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19 | UCONN

Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015

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Nov. 9, 2015

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19 | UCONN

GETTING OLDER

This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue

In 2014--15 the Huskies became the ninth team to miss out on the NCAA tournament the year after winning a title. "We lost five games on the last possession. Five!" says coach Kevin Ollie, who knew UConn didn't just need to get better this season—it also needed to get more savvy. He accomplished both goals by signing graduate transfers Sterling Gibbs, a 6'2" combo guard from Seton Hall, and Shonn Miller, a 6'7" power forward from Cornell.

These are plum additions for a team that was already retaining 66.7% of its scoring and 78.2% of its rebounding. Miller's burly frame and midrange touch should complement the skills of 7-foot junior center Amida Brimah, who last season ranked second nationally in blocks (3.5 per game) despite habitual foul trouble. Gibbs, meanwhile, will try to enter the pantheon of undersized guards who have won titles at UConn (Khalid El-Amin, Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier).

Gibbs spent much of his summer picking Ollie's brain about the finer points of point guard leadership. If Gibbs and Miller can pass along what they've learned to their younger teammates, the Huskies will be back to their old-school ways.

PROJECTED TEAM STATS

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 111.4 (35th)

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 92.7 (9th)

AAC RECORD 14--4 (T-1st)

X-FACTOR

Rodney Purvis struggled on offense after transferring from N.C. State, but he did average 16.7 points over his final nine games, scoring a career-high 29 in a loss to SMU in the AAC tournament final.

STAT SHEET

With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers

Coach Kevin Ollie (4th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG OFF. RATING USAGE
SF Daniel Hamilton* 6'7" Soph. 12.7 7.1 3.0 103.7 26.0%
SG Rodney Purvis* 6'4" Jr. 12.4 2.8 1.4 105.1 23.9%
PG Sterling Gibbs* 6'2" GS 11.6 2.2 3.5 110.2 22.0%
C Amida Brimah* 7'0" Jr. 8.9 5.0 0.4 122.1 15.8%
PG Jalen Adams 6'3" Fr. 8.5 3.1 3.3 108.4 21.0%
PF Shonn Miller* 6 7" GS 8.2 5.2 0.8 106.6 19.1%

*Starter

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

NCAA CHAMPS

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

PHOTOSTEVE SLADE/UCONN ATHLETICS (GIBBS)PHOTOCLOE POISSON/HARTFORD COURANT/TNS/GETTY IMAGES (PURVIS)CHART