With basketball season approaching, The Daily Campus sports staff got together and predicted who would lead the UConn men’s basketball team in scoring this season. There are plenty of intriguing options to choose from. There are high expectations for sophomore Daniel Hamilton this season. Hamilton was named to the American Athletic Conference preseason first team at media day Tuesday.
Junior guard Rodney Purvis finished last season strong and looks primed to take the reins for the Huskies. Seton Hall transfer Sterling Gibbs led the Big East in scoring last year, and has the skills to do so in the American in his final collegiate season. These are a few of the many scoring options the DC sports staff made their picks for the Huskies’ top scorer as they strive for their fifth national championship.
First off – if you want a dark horse pick – go with Jalen Adams. I don’t care how deep their backcourt is, he is truly a dynamic talent. In all likelihood, Daniel Hamilton will be the scoring leader for the men’s team. He has a good combination of size, speed and skill, as well as a great scoring arsenal. His length gives him unique scoring abilities at the rim, and his shooting has improved to become another weapon.
In his second go around, his experience will benefit him tremendously. He also has job security; he will not see as much competition for playing time as the guards. Adams’ season could parallel that of Bobby Portis from Arkansas. Portis came in 30th in the national recruiting rankings for the Class of 2013, had a successful freshman year and became dominant last season and left for the NBA.
Purvis, Gibbs and Adams will all have games where they get theirs, but over a season’s length the trio will average each other out.
With the additions of Sterling Gibbs, Jalen Adams and Shonn Miller, UConn should have one of the most balanced scoring attacks in the NCAA. Gibbs, Miller, Purvis, Hamilton, Omar Calhoun and Amida Brimah have all averaged at least nine points per game in a full season of college basketball and Adams comes to UConn with a reputation as a scorer. That’s a lot of firepower.
Sterling Gibbs is my pick to lead the team in scoring because his ability to shoot the ball should keep him on the floor alongside Purvis and Adams, who both like to get to the rim. Gibbs averaged 16.3 ppg last season at Seton Hall and should lead the Huskies in scoring if he posts anything close to that in the 2015-2016 season.
The obvious choice, in my opinion, has to be junior guard Rodney Purvis. We saw glimpses of potential from the guy that Kevin Ollie called his “Ferrari in the garage” two years ago when UConn won the National Championship.
After spending last year trying to play the role that Boatright played during the championship run, it’s time for Purvis to expand upon last year’s explosions against SMU (twice), where he put up his career highs. Consistency is key for Rodney after last years roller coaster season, as he looks to get to the next level. He will successfully step up as a leader for this talented roster that has everyone excited and the “Strive for Five” hype bigger than ever.
UConn’s offense has a ton of weapons this year; that is a problem that every coach wants to have. I expect to see a number of players in double-digit figures, particularly Sterling Gibbs, Daniel Hamilton, Rodney Purvis, and possibly Amida Brimah or Omar Calhoun. However, the person who leads the team in scoring will ultimately be the person who gets the ball the most, and I think that will be Gibbs.
Gibbs fits the traditional mold of UConn’s leading scorers over the last few seasons – he’s a point guard who likes to shoot. Purvis and Hamilton will grab their fair share of buckets, but Purvis needs to improve his consistency and Hamilton probably needs another full year under his belt to take on the bulk of the scoring. Besides, neither one will handle the ball as often as Gibbs. I think these three will all be very close, but I’ll stick with Gibbs, who averaged 16.3 ppg in a talented Big East last year.