as I like Shabazz and as much as he's grown in his time @ UConn, there's no way he was going to match Kemba (probably the best year in UConn's history). But even as great as KW was, we all know how UConn struggled at times last year. Still a young team, still jelling, and March is still some time away. I guess you can expect nights like that when they focus on taking him out of the offense. But I didn't expect such loose defense on the perimeter, with guys t'ing up three after three.
 
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I don't miss kemba more than I expected. I knew we would miss him alot, but we lost games just like this last year with him on the team.

We had a bad game, and shots weren't falling on top of that. Same thing happened against st. johns last year. I just can't believe how shabazz can go from looking looking like a stud one day to whatever he looked like yesterday.

Calhoun is another story though. We need him.
 
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totally agree that we miss calhoun more... we knew we'd be missing kemba, but other guys have to step up... not having JC totally disrupts rhythm and flow in terms of practice and game mentality... kemba was a special player and we miss him, no doubt about it, but we struggled even with kemba last year... everyone always talks about how uconn is a different team in feb/march than they are in dec/jan- it begs the question, "why do so many people care so much about losses early in the season?" it happens every year, and last year was as blatant a reminder as possible that JC teams peak at the right time... as I said last year, the nice thing about games like we had last night is that it reminds us we have a very, very young team by any standards and they'll continue to improve... the team realizes they have work to do still and no one rests on their laurels... the other nice thing that is similar to last year is that even in a poor performance, there are silver linings, such as Giffey's play. Would Giff have gotten 15 minutes if JC were coaching or if we were in a tight game? We are going to need all 9 of the guys in the rotation to win a NC this year, so it's good to get guys minutes and build their confidence, even if it means a bad loss.

If Giffey needed those 15 minutes to give us 7 important minutes in a FF or NC game that we win, wasn't the loss to Seton Hall on January 3rd worth it?
 
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Anytime you win the national championship, you only hear about how great everyone is. Shabazz was said to be able to step in and lead this team from Day 1 as if Kemba never left. That just wasn't realistic. Even Kemba struggled mightily his sophomore year. Marcus Williams and AJ Price were great point guards their second years, and we need Shabazz to figure it out by March.

Unfortunately, I think we might end up in a situation where Shabazz develops into an excellent distributor and leader his junior year, but by that point Lamb and Drummond have moved on. This year is an almost unprecedented confluence of talent, but without the leadership (yet!). Next year we might have the leadership, but not enough talent. On the other hand, last year we had outstanding leadership and only "developing" talent and won the whole thing.

Sorry for the rambling, but the take-away is: leadership matters a ton, and we don't have it yet.
 
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Anytime you win the national championship, you only hear about how great everyone is. Shabazz was said to be able to step in and lead this team from Day 1 as if Kemba never left. That just wasn't realistic. Even Kemba struggled mightily his sophomore year. Marcus Williams and AJ Price were great point guards their second years, and we need Shabazz to figure it out by March.

Unfortunately, I think we might end up in a situation where Shabazz develops into an excellent distributor and leader his junior year, but by that point Lamb and Drummond have moved on. This year is an almost unprecedented confluence of talent, but without the leadership (yet!). Next year we might have the leadership, but not enough talent. On the other hand, last year we had outstanding leadership and only "developing" talent and won the whole thing.

Sorry for the rambling, but the take-away is: leadership matters a ton, and we don't have it yet.
although, next year, the roles might be a bit more defined with a bunch of guys who should emerge as extremely productive players... we may not have drummond or lamb, but we'll have napier, boatright, daniels, giffey, roscoe, olander, AO, maybe a Bradley or Wolf seeing some reserve minutes... if we sign a shooting guard or wing who can score, (*or maybe Omar is that guy?) we're not that much different than this year if you expect everyone else to up their games as well...
 

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I probably wrote a dozen posts in the off-season and pre-season arguing that everyone would miss Kemba a lot more than they anticipated, but who cares now?

This is our team.

What we were missing from this team was JC. I'm not saying we would have won the game with him coaching but it wouldn't have been as bad, I can tell you that.
 
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Even with KW, we barely won by 2 last year.

We showed the youth last night against a tough squad. If it was March/April, I'd be concerned, but it's only the first week of Jan. I'd expect the team to toughen up come tourney time. And I don't think we'd see us playing zone anytime soon.
 
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Even Kemba couldnt stop us from having several losses like this last year. People forget posters like sheep f#$er had long jumped off the cliff by the time the big east tourney started. Its a different team with a different personality. We'll just have to see how they regroup against Rutgers. Trying to compare to last year isnt fair to this team. That was a run for the ages that will never be repeated.
 
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I suppose the argument is then, how does Calipari make it work? People love to cr@p on the guy, but he also restocks his shelves with freshman every year and wins. Granted they're top shelf, but so is an Andre Drummond, Deandre Daniels. So were an Alex Oriakhi and what we now realize Jeremy Lamb is. His team and his team every year is driven by nothing more than sophomores and freshman they're always very good. So we to give him some credit for empowering young kids to take on leadership roles.

This team just feels like a lot of loose parts moving in different directions.
 
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Usually only a coach can stem momentum, like shu had last night. I'm not even sure Calhoun could have stopped the first half turnovers. I do know that Calhoun would have made drastic changes like benching all of the starters (certainly some of them) to send a message. So I miss Calhoun more than I did Kemba last night.

To GB credit he 'discovered' Giffey in the same way he did Marcus White.
 
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As confident as I am that we'll be a good team by year's end, we're not as good right now as I expected we would be. I didn't think we'd miss Kemba so much because we had more talent and experience at the other positions and Shabazz seemed like he was ready to take the helm.

I was wrong. We do miss Kemba, in a Peyton Manning kind of way. We missed Calhoun last night too. His absence was fine for a short time. Maybe it was even a good thing to get a change of pace at practice. But his leadership, and the emotional strength he imparts in the players was sorely missed last night. When the bleeding started, there was no one there to apply a tourniqet. Instead, we got a Blaney band-aid, which simply wasn't adequate.

Glad our coach is back today. I look for a growth spurt from this team real soon.

Of course we "miss" Kemba but not as much as one may have thought. Both Shabazz and Ryan have proven they can make an impact against anyone. Unfortunately in a few games they have played a lot like Kemba did as a freshman and early soph season. Instead of taking open 3's or perimeter jumpers they elect to ballfake and squeeze between a double or just go to far into the defense. They are too small to do that every time and the empty possessions are costly. They will learn and have been fine in other games, unfortuately both had that "disease" last night and helped the SH runs. Slow down and make regular passes and shots rather than trying to get "prettier" and impress. These guys are good and will learn from their errors and we'll all be happy come Feb/March!!
 
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