Adrien Will Have the Chance to Shine

There are certain games in sports that will stick in your head for eternity. You wonder how they happened and what could have been done to prevent them. Bad losses stick with you for an entire off-season and I'm not going to lie, I've replayed Denham Brown's last second missed three against George Mason in my head over a dozen times since the game was over.

How could Jim Calhoun let such a talented team not reach its destiny?

How could Rudy Gay not extract the greatness we all saw in him?

But everything happens for a reason, and there was something great that can be taken out of that devastating 86-84 loss that cost the Huskies a berth in the Final Four for the third time in school history.

Actually it's something special.

And that something is Jeff Adrien.

I felt throughout last season that Adrien would have averaged a double-double on any other team in the Big East. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he is a load in the paint.

He doesn't have prototypical power forward's size, but he is a guy coaches and fans fall in love with because of his intangibles.

And that was never more apparent than against George Mason.

Searching for expanded minutes all season long, the native of Brookline, Massachusetts logged 25 against Jim Laranagga's club, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Due to the depth in the Huskies frontcourt, Adrien always had trouble staying on the floor for long periods of time, averaging only 16.6 MPG while scoring 6.5 PPG and grabbing five rebounds per game.

Those numbers will increase drastically next season.

And if 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet can attract as much attention in the low post as he has since UConn gained a commitment from him, nobody will benefit more than Adrien.

Thabeet's presence will allow him to roam on the weak side and get more put backs and garbage points in the paint.

We know the Huskies will have a different look next season. They will be bringing in nine new players that comprise arguably one of the top three recruiting classes in America.

But nothing will be different about Adrien. He will be bringing the same blue collar game he always has; only for longer.

TIDBITS - When Uconn travels to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech in the Georgia Dome, it will feature a matchup of two of the best freshman in the country. Thaddeus Young, a 6-foot-9 small forward is the best recruit Paul Hewitt has had since Chris Bosh and the matchup between he and Stanley Robinson should be a classic.

- From people I've talked to who saw Doug Wiggins play at the IS8 tournament in Queens, they said it was a major relief that St. Johns got Derwin Kitchen to commit late in the signing period. After Wiggins reneged his verbal to the Red Storm and chose the Huskies, it opened up a possible disaster for St. Johns, but Norm Roberts recovered and the Storm should be much improved next season.

- Is it me, but I think Rashad Anderson is the next Dell Curry? Both were never effective ball handlers or defenders, but they always were comfortable putting up a shot with one foot inside of half court. Anderson should be a good get for someone in Round two on June 28th at MSG.


UCONN Playbook Top Stories