Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shabazz Napier Aiming to Be Better at Everything Next Season

Ultimately for Shabazz Napier, his decision to remain at UConn for his senior season had nothing to do with potential draft status or injuries or anything else. It simply came down to a promise he made to his mother.

(Here's a story on UConn's terrific backcourt tandem in the Register)

"The biggest thing is getting a degree, walking across that stage," Napier said on Thursday. "My mother told me I promised her that, and I kept my promise. There was nothing else. My mother's been a single parent for 27 years. The closest bond I can have is with my mother. I promised her something, and I'm not gonna go behind her back."

Napier, of course, announced his decision nearly three months ago.  After participating at the NIKE Point Guard Skills Camp a couple of weeks ago with Ryan Boatright in Union, N.J., and at the LeBron James Skills Academy earlier this week, Napier is back in Storrs working on his summer courses. He said he's on track to graduate after the fall semester with a degree in sociology.

Despite a sterling junior season in which he led the Huskies in scoring, assists and clutch shots and was actually second in rebounding (!), Napier is still looking to get better. He said he learned a lot about how he can improve at LeBron's camp.

“It was good, a new learning experience," he said. "(I learned) how better I need to be to become as good as I want, learned a lot from myself, coaches, asked a lot of questions, being out there with group of talented players.”

“I think I need to improve on being a leader. You can never not improve on being a leader. I can definitely improve my defensive aggressiveness, get better on defense, better at shooting. There were a lot of things last year that a lot of people said I did well, but can always improve on and get better. Nothing can be perfect, but when strive to be perfect, you can be as good as you can be."

Napier believes the Huskies can be "tremendously good" next season.

"Our agenda needs to be the same as it was last year," he said.

With no postseason to play for, the Huskies really bought into the team concept last season, playing for their school, their coaches and each other. Could they lose that edge next year -- especially with a few players who harbor NBA draft dreams for next June?

"It's possible we may lose that edge," Napier admitted. "But hopefully, the guys will have the same mindset. If not ... that's what coaches are for."

And team leaders. And Shabazz Napier is undoubtedly that, even if he knows he can become an even better one.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man love for Bazz. One ring is nice. Go for two young buck!

Frank Ivy

July 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shabazz, we are indebted to you for your loyalty, your great skills and your commitment to being a student athlete.

July 16, 2013 at 9:53 PM 

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