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Shabazz Napier grew into a championship leader

by - Published April 8, 2014 in Columns
connecticut

Shabazz Napier wasn’t always the easiest kid to root for. He was rough around the edges and could let his competitive streak get the best of him on occasion. Early on, he was an underachiever in the classroom. It would be easy to watch him and see him as a selfish player at times. You could be excused if you wondered if he wasn’t going to be one more example of a city legend somewhere who flamed out when it came to college.

If you knew him back in those days, you knew none of that was who he really is. And if you have followed him over the years, you know that none of that has been true for quite a while now. He wakes up on Tuesday morning with an incredible college legacy that includes two national championships, and one that is the product of tremendous growth into the player and person he always had the potential to become. That he is a two-time champion does not change him from what he was into something else; rather, it is his evolution into the person he is that changed him into a champion.

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2014 East Regional Final notebook

by - Published April 2, 2014 in Columns
author_floriani

NEW YORK – The 2014 Final Four is set. One of the last teams to advance was Connecticut, 60-54 winners over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Some notes from what was a classic in every sense:

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A Garden Party for the Huskies as UConn advances to the Final Four

by - Published March 30, 2014 in Columns
connecticut

NEW YORK – Riding a wave of momentum, UConn advanced to the Final Four by virtue of a thrilling victory at Madison Square Garden. The 60-54 decision over Michigan State in the East regional final was a thrilling contest that electrified the storied edifice. The possession numbers saw a 61-possession (slower) game, with UConn owning a 98-90 edge in offensive efficiency.

Three points of emphasis:

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Napier makes like his former teammate in New York to carry UConn

by - Published November 23, 2013 in Columns
connecticut

NEW YORK – A Boston kid did it in New York. Even if he channeled some of a New Yorker to do it, considering the two cities’ long-time rivalry with each other in so many respects, it’s quite a story. And they don’t get much more “Boston original” than Shabazz Napier, the hero in Connecticut’s championship in the 2K Sports Classic by virtue of a thrilling 59-58 win over Indiana.

One of the last times Connecticut was on this floor, they were celebrating the end of an amazing run in the 2011 Big East Tournament. Then, Kemba Walker led the Huskies to five wins in five days as the start of an 11-game winning streak that ended in the 2011 national championship. Napier was part of that team and had two years of playing together with Walker, and the resemblance is a sign of the influence Walker had on the confident senior guard.

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In a tough loss, Connecticut shows tremendous heart

by - Published February 28, 2013 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
uconn

STORRS, Conn. – Kevin Ollie wanted to make sure those covering Wednesday night’s game do at least one thing above all else.

“I hope y’all write that we’ve got heart – at the end of your articles, this team has got heart,” said the UConn head coach.

He’s right.  This team has heart.  It was fully on display Wednesday night in a game they had no business even getting to overtime, let alone a second overtime where they led 78-71 with just over two minutes left.

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Connecticut will go as far as Napier, backcourt will take them

by - Published December 9, 2012 in Columns
connecticut

STORRS, Conn. – There’s no question Connecticut will ride their guards as much as possible this season. Given their personnel, that’s about their only choice as they are far deeper on the perimeter than up front and more talented there. It’s also where their most natural leaders are, in particular the one who didn’t score for much of Friday’s 57-49 win over Harvard largely because he was busy helping others do that.

The easy pick as the star on Friday night would be DeAndre Daniels. The sophomore forward, a talent who simply got buried behind more experienced players a year ago, had a long-awaited breakout game with 23 points on 9-12 shooting. He had a career high by halftime, as he scored 15 points in the opening frame, and if he can do that more, it would be a big development.

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Will more players follow Vonleh and re-classify back into their original class?

by - Published October 5, 2012 in Columns
author_kasiecki

Last week began with some big news in the world of recruiting as Noah Vonleh opted to move back into the Class of 2013 after re-classifying into the class of 2014 a year earlier. Vonleh becomes the latest of several players to make that move, but it’s entirely possible he won’t be the last by a long shot – and it may be the case that this trend signals something else.

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Plenty of teams prepare to jockey for seeding, selection tonight

by - Published February 21, 2012 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

In the immortal words of the Black Eyed peas, tonight’s gonna be a good night.

There are 40 teams in action tonight, and more than half of them are likely to appear in the NCAA Tournament or seriously challenge for their conference’s automatic bid. We’ve got elite powers like Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio State in addition to upstarts that could make life miserable for those powerhouses, such as Vermont, Valparaiso and Cleveland State.

Here’s some of the top games to track tonight. … Continue Reading

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Your Phil of Hoops

Saturday Notes – December 20, 2014

December 21, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

A busy Saturday is in the books, and we saw the matchups get better, the results continue to be noteworthy and tell us more, and a couple of the games needed a lot of extra time to decide.

Despite a hit on the bottom line, Stony Brook’s transition continues

December 16, 2014 by

stonybrook

Stony Brook was able to hang with Providence until the roof caved in several minutes into the second half. It’s part of a growing process this team in transition needs, and it continues despite dropping a few games along the way.

Amidst Maine’s rebuilding challenge, there is hope

December 12, 2014 by

maine

Maine has a long road ahead as they rebuild under new head coach Bob Walsh. Amidst the early struggles, the Black Bears have shown some reason for hope going forward.

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Recruiting Coverage

2014 Scholar Roundball Classic recap and notes

December 16, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look at some notes and evaluations from Sunday’s action at the Scholar Roundball Classic, where the blowouts included some noteworthy performances.

2014 Hoop Mountain Prep Classic – Sunday notes

December 9, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at Sunday’s action in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, which included an overtime thriller and a couple of lopsided contests, and some prospects who helped themselves out with their play.

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by

author_kasiecki

The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.