THIS year’s Uconn Huskies Mens Basketball team is in the midst of a 4 game loosing streak. They are the reigning national champs, but they are far from the same team. Talent is not an issue as they are loaded at every position; they are missing something just as important…a LEADER. Kemba Walker was not only their best player last year, he was their LEADER. When things got tough,i.e the offense got stagnant he was able to create. This year that is not the case, this is an extremely YOUNG team trying to figure out their identity. This is a different team than last year as they are now BIGGER with the addition of Andre Drummond. Last year Uconn played small ball; Kemba & Shabazz were the back court with Lamb playing small forward, that pushed Roscoe Smith(a natural SF) up a spot to play power forward and left Alex Oriahki to hold down the fort at center.
Coming into this year many expected Shabazz and Jeremy to lead this team, that has yet to happen. Bazz, Jeremy and Alex are all struggling to be consistent this year. In the current 4 game skid Uconn has went down by double digit deficits in EACH game only to rally in 3 of the 4 games to lose by no more than a basket! Their last game against Georgetown was no different, the Hoyas played hard all game and outworked the Huskies as they won by double-digits. Uconn looked listless, they don’t play as HARD as they did last year. That brings me to the solution for their problems, I know this is going to sound crazy to some but here it is: Roscoe Smith needs to START and play his natural position of SMALL FORWARD.
When most people think of Roscoe Smith, the first thing that comes to mind is that game against Texas last year when he prematurely threw the ball out of bounds with time left on the clock in regulation. It lasted the year as ESPN’s Not Top Play, when I think of Roscoe I think of how hard he plays. Even if it’s going the wrong direction, he’s going that way 100 mph. Every time he’s in the game Uconn plays with more intensity on defense, he really crashes the boards offensively as well. Roscoe gave up what he does best by fulfilling a role last year, he is far from a role player. He came to Uconn as one of the most sought after wing players in the country. Contrary to what most believe he is an outstanding shooter, when I looked at the incoming recruiting class last year I thought Roscoe was going to step up as Kemba’s 2nd option. Instead it was Lamb, Lamb did a great job. Lamb NEEDS help this year, Roscoe CAN score the basketball and right now he still appears to still be stuck in last year’s role.
THIS Uconn team needs another scoring option on the perimeter, Roscoe needs more playing time and has to be more assertive. He was NEVER scared to shoot in high school; Roscoe averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks a game his senior year at Oak Hill Academy. Even more impressive was that he shot 58% from the floor and 45% from deep. I don’t think he forgot how to shoot in just one year, Deandre Daniels is going to be a fine player for the Huskies in time. Roscoe should be getting those minutes, he should be allowed to develop just as Bazz and Lamb have been. Smith played 25 min a game last year, this year it’s down to 15. I truly think starting Roscoe will change Uconn’s mentality on both ends of the floor, but only time will tell.
The season is far from over, they made an IMPROBABLE run. They are more talented than last year and have more depth, the difference is Kemba Walker is not walking through that door. I have the utmost respect for Jim Calhoun, but he needs to put the players that anchored that run along with Mr. Walker on that floor. Napier, Lamb, SMITH, Oriahki, and Drummond will be the lineup that gets Uconn back above water. Outside of Kemba leaving and the addition of Drummond at center, the only difference is the change of playing time for Roscoe Smith. Can’t hurt to put him on the floor can it?
Tell me what you think, leave your comments below!!