UConn alum publishes book on 2010-11 championship run
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 00:02
On March 5, 2011, Aaron Torres was on vacation in Arizona. Torres watched the UConn men's basketball team's final regular season game against Notre Dame on television that day with his friends. The Huskies lost to the Fighting Irish 70-67, dropping their record to 21-9.
"At that point, I thought the season was over," Torres, who graduated from UConn in 2007, said.
His friends noticed Torres, a diehard Husky fan, wasn't as mad after a loss as he usually was. But Torres, like most of the UConn faithful, thought the Maui Invitational championship in November was the team's ceiling.
"That was enough. If that was the highlight of the season, so be it," Torres, who is currently the co-managing editor of the Fox Sports syndicated CrystalBallRun.com, said.
UConn fans already know what happened over the next month. The Huskies won 11 straight, including five games in five days for the Big East championship, en route to an NCAA National Championship. The run compelled Torres to document the magical season in a book titled "The Unlikeliest Champion: The Incredible Story of the 2011 UConn Huskies and Their Run to the College Basketball National Championship." Torres will be at the UConn Co-op tonight for a book signing prior to the Huskies' game with DePaul at Gampel Pavilion. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. Copies of the book, which features interviews with college basketball analysts, writers, coaches and friends and family of the team, will be available for purchase.
Torres, who lives in the Hartford area, thought of the idea for a book on his plane ride home from the Final Four in Houston. Torres said that on the ride back, he reflected on a season that was about much more than basketball. It was about overcoming adversity and believing in yourself when others didn't. He said the story of the 2010-11 Huskies appealed to everyone. Torres, who was an NHL columnist for The Daily Campus during his college days, began work on the book immediately. It wasn't until August when he was able to latch on with a publisher.
"I worked under the premise it would work out," Torres said.
The book was just about finished in August. When Torres' friends spent the Fourth of July holiday partying on a boat, he was in Barnes & Noble writing.
"I grinded away at [it] all summer long," Torres said.
The Huskies' toughest test last season was the Big East tournament. UConn managed to knock off four ranked teams in one week, a feat, given the changes to the conference, that likely won't happen again, Torres pointed out.
"Jay Bilas said to me point blank... winning five games in five days in the Big East was more impressive, or at least on par with winning the NCAA tournament," Torres said. "There have been teams that won a national championship that didn't play four ranked teams in the entire NCAA tournament."
Torres commented on this year's team, which has had its fair share of struggles. Torres said perhaps a lot of the players weren't ready with the game-by-game responsibility of defending a national championship, but the losses aren't because of a lack of effort.
"I know it's not heart -- these kids are tough kids that care," Torres said.
Torres thanked photo editor Jim Anderson and editor-in-chief Melanie Deziel for providing photos for the book.
"They were unbelievable," Torres said. "This book would literally not be possible without The Daily Campus."
Torres has had work published by Sports Illustrated, Slam Online, New England Magazine, The Hartford Courant and The Norwich Bulletin. "The Unlikeliest Champion" is his first book.