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Thursday, July 8, 2010
Kemba Walker pretty much sums it up

By Eamonn Brennan

It was hard to describe Connecticut's 2009-10 season. The Huskies were talented, albeit not as talented as the Hasheem Thabeet-led 2008-09 Huskies, but for whatever reason they couldn't get that talent to cohere. Every time UConn looked like it was ready to make a run back to the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble -- a big home win over Texas, a big win over West Virginia -- the Huskies followed up with strings of losses to beatable teams like Providence, South Florida and Cincinnati.

It didn't help that UConn coach Jim Calhoun missed a big chunk of the season thanks to reported health problems, but still: Connecticut never got it together, and it was never particularly obvious why.

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker said last season's UConn squad lacked chemistry on the court.
Perhaps Kemba Walker's description, which he gave to Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy at the LeBron James Skills Camp, can shed some light:
"It just seemed like we couldn't connect, as far as a team on the court," Walker said. "I didn't really understand that because we were such good friends off the court. But we couldn't get it to translate on the court."

You know, that's about as good a description as you'll find. As any UConn fan can attest, watching the Huskies last year was an exercise in frustration. Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Walker are all undeniably talented players. UConn could have been a barnstorming fast-break team -- Walker pushing the pace and distributing to Dyson on the perimeter, both guards throwing lobs to the startlingly athletic Robinson. Running on all cylinders, the Huskies could have been awfully good. At the very least, they could have been thrilling to watch.

Instead, every time you watched the Huskies, none of that was there. The team's offense was disjointed, stagnant and boring. The Huskies just never ... connected. Walker's right on.

Whether the Huskies improve from that performance in 2010 will have a lot to do with how well Walker runs Calhoun's attack. The Huskies lost both Robinson and Dyson, two of their three leading scorers. This year, Walker will be surrounded by a cast of talented newcomers like Roscoe Smith, Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb. Will that group jel better than Calhoun's bygone talent? It will be up to Walker to make sure that it does. If not, the Huskies could be even more frustrating in 2010-11, and I'm not just talking about aesthetics.