Saunders is skilled, but Calhoun would like him to play the four, the better to create room for Freeman and 6-6 JC shooter Bo Archibald on the perimeter. Voskuhl doesn’t expect that to be a problem. “Saunders is tough,” he says. “He doesn’t back down. If he just goes out and says, ‘F– everybody,’ he can be huge for us.” This could be the year Voskuhl gets huge, too. Though already accomplished as a low-post defender, he must become more of a scoring option in the paint. That, however, will require him to drop the selfless act on offense. El-Amin has volunteered to show him how to do that. “It’s great to see an unselfish big man, but we’re going to ask him to be a little more selfish this year,” the sophomore guard says.
As for Brown, whose link with Connecticut comes from relatives who live in the state, he’s going to need time. Though tall and skilled, he needs stamina and strength, not to mention some time to get acclimated to big-time basketball.
He won’t be rushed, that’s for sure. With so many good players on its roster, Connecticut will be able to go big, small, quick, slow, ugly and every style in between. And just imagine what would have happened had Deng, a 6-10 forward who some predict will be the school’s best-ever player, had grabbed the extra points he needed on the SAT. As a partial qualifier, Deng will get to practice with the Huskies, something that should make ESPN consider broadcasting the team’s intrasquad scrimmages. “It’s good to know that if things don’t go according to plan, there is somebody behind you to come in and play,” Hamilton says. UConn has depth, all right. And talent. And coaching. It’s time.
This year, the wait is over.