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The UConn Fastbreak - 12/1/2021
Welcome to December?
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Men’s hoops for real?
The Maryland Eastern Shore game has us hesitant to say this too confidently, but after UConn’s performance in last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis, it’s clear Dan Hurley’s squad is worthy of the national attention it’s starting to receive.
The Auburn, Michigan State, and VCU games challenged UConn in different ways. Throughout the tournament, the Huskies showed an incredible ability to compete and overcome seemingly dire situations. They trailed by as much as eight in a rock fight against VCU and by double digits in the two other games—which is not good—but they won two of those and the loss came down to the wire.
Lesser teams would collapse in all three of those situations. This team has the experience and leadership to keep its composure in tough moments, and that’s a really good thing. Now they just need to stay healthy.
Football falls to No. 24 Houston - The season ended with a whimper on Saturday, as the Huskies fell to 1-11 on Senior Day.
Jim Mora is starting to fill out his staff - The program has officially announced four new coaches, while multiple reports have a few additional names joining the staff. More on this below.
Men’s hoops scrapes by UMES - The Huskies were not on top of their game, but still got the win.
Battle 4 Atlantis wrap-up - The Huskies returned home with a 2-1 record in the Bahamas, outlasting then-no. 19 Auburn in a double-overtime thriller on Wednesday before falling in a close contest the following day to Michigan State. The tournament ended up with a victory over VCU in the third-place game on Friday.
Men’s hockey tops Colgate, 6-1 - #Icebus has now won two straight games.
Power play is struggling for UConn men’s hockey - The Huskies headed into the contest with Colgate converting on the power play at only 9.5 percent, which is among the country’s worst rates.
Saylor Poffenbarger transfers to Arkansas - Poffenbarger announced her decision to depart the women’s basketball program on Nov. 15 and 11 days later, she found her new school.
Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the podcast focuses on recapping the Battle 4 Atlantis, including whether the blowout loss to the Gamecocks changes how we should view this edition of UConn women’s basketball.
Geno Auriemma begins 2023 recruiting class - KK Arnold, the No. 8 player in the Class of 2023, announced her commitment to UConn women’s basketball this week.
Paige Bueckers signs with Gatorade - The UConn women’s basketball sophomore guard was announced as Gatorade’s first collegiate signee. It’s unclear how this will be navigated with Powerade, which sponsors UConn athletics.
Conference players of the week - Adama Sanogo was named the Big East player of the week for his big performances down in the Bahamas, while Bueckers was on the Big East honor roll for her 19-point, seven-assist, and five-rebound performance against No. 1 South Carolina.
Men’s soccer season in review and alumni update - A look at the current state of the program and rundown of the exploits of Andre Blake, Cyle Larin, and other program alumni.
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In UConn’s dominant 6-1 victory over Colgate, Carter Turnbull buried this one from a tough angle to give his squad a four-goal advantage midway through the second period.
George Springer is arguably the most talented player to ever come out of the UConn baseball program. Originally from New Britain, Springer attended Avon Old Farms and was selected by Minnesota in the 48th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. The local product did not sign and instead went to UConn.
Named a Freshman All-American in 2009 by Baseball America and a First-Team All-American by multiple outlets during his junior season in 2011, Springer is the program’s all-time leader in runs, with 220, and home runs, with 46. He is also second in total bases (453) and RBIs (196), tied for third with 10 triples, fourth in stolen bases (76) and fifth in hits (242), walks (128) and doubles (53).
His freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons represent the program’s fifth, third, and fourth-highest total base totals, respectively, while his sophomore and freshman seasons are the top two run-scoring seasons in UConn history.
This, plus his impressive defense in center field, made Springer the highest draft pick in UConn history when Houston selected him with the 11th overall pick in 2011. Jason Bristol, a reporter at CBS’ Houston affiliate, KHOU, recently retweeted Jeremy Booth’s glowing scouting report that he filed for Milwaukee ahead of the draft.
While the text speaks for itself, the grades are even more impressive. They follow the 20-80 scouting scale, which ranks each tool on an approximate bell curve from 20 (bad) to 80 (good). Players with 70, which is referred to as plus-plus, raw power, as well as 70-grade speed are hard to come by and Springer has clearly made that pick worth it for Houston, winning a World Series MVP in 2017.
UConn, Great Pic
It was Senior Day for UConn football on Saturday and some high performers for the program over the past few years were honored pre-game, including Kevin Mensah and Omar Fortt.
Football coaching staff coming into shape
Jim Mora has been officially announced as UConn’s football coach. In addition to his NFL pedigree and collegiate experience, he’s also demonstrated a willingness to say the right things in introductory press conferences.
After seeing the first wave of info on his staff, it looks pretty good. Four names have been announced officially while a few others have been reported, although defensive coordinator remains unknown.
Nick Charlton is a strong hire at offensive coordinator. He’s been at Maine since 2015, so he understands college football in New England. Before that, he was at Boston College as a graduate assistant for three seasons.
Charlton became offensive coordinator at Maine in 2018, the year the Black Bears averaged 26.5 points per game and won the CAA in Joe Harasymiak’s final year as their head coach. Charlton was named the successor. At 30 years old, he became the youngest Division I head football coach at the time.
Maine beat UMass this year and had competitive losses to Liberty and Georgia Southern in 2019. The 2018 team beat Western Kentucky and won two FCS playoff games before bowing out in the semifinals.
Another interesting addition to the staff is John Marinelli. The former Greenwich High School head coach and son of Connecticut high school coaching legend Lou Marinelli was working as an analyst at Illinois under Bret Bielema in 2021. He will be the tight ends coach at UConn.
Marinelli played at Fordham and Trinity before starting as an assistant coach for his father at New Canaan. He later became head coach at Greenwich, winning a Class LL title in 2018 before joining Kevin Sumlin’s staff in Arizona as an analyst.
These hires bring good experience along with strong local and regional ties, something Mora needed. Most of the other staff hires played in the area and have coached across the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
From a recruiting perspective, they all bring different strengths and should be able to make an impact in key regions. With the hire of Marinelli, it also looks like Mora has a different outlook on Connecticut talent than Randy Edsall. Doing better with in-state talent isn’t going to turn UConn football into a juggernaut, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
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