Center: Amida Brimah – It is safe to assume that the 7 footer will stick around in Storrs for his junior season. Brimah, who was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year this season, was a monster at blocking shots. He finished second in the nation with over 3.5 blocks per game and was first in the nation in total blocks with 119. Unfortunately, Brimah did not show much growth in other areas of his game. He averaged 9.1 points per game while shooting over 65 percent, but a vast majority of those shots came on dunk attempts and paint shots. He is not physically strong enough to compete in the NBA at this point. If he returns for his junior season, and puts on 15-20 lbs of muscle, Brimah will surely be a lottery pick in the future.
Power Forward: Kentan Facey- It was an up and down season for Facey. He was UConn’s second leading rebounder, at just over five a game. But his offensive limitations kept him buoyed to the bench. Facey, like Brimah, is unable to space the floor and did not show any signs of developing a jump shot. He averaged just 4.4 points in his 21.5 minutes per game. A solid defender for his size, Facey represents a nice option for Kevin Ollie to get toughness on the floor.
Small Forward: Daniel Hamilton- This is your star next year, UConn fans. Hamilton was named the American’s Freshman of the Year. Over the course of the season, Hamilton’s game improved across all areas. He finished as UConn’s third leading scorer, top rebounder, second in assists as well as steals. He is a do-everything, jack-of-all-trades forward. At 6’7”, Hamilton is big enough to play small-ball power forward and athletic enough to guard smaller guards. The encouraging sign was that Hamilton had his best games of the season in the second half of the year. Take a look at his performances at Memphis and against USF in the conference tournament for a glimpse of what’s to come next year.
Shooting Guard: Rodney Purvis- Coach Ollie’s Ferrari was another up and down player for most of the year, but he seems to have put it together. Purvis, who transferred from North Carolina State two years ago, is going to be tasked with being the lead ball-handler and creator for this offense next season. That has the potential to be either very fruitful or wildly infuriating. Purvis is a terrific athlete, unstoppable in transition, but his decision making skills and court awareness leave lots to be desired. As a pure scorer, he’s up there with some of the best in the conference. He put up 28 and 29 points in his last two games against SMU, the conference champ. Yet, he had nine games in which he had at least three turnovers. If he wants to make the leap as a great player, he needs to be smarter with the ball.
Point Guard: Jalen Adams- If there is any justice in this world, Ollie will turn to this incoming freshman to take the reins from Ryan Boatright. Adams, from Roxbury, Massachusetts home of Shabazz Napier, is listed at 6’2” and has a highlight tape that will make your jaw drop. He can throw down tomahawk dunks, run the floor like a gazelle and has thrown behind the back alley-oops. Like any freshman, there will be a steep learning curve for Adams. However, UConn is a point guard breeding ground. The list of talented leaders that have come through here is endless: Napier, Boatright, Kemba Walker, Marcus Williams and Kevin Ollie himself are just a few examples. Here’s to hoping Adams is next in line.