UConn in the NBA/WNBA: Kemba earns 4th straight All-Star nod, alumni come home

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Kemba Walker, PG, Boston Celtics: 


Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) goes to the basket past Miami Heat forward Chris Silva,right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) goes to the basket past Miami Heat forward Chris Silva,right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

This past week, the NBA announced its list of starters for the All-Star game, and it came as no surprise that UConn’s own Kemba Walker made the list for the second straight time. It will be Walker’s fourth straight All-Star Game appearance, voted the top backcourt player in the Eastern Conference by both the media and the players involved in the election process. He is joined by Trae Young, edging out players like Kyle Lowry and former Celtic Kyrie Irving for the starting roles. Over his last four games, he has done nothing but prove he deserves the honor. Leading his team to a 3-1 record, Walker has put up an average of 25 ppg, including 72 in his last two games combined. He has attained 5.2 apg and 3.5 rpg while only giving up six turnovers. During this span, he earned an incredible total plus/minus of +55. Just a game and a half back from No. 2 in the East, Walker and the C’s hope to jump up to a higher seeding (currently No. 4) in the second half of the season. 

UConn Alumni, USA Women’s Basketball: 


Minnesota Lynx and former Connecticut player Maya Moore, left, puts her arm around former Connecticut teammate and New York Liberty player Tina Charles during a ceremony honoring their championship team before an exhibition basketball game between Connecticut and the United States, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Minnesota Lynx and former Connecticut player Maya Moore, left, puts her arm around former Connecticut teammate and New York Liberty player Tina Charles during a ceremony honoring their championship team before an exhibition basketball game between Connecticut and the United States, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

On Monday, four former Huskies took the court at the XL Center against their alma mater, but this time as representatives of the USA Basketball team. Both teams wore black bands during the game to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who both passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Both were fans of the UConn women’s basketball program, and had been seen recently in attendance. Gianna Bryant was a talented AAU basketball player who aspired to be a future UConn Husky basketball player someday. Three Husky alumni started the game for USA. Leading the team in time played, Tina Charles had six points, nine rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes. Sue Bird had a solid nine points and three assists on 3-for-5 shooting in 20 minutes of play. Breanna Stewart had an off night, earning just three points while shooting 1-of-7 from the field, in her first live action since tearing her Achilles last April. She also had three assists, three rebounds and a steal in 17 minutes. Recent alum Katie Lou Samuelson came off the bench for USA Basketball with two points on three shots. Husky Legend Diana Taurasi is rostered on the team but was out with back soreness and did not dress to play. 

Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons: 


Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

With trade rumors surrounding him as the Feb. 6 deadline approaches, Drummond continues to put up solid numbers while his team declines. The Pistons (17-31) are currently on a three-game losing streak. Drummond did not play two of Detroit’s four games last week, but when he did play, he averaged 17.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg and 3.0 apg. He had a great day on the glass Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, grabbing a whopping 21 total rebounds (seven of those were offensive). He scored 20 points on 8-of-20 shooting and went 4-for-8 from the charity stripe. In that game, he played an astounding 40 full minutes and blocked two shots. The Pistons seem ready to move on from Drummond, a talent down low on a team destined for the bottom of the East this season. The Pistons are reportedly asking for a first round draft pick or a quality young player in return for Drummond, who is getting paid 27 million dollars this year and another 28 million next year. With the asking price and the hefty contract in a guard-dominated league, interest at that price is low, but teams such as the Hawks, the Celtics and the Knicks have reportedly reached out to the Pistons to get a trade completed. 

Jeremy Lamb, SG, Indiana Pacers:  


Indiana Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb (26) dribbles the ball up the court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Indiana Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb (26) dribbles the ball up the court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A consistent starter for the current No. 5 in the East, Jeremy Lamb has quietly impressed this season. Over his last three appearances, Lamb has earned 16 ppg, including 28 last game, where he led the Pacers in scoring to a win over the Trail Blazers. In this span, he has also attained five rebounds, seven assists and only one turnover while shooting a nice 57.6% from the floor. The Pacers are 2-1 in their last three, and are only a game back from Lamb’s former teammate Kemba Walker and the Celtics. 

Shabazz Napier, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves: 


Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic controls the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves' Shabazz Napier in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic controls the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves’ Shabazz Napier in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Napier started out this year as a role player, coming off the bench, bouncing from team to team and never starting more than 10 times in a single season. Today, he seems to have found a home (at least for now) in Minnesota. He has started his last 20 games for the T-Wolves, and while he may not be the flashy scorer that his former teammate Kemba is, he has been putting up noticeable numbers. Over his last three games, Napier is averaging 9.7 ppg, 8.7 apg, 6.7 rpg and 2.0 spg. While team success is a different story (see: 14th in the West), Napier is stuffing the stat sheet, something he had yet to do in his career. 


Jonathan Synott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jonathan.synott@uconn.edu.

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