Column: UConn basketball destination is clear
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 09:04
You would think that with the strong emphasis put on immediacy in today’s world, there would also be a greater emphasis put upon enjoying the present. But unfortunately in life, and in sports, too much time is either spent reveling in the glory days or waiting for something new to happen.
In terms of this season for UConn’s men’s basketball team, nothing has upset me more than the attention given to everything that isn’t the right here and right now of this season.
To many people, UConn’s postseason ban has marred this year as a wasted one, good for working out the kinks for a team with solid potential but nothing more. Without the optimal destination, the journey is essentially meaningless.
But then what are we supposed to do; just close our eyes and wait it out until the team can play for something meaningful again?
It was a dream seeing Calhoun coach and watching future draft picks and defending champions play last year, but as far as my two years at UConn go, this season is easily the more satisfying one.
Just think for a second of the things this year has brought that we haven’t seen even in UConn’s championship seasons.
For one, Kevin Ollie has been everything the team and its fan base have needed this season and more. Can you imagine the pressure put upon a guy replacing the man that essentially built the program that he’s now taking over?
And to make it even better, Ollie couldn’t want to be here any more than he already does.
“They can ban us from the postseason. They can ban us from the Big East Tournament,” said Ollie on Feb. 13 after UConn’s win over then No. 6 Syracuse. “But they can’t ban us from getting better and loving each other.”
Is there anything else you would rather hear from a head coach?
And nicely complimenting Coach Ollie are the guards who have been leading the team on the court in Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier, who have made UConn’s frontcourt one of the most exciting to watch in all of college basketball this season.
Who knows, maybe Napier will enter the draft after this season, taking full advantage of his so far amazing junior year stats. I truly hope he hangs on for one more year, but if he leaves, then I can easily say that I’ve been blessed as a sports fan in getting to watch the combination of Boatright and Napier run UConn’s offense.
There are four games left for UConn this season, with Georgetown’s visit to Gampel tomorrow night kicking off the final stretch. And personally, I am more excited for this stretch of games than any other in the last 18 or so months.
In this four-game stretch, UConn could still realistically take home the Big East regular season crown. Considering that they have showed up strong against ranked opponents this season (and considering that each team above the Huskies in the standings right now in the standings has a much more difficult final stretch), a title like that could easily be in reach just seven days from now.
UConn may not have a real destination this season. They may not be playing for much more than a year’s worth of pride and development towards an even greater goal in twelve months.
But in life and in sports, it’s always more about how you get there than the place you are trying to get to in the end.
Is this season a missed opportunity for the Huskies? Maybe. But given the hand dealt, and enjoying the sights we’ve seen and the road laid out ahead for the team in the weeks and seasons to come, you can bet that the season hasn’t been a wasted one, and that the destination is as clear now as it has even been in the past.
You can follow Mike Corasaniti on Twitter @mikecorasaniti.