Who had UCONN cutting down the nets before the season?
The answer to that question would be nobody, except for maybe their fans and family members. Connecticut had a good season last year, but it went unnoticed since they were banned from postseason play. The Huskies finished (20-10) overall last year and (10-8) within conference play.
Heading into this season, second year head coach Kevin Ollie was optimistic and who wouldn’t be when you have a superstar point guard like Shabazz Napier. But even Ollie couldn’t have imagined this year ending with a National Championship, especially with wins over Florida and Kentucky.
UCONN defeated Kentucky 60-54 to win their 4th National title in school history. Ollie had the vision of this happening at some point.
“I said in the beginning, 18 months ago when we started this process that the last is going to be the first. We always did it together and
always played as a group. It was great. My coaching staff, my players, really, all of UConn being here, that is what it is all about. Coach (Jim)
Calhoun, the greatest coach ever, he paved the way, and I just want to thank coach too.”
All-American Shabazz Napier dropped 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also had 3 assists, 3 steals and grabbed 6 rebounds. Napier had to endure the postseason ban last season, so this one was extra sweet.
“Honestly, I want to get everyone’s attention right quick. Ladies and gentleman, you are looking at the hungry Huskies. This is what
The tempo was set in the first few minutes Monday night. UCONN jumped on the young Wildcats early, taking a 30-15 lead at one point. Kentucky cut that deficit to four at halftime, but they were unable to get over the hump in the second half.
Andrew Harrison picked the wrong time to have one of his worst games of the season. The freshmen guard only had 8 points on 3-of-9 shooting and compiled that with 4 turnovers. Julius Randle didn’t play his best game either. The Texas native only had 7 shot attempts, he just couldn’t find a rhythm out there.
“My shots didn’t matter. When I was penetrating, guys were open on the wing and that’s my job to get them shots if they suck in. So I don’t care about shots.”
James Young did his best to keep Kentucky afloat in the second half. He finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds.
“We really fought, no matter what, no matter how much we were down. We just kept our heads up and just kept fighting for each other. And we had a couple chances that we had to bring it back and we just kept fighting.”
Now that another college basketball season is in the books, the question is what’s next?
Well, for UCONN they’re going to be without Shabazz Napier next year, who is still projected as a second round selection.
I've talked to several executives who still view Shabazz Napier as a second-rounder, even after impressive tourney: http://t.co/48zCgzb8KQ
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 8, 2014
As for Kentucky, they have two burning questions. The first question is who will leave or comeback?
Calipari addressed both questions accordingly.
“Well, Ill sit down with each young man individually, probably have their family either with us or on a speaker phone and get them information and say, If I can help you with anything, let me know. Tell me what you want to do, what do I need to help you?
“I kind of stay out of the decision making. I just got them information. So we’ll see. I have no idea because I haven’t talked to them and none of us talked about that. We were playing to win the National Championship.”
Earlier today we reported that Calipari could be the Lakers next head coach. Coach Cal wasn’t willing to feed into that rumor after the game.
“The Lakers have a basketball coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I got the best job in the country. I’m not even going to dignify that stuff.”
UCONN students, fans and faculty don’t have much time to celebrate because the women’s team has a National Championship game to play in less than 24 hours. It must be great to be a Huskie.