Blog Entry

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

Posted on: November 26, 2011 6:02 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 7:23 pm
By Gary Parrish

They were sloppy at times -- full of questionable decisions and questionable shots. That'll have to improve. And it will. And when it does, watch out. Because after watching Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright play together for the first time (that's Boatright jumping over Napier at UConn's First Night this year) in the fourth-ranked Connecticut's 78-76 overtime win over No. 22 Florida State on Saturday, I'm pretty sure I'm ready to call the tiny playmakers the nation's most entertaining backcourt. What they lacked in composure they made up for with excitement. What they lack in experience they'll gain soon enough.

Napier spent the afternoon bombing away.

He hit six of 13 3-point attempts.

Boatright was crossing anybody and everybody.

He slashed into the lane almost at will.

They took turns playing with the ball and off the ball.

Both seemed mostly comfortable in either role.

Napier finished with 26 points and Boatright got 14 -- none of which were bigger than the three that came via free throws with 7.3 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score and force overtime. It was the freshman's Darius Washington-moment, and he passed it with ease. These stakes were different than those stakes, sure; a bid to the NCAA tournament wasn't in the balance. This is November, not March. But it was still a pressure-packed moment considering this was a game featuring two ranked schools on national television, and Boatright handled it well.

"I was just thinking about winning," Boatright told by phone. "I knew I had to make them."

Which is precisely what he did.

That it came in his college debut only made it more impressive.

Boatright, as you know, was caught accepting extra benefits from his summer coach before enrolling in college. The NCAA suspended him for six games. That forced him to miss UConn's first five ... plus Friday's loss to unranked UCF.

"It was tough sitting out," Boatright said. "No way to describe the feeling. Watching made me sick to my stomach."

But he won't have to watch anymore.

And he's going to make the Huskies a bigger problem than they otherwise would be in the Big East, because now Jim Calhoun has two dynamic ball-handlers to go with an All-American wing (Jeremy Lamb) and a pro big (Andre Drummond). Sprinkle in the pieces that are Alex Oriakhi, Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels and Roscoe Smith, and forget about how the Huskies look now. Think ahead to March and how they could look then.

It's scary.

The pieces are in place to compete for another title.

"We just got that last piece," Lamb told by phone. "Boatright was great today. He gives us another ball-handler. So I don't know how long it's gonna take, but I think we'll get there. I think we're gonna get there."

Photo: AP

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:22 pm

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

MikeSyr18 (I think 18 must represent your age so I will cut you some slack), I will be a UCF fan through thick and thin, enough said.  They are my favorite college team.  I don't know the condition of my brain (a lot older for sure) compared to yours, but I will say Syracuse has a great basketball tradition, a great program and a great coach.  Your running down UCF and other programs does not do you or Syracuse any good.  Year in and year out, they have a top 5 program and their basketball team will do well in the ACC.  Your football team has been the whipping-boy for quite a few years in the Big East and if they don't improve it will be even worse in the ACC.
Good luck to both, your football team is going to need it.

I am a grad of UCF and an alumnus there.  So are my children.  I chose UCF because I live there, but I was always a Gator fan.  My daughter was the big UCF fan with season football tickets.  She coerced me to some games, Daunte Culpepper came along, and I became a UCF fan dropping Florida to #2.  Now, I have season football and basketball tickets.  We have growing pains and we may or may not get there.  I am betting we will with what all the university has done to upgrade our facilities and programs. 

As far as you and others leaving the Big East, maybe The Big East will go away, but I don't think so.  I won't go into a lot of detail about the BCS and all of the conference changes and relocations other than to say it is the rich and established schools and conferences wanting it all.  It is all about M-O-N-E-Y with the big conferences stepping all over the other conferences.  I think the way some teams were beating teams from the big conferences scared them into expansion.  Most are trying to go to 14 team conferences which is about the limit due to scheduling as each 7 team Division has to paly 6 games in their divisions plus 3 - 4 against teams in the other division.  They saw the TCU's and Boise State's as threats, so their expanding was done in part to eliminate competition from non-BCS conferences. 

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 5:41 pm

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

Oh, and to the UCF fan. You're a UCF fan. Enough said. The only reason why the sport programs from your school are going to make it into a BCS conference that won't be around in a few years is because three other teams are leaving the Big East and the conference is desperate for more teams to join. So in other words, UCF is leaving one crappy conference to go to another. 

Your brain is obviously not functioning that well either if you picked UCF as your favorite college football and college basketball teams.  

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 5:37 pm

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

Oh, sorry about the one little typo where I added the "s" at the end of "team". 

I guess my sports knowledge must suck, considering I pointed out a bad loss by UConn and a couple of good wins by 'Cuse.

Why don't you change your tampon, take some midol, get some sleep and then post something better in the morning  

Since: Aug 31, 2010
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:15 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 25, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:21 pm

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

A "nobody" team will never beat a team the caliber of UCONN, so I don't appreciate you calling my team "nobody."  I do critique my team and if they don't learn how to make free throws they will not beat many teams at all.  FSU is not overrated, not nearly as your brain is overrated.  I hope UCONN kicks your butt.

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2011 2:27 pm

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

o yea cuse looked really good beating vtech

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:08 am

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

Yeah, real scary. Too bad they lost to a nobody and almost lost to an overrated Florida State team. Syracuse is the only teams that has shown any promise so far this year, beating Stanford and Virginia Tech. 

Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:20 am

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

boatright is definitely taking the team in the right direction though...

i saw flashed of allen iverson in that kid.. 

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:10 am

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

It was a "W" in OT, yes?  Boatright is not the key.  Replacing Kemba is the key.

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:14 am

UConn wins with new/fun backcourt

UConn is a Big East team.

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