What a fun team to watch . . .

BParkDog

I will see number 5.
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
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Feels like we just got out of the desert after several years of wandering.
I love watching this team play. So much talent. Veterans, Neophytes, transfers. Explosive playmakers.
This class looks to be the class that kicks the door to the Party back open. Gotta love the prospects going forward for this team and for this program.
Thank you, Lord, for Dan Hurley. He has been unbelievably effective. Adaptive. Inspiring. Thank you coach.

I've read a lot of interesting takes in the last few months on this board. I think, given the year, we can all probably take a few Mulligans. Some of the more interesting takes . . . don't sleep on Springs, this is a FF team, RJ Cole will be our best guard and 2nd best player, Polley shouldn't start, BAdams shouldn't shoot, Bouk lacks focus, Hurley is not an X and O guy, and, my favorite - Josh Carlton was dismissed from the team after a coach's decision DNP against Hartford. Wow. That last one. I've barely been able to digest 80 minutes of observable play, which includes at least 5 guys who we have never seen in a UConn uniform.

Well. My quick take? I love this team. Fun fun. I really have missed having an aggressive Defense populated by athletic guys and JYDogs who will hound you on every play. Defense against Hartford was very respectable. All the new faces can D it up. AJacks, Sanogo, Martin. All excellent prospective defenders. Future is bright.

Some guys called Hartford a terrible win? Wow. 2 weeks of no practice. Virus restrictions. Polley coming off serious injury. 2 Freshmen getting significant minutes. I guess, if nothing else, the mass disappointment in which 2-0 has resulted is demonstrable proof of UConn's fans' exceedingly high expectations. Are we there yet? Lol.

Here's my "hot" take. This team will go as far as Gaffney and Adams and Polley take it. Why? Because Bouk will be Bouk. That is, stellar. Martin will be steady. Whaley will be steady. Cole will be Cole (serviceable). Sanogo and AJacks are freshmen and will, in 3 months, still be freshmen. Akok may be back, but what I saw last year is a great player who didn't have a broad skill set. Great effort, wonderful D, but limitations elsewhere. Further, when he comes back, he'll be taking minutes from Polley or Martin or somebody else who is playing at a fairly high level already, so it's not as if we'll be going from some scrub to Akok.

Gaffney is great. He is our alpha at point, and he has a LOT of room for development. I can imagine his game being smoother, stronger, and tighter (in a good way) than it is now in 3 months. He has the sort of court-command that it takes to bring a team deep. With a season to season further, he has the potential to be the under-control type point guard who cannot be rattled, which is needed to stave off opponent surges. As good as I expect him to be this year, he is going to be a great point for us over the next two years. I love him as the leader of our team.
RJ Cole you say? He is a fine player, and will be an important cog in our machine. But, realistically, he is at his ceiling. What do I see? A good - not great - point guard with a nice shot, decent moves, and reasonable court vision. On the down side, he is small, and, unfortunately, he plays small, unlike a Boatright or Napier or El Amin or Walker, who all played bigger than their size due to either their athleticism or stealth or aggression or all of those. He has made several very soft passes and had some soft turnovers. In 52 minutes against two of the lesser teams we will face he has gone 9/20 total, 5/12 from 3, and 4 of 8 from 2. Very Nice. BUT, he has had 7 assists and 6 turnovers to go along with 2 rebounds. I am concerned that those numbers will get worse when we hit BE play. If he's about 1:1 assist to turnover now and doesn't rebound, what will he be when he is facing bigger, quicker, more talented guards? Time will tell - I'm concerned this fan base will turn on him if they believed the hype coming in. He is a solid part of this team, but he does not look like he will be an alpha guard who takes us deep in the tourni. His defense is also questionable. It is unclear to me that he can substantially change those shortcomings. I think that Cole's effectiveness is going to be impacted - not insignificantly - when we get to BE play. I can see him struggling to stay in front of top guards, and struggling to get his shot off against BE guards. I would love to be wrong about that. My money, however, is on Gaff.

Brendan Adams is this year's Christian Vital, and if you don't see that, then re-watch Hartford and only watch him. The guy is non-stop effort. His D is very good. His help D is very good. His energy is high. There is a reason he gets PT - he has Vital-like effort. If Hurley lets him shoot 7 3s, then there is a reason for that. It's not random. I remember guys calling for DeAndre Daniels to be given the red light as the 14 season progressed. He wasn't shooting the 3 particularly well. The previous coach maintained the green light. Daniels getting hot late in the year, along with Calhoun getting benched for Giffey, was critical to our late run. Fact is, Daniels went cold only when we got to the finals. IF he had continued to hit the 3 at the rate he was hitting it late in that season, we beat Kentucky by 12 or more, and the people who thought we weren't the better team can bite me - we were.
Dan Hurley has seen BAdams for hundreds of hours of practice and games now. If Hurley wants to green light him, have faith. I do. If BAdams can hit the 3 in the high 30s, he becomes a guy who has to play 25 minutes a game.
Finally, Polley. If Gaff and BAdams develop this year, then the final piece, for me, is Polley.
Flat out, he looks BIG out there. If he can get back to where he left off, then he will be un-sittable. He was absolutely starting to get it before his injury. He was becoming a beast. He was hitting his open shots, D-ing people up like Giffey, and rebounding like Adrien. If Polley gets past the mental part of his injury, and re-commits himself to rebounding and defense, he IS the X-factor for this team.

Hurley is smart. He's thinking about March. You have got to get guys PT in November and December if you wan them ready by March. Carlton? Love his input into our program, but it is better to play Sanogo big minutes now so that he is ready by March than to play Carlton because he would likely do better than Sanogo against a Hartford or CCSU. Gotta let the talent work through mistakes.

Hurley's pattern has been the same for quite some time.

If you don't like the product you observed this week, be patient.

If this team makes the same progress that last year's team made between now and Groundhog's Day, then holy flying ------Balls bat man, we are going to be awesome.

Whaley, Bouk, Gaffney, Sanogo, Adams/Martin. That is my preferred crunch time line up, and I don't care about numbers and this and that.

It's good to be back.
 

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