The UConn men’s basketball team has seen a tumultuous couple of weeks pass by after a disastrous 2016-17 season ended in March, with multiple players transferring and the associate head coach leaving the program. Who is the biggest loss?
Juwan Durham was developing into a good basketball player by the end of the year, especially on the offensive end, when he wasn’t expected to see much playing time originally. Despite playing the least minutes per game of all the regular eight rotation players, Durham posted the third best points per 100 possessions on the team and would have been the Huskies’ main option in the post, had he stayed. Obviously Vance Jackson was a huge loss and arguably a better player than Durham, but UConn is fairly deep at the guard and wing positions and undermanned down low, making Durham’s departure the biggest blow to UConn next year.
UConn is not known for their post presence, so they can probably get by with their incoming frontcourt. The need for three-point shooting will be a growing problem for the Huskies. Vance Jackson was the most prolific shooter on last year’s squad, shooting 48.4 percent from beyond the arc in conference play. Jalen Adams and Christian Vital are the only returning players with more than five made threes last season, so it’s safe to say that UConn lacks depth. With Jackson gone, UConn could struggle mightily from long range and defenses like Cincinnati will expose their lack of shooting.
This might be a rare belief, but Steven Enoch will be the Huskies’ biggest loss ahead of next season. With the kind of size UConn is desperate for, following the graduations of Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey, Enoch would have slotted right into the starting lineup. The big man is also pretty athletic for his size and would have given the Huskies a good post presence, perhaps making for a good pick-and-roll partner with Jalen Adams. Sure, Enoch didn’t have the most polished offensive game and was often of a liability defensively. But, he might have improved a lot given the increased minutes and become a dependable player for Kevin Ollie and company. Juwan Durham had potential of his own and Vance Jackson played some big minutes this year, but to me there is no doubt Enoch was the biggest loss.
Associate Sports Editor
Jackson is the most significant loss; he’s a player that made important contributions to last year’s team, but when the Huskies find themselves in the thick of American Athletic Conference play next season, they may find themselves missing Enoch the most. Enoch never quite put the pieces together in Storrs, but he was the last remaining big body on the roster (Durham doesn’t have the build to spend heavy minutes in the paint) and his offensive skillset dwarfed those of any other big man. He was the starting center next year unless disaster struck, providing some semblance of year-to-year consistency with the departure of Amida Brimah, and now the man in the middle of Ollie’s defense is… Eric Cobb? Of all the pressing needs in transfer season, a defensive anchor might be the biggest.
For a team lacking big men to begin with, the loss of Juwan Durham is the most damaging. Durham may not have been the most talented of the players that left, but he filled a great need in the Huskies frontcourt. Unlike the other UConn bigs, Durham has a soft touch around the basket and would have likely seen an increase in his minutes next season. I was looking forward to watching Durham continue to grow into his frame during his time in Storrs, but durability was always a concern with Durham so it may be for the best.
Luke Swanson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.