Last April, the Connecticut men’s basketball team shocked the world, as they clinched their second national title in three years and upset the favored Kentucky Wildcats. Shabazz Napier took the tournament by storm and ushered the Huskies through a tough bracket slate that included Michigan State, Iowa State and Villanova. As the new season approaches, Connecticut must begin moving forward and focusing on rebuilding after losing their top two scores.
The Huskies will have a completely new look and new conference (American Athletic Conference) in2014-15 as Ryan Boatright, the highest returning scorer and junior guard, will assume the leadership role. He will be assisted by two other returning players, Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah, that both played significant minutes during the championship run.
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie brought in yet another strong recruiting class highlighted by 6 foot 7 swing man Daniel Hamilton. The highest rated player in the class (ESPN’s 30th overall, 8th best shooting guard) will bring significant versatility and a strong outside shot to a team in much need of perimeter scoring. Also, guard Sam Cassell Jr. and his NBA pedigree will be an integral part of the school’s continued success. Rounding out the class will be center prospect Rakim Lubin. The physically gifted big man will be a major presence down low, where he will put his exceptional shot-blocking ability to use.
The team should continue to find success in a weaker AAC (perennial powerhouse Louisville bolted this offseason for the ACC). If coach Ollie can replace the scoring that left town when Napier and Deandre Daniels got drafted, this team could be a major threat to make a deep run next March.