Following his benching of Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards in a 75-68 effective season ending defeat at South Florida, Jim Calhoun said “The team that you saw at the end will be the team that starts Tuesday”, referring to the opening round of the Big East Tournament. Calhoun didn’t stick to his word, and less than five minutes into the game it was clear he’d made a grave mistake. St. John’s jumped out to a 10-2 lead en route to a 73-51 laugher…a game the Huskies were never really in. It was UConn’s worst performance of the season, and afterwards ESPN ripped the players, insinuating some of them had “mailed it in”.
As the Huskies get ready to take on Jim Calhoun’s former team, Northeastern, let’s hope Coach Calhoun remembers what he said after the South Florida game, and let’s hope we get to see the kids. And by “see the kids” I don’t mean letting the seniors start the game so that they can put the underclassman behind the eight ball like vs USF and St. John’s, I mean let’s see them right out of the gate. They’ve sat and watched for painfully long stretches this season, and while none of them have done a whole lot to warrant the playing time, in terms of wins and losses, neither have the seniors.
I’m not suggesting Dyson, Edwards and Robinson shouldn’t play, just that it’s they that should be coming off the bench on Tuesday night. Talent wise, Dyson, Edwards and Robinson are the play, but hunger wise, it’s not even close. Dyson, who averaged 17.3 for the season, averaged just 7.8 points on .387 shooting over the final four games (losses). Edwards’ offensive stats remained consistent down the stretch, but defensively he’s looked lost. Stanley Robinson averaged 14.7 points this season but he, like Dyson, went ice cold in the Huskies last four, averaging just 9 points per game.
Donnell Beverly will miss Tuesday’s match up with a knee, which should open the door for Darius Smith, or who knows, maybe even Jamaal Trice, who hasn’t played since January 27th, and has only appeared in 11 games this season. Smith clearly has a lot to learn on the offensive end, especially when it comes to running the break, but he’s shown to be a pesky defender with a high motor.
Jamal Coombs-McDaniel has shown promise, but he’s also shown to be inconsistent. With Roscoe Smith already in the fold for next season, it will be interesting to see how JCM fits into the rotation moving forward. Alex Oriakhi started the season with such promise, averaging 8.8 rebounds over the first 17 games, but his offense regressed as the season went along, and his minutes and confidence level subsequently decreased. Of the three seniors Edwards’ effort level has remained the highest, so I wouldn’t complain if he got extended minutes, but I’d prefer to see Alex get the bulk of the time at the four in this one.
The 2009-2010 season is already behind us, it’s time to look towards the future. Let’s see those kids, coach.
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