Monday, July 9, 2012

Jim Calhoun Looks Ahead to 2012-13 Season

Doing a UConn season preview for Lindy's college basketball magazine. The preview has to be done by mid-July. The issue comes out in October. Every year, it seems, there are numerous changes between July and October that happen too late to be edited for the final edition -- from the departures of Nate Miles and Ater Majok in years past to Andre Drummond's surprise arrival last August.

Will there be any such movement this year? Say, a certain Hall of Fame coach deciding not to return late in the summer? I doubt it. And with that in mind, I had a phone conversation with Jim Calhoun this morning about the 2012-13 team. Here's a little of what he had to say:

(on next year's team, in general)

"I'm not saying it's the most talent we've ever had, it isn't. But we have a chance to be a better team -- not record-wise -- but a 'team.' We won't be having that national championship hangover.

(on changing the team's philosophy, without a dominant, shot-swatting center in the middle)

"You could see DeAndre (Daniels), Niels (Giffey), Leon (Tolksdorf), Tyler (Olander), all could be playing the four-spot. Hopefully, it's an offensive spot for us. We've definitely gone over the whole 'four-out' series, even 'five-out' (meaning four or five players playing outside the paint)."

(on Omar Calhoun)

"He's been terrific. He's almost 6-6, 200. His shot's a little funny, but it goes in ... all spring, our best shooter has been Omar."

(on having Ryan Boatright play point and moving Shabazz Napier off the ball)

"We'd like to do that more. Shabazz is probably our best pure shooter -- though it'll be interesting to see how DeAndre Daniels comes along."

(on R.J. Evans)

"R.J. is exactly what the doctor ordered. He came in not in as great shape as he would like to have been, but he's now 6-3, 210. When he's your fourth guard, you're in pretty good shape."

(on last year's "national championship hangover")

"We lost Kemba (Walker) and Charles (Okwandu), we lost the whole attitude we had the year before. It wasn't a bad attitude (last season), it wasn't that we weren't hungry anymore. But we turned to ourselves a little bit. That was obvious at the end of the season, and from some of the things that happened after the season was over."

(on the mass defections from last year's team)

"People make decisions in life, that's their decision. I wish them all the best. The two who left early, they should have gone early. Roscoe's a good kid, he wanted to leave, we would have liked him to stay. Same with Alex, he has a chance to play next year. Would Andre be better served (staying)? I think Jeremy should have gone. Those kids that want to leave, they have different pressures from different people. Life marches on. I'm gonna leave someday, too.

"Jerome (Dyson) came back and spent a couple of days with me. He was talking about what he did or didn't do when he was here. I told him, 'It doesn't make a difference. It's what you do today that matters.'"

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