HOUSTON — All through its dominant NCAA Event run, UConn saved cardboard cutouts of the nationwide championship trophy on show in its locker room as a reminder of what the group was working towards. As Huskies coach Dan Hurley defined, the thought was to supply the gamers a visible, a reminder of their joint targets in an period of particular person participant empowerment.
“You’ve got actually bought to show from September by means of to when the season ends into the ‘we’ season as a result of you understand the ‘me’ season is coming very quickly,” Hurley mentioned. “It actually hits you as quickly as you play your final recreation, the place it goes from ‘we’ to ‘me.'”
UConn will probably be celebrated with a parade within the days forward. Finally, a banner will probably be raised inside Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. There will probably be no scarcity of celebrations for what the Huskies completed in the course of the 2022-23 “we” season. However lurking within the background is the truth that the 2023 “me” season has begun, and even the nationwide champions should not immune.
A number of key gamers face huge choices within the days forward: Return to UConn, head to the NBA Draft or hit the switch portal searching for new on-court roles or potential NIL paydays. Of the eight gamers who have been a part of the Huskies’ rotation Monday evening, solely reserve guard Joey Calcaterra is out of eligibility.
However the trendy realities of school basketball counsel he will not be the one member of the group departing this system. In some methods, UConn is now a sufferer of its personal success. Because the Huskies discovered their stride on the nationwide stage, NBA Draft buzz round star capturing guard Jordan Hawkins and others solely elevated.
Exiting the season, small ahead Andre Jackson and facilities Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan are additionally going through huge draft choices after constructing their inventory whereas displaying distinctive talent units on faculty basketball’s largest stage. With a five-man signing class ranked No. 4 nationally on the way in which, here’s a have a look at the choices going through the rotation gamers with remaining eligibility from the Huskies’ 2022-23 roster:
G Jordan Hawkins
Hawkins averaged 16.3 factors on 50% 3-point capturing throughout UConn’s six NCAA Event video games to cap a breakout sophomore season. The 6-foot-5 marksman upped his common from 5.8 factors as a freshman to 16.2 throughout his second season after rating as a a four-star prospect within the Class of 2021. He drilled 38.8% of his 3-pointers on 7.6 makes an attempt in the course of the 2022-23 marketing campaign and has the athleticism to make it on the subsequent stage.
He wants so as to add muscle to his body with a view to deal with the defensive calls for of the following stage, however as an elite, high-volume shooter, Hawkins owns an in-demand skillset. Hawkins may actually profit from one other 12 months in a collegiate energy program, however his inventory could wind up being too excessive to justify a return to the faculty recreation.
C Adama Sanogo
At simply 6-foot-9 and with good-not-great athleticism, Sanogo shouldn’t be an elite rim protector. His greatest weapon for UConn has been his offense acumen within the put up. Nevertheless, the Closing 4’s Most Excellent Participant confirmed some methods in current weeks that would make him attention-grabbing to professional scouts. Sanogo added the 3-point shot to his arsenal in the course of the 2022-23 season by hitting 36.5% of his makes an attempt from the arc and appeared nice as a passer when Gonzaga introduced double groups in the course of the Elite Eight. He additionally has an opportunity to develop into a serviceable perimeter defender since he has better-than-expected lateral agility for a participant of his dimension and body.
However loopy as it could appear, the star of the Huskies’ run does face not less than some extent of uncertainty. It is arduous to think about an NBA franchise taking Sanogo as a first-round decide due to how de-emphasized facilities of his sort have develop into on the subsequent stage. With Clingan additionally rising as one in all faculty basketball’s prime facilities, Hurley should work out the right way to stroll a tightrope. Sanogo and Clingan made for a dynamic one-two punch on the 5 for UConn in the course of the Huskies’ title run, however they performed collectively lower than 8% of the time.
C Donovan Clingan
Clingan logged simply 13.9 minutes per recreation throughout his true freshman season, however the 7-foot-2 heart nonetheless proved to be one of many nation’s most harmful shot blockers. The previous four-star prospect additionally hit 65.9% of his makes an attempt from the sector. With elevated minutes, he might be a strolling double-double and All-American. However what number of minutes will probably be accessible if Sanogo is again in a UConn uniform subsequent season?
The NBA might be an choice for Clingan, who has drawn comparability to Utah Jazz heart Walker Kessler for his rim safety and floor-running capabilities as a seven-footer. Neither are 3-point capturing threats and each have limitations as perimeter defenders, however Clingan’s inside protection and talent as a lob menace make him a possible professional.
G Andre Jackson
At 6-foot-6 and with a prolonged body, Jackson has the bodily instruments and all-around recreation to thrive on the subsequent stage. He averaged simply 6.7 factors per recreation throughout his junior season abut additionally pulled down 6.2 rebounds, dished out 4.7 asstis and picked up 1.1 steals per recreation. Jackson’s profession 29.3% 3-point capturing mark leaves one thing to be desired from an NBA standpoint. However when it comes to versatility, instruments and intangibles, the previous four-star prospect is an NBA-caliber participant. Except for the towering Clingan, Jackson rated because the Huskies’ greatest defender, per evanmiya.com.
Different UConn rotation gamers
Nahiem Alleyne and Tristen Newton: Each guards have been listed a seniors on the 2022-23 roster however have one season of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alex Karaban: At 6-foot-8 and with a easy 3-point shot, Karaban may actually develop into an NBA prospect in his personal proper over time. For now, the wing appears on observe to return after a superb redshirt freshman season.
Hassan Diarra: His position decreased later within the season, however Diarra is a superb perimeter defender with two seasons of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-2 guard could have bother carving out a gentle position once more subsequent season with five-star freshman guard Stephon Fortress on the way in which.