UConn in the Pros: UConn athletes shooting for the stars 

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George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) 

The $150 million man from hard-hittin’ New Britain, is off to a solid start to begin the 2022 MLB season. Though Springer hasn’t exactly caught lightning in a bottle, his .268 batting average, two home runs and five runs batted in through 10 games are on par with his career averages, and suggest that Springer will put together yet another monster offensive season. As of Tuesday afternoon, Springer’s Toronto Blue Jays sit at 6-4, good enough for first place in the highly-competitive American League East. The Blue Jays are set to visit Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series starting Tuesday night. 

Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox (MLB) 

After an excellent first half of the 2021 season, which earned him a new two-year, $18.75 million contract extension, Red Sox reliever Barnes has struggled to rediscover the groove that made him one of baseball’s most dominant closers last season. Though he’s continued to show flashes of dominance here and there, Barnes’ stat line to open the new season ultimately comes to a 6.00 earned run average and only two strikeouts over three innings of work. Despite the unimpressive stat line to begin the new season, opponents are only batting .182 against Barnes, an indication that his early-season struggles were just bad luck and that more positive results are on the horizon. At 5-5 through Tuesday afternoon, Boston is currently tied with the New York Yankees for second in the AL East as they welcome the Blue Jays to Fenway Park to begin a three-game series. 

Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) 

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Ahmed has yet to see any in-game action for his squad this season as he continues to deal with soreness in his right shoulder, reminiscent of an injury that forced Ahmed to miss the final two weeks of the 2021 season. After having an MRI done in late March, Ahmed has begun taking at-bats at Arizona’s extended spring training complex as he prepares to make a return to the Major League club. 

Andre Drummond, Brooklyn Nets (NBA) 

In his first taste of playoff action with the Nets, Andre Drummond drew starting center duties but saw limited opportunities in what was a 115-114 loss to the Boston Celtics. In the inaugural game one, Drummond saw only 17 minutes of playing time while backup center Nic Claxton was on the floor for 31 minutes. In the limited playing time, Drummond managed to score eight points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field to go with four rebounds, two steals, and one block. Despite the small sample size in game one, Drummond has averaged a solid 13.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in 13 playoff games over his 10-year career. Brooklyn’s next game against Boston will come at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday from TD Garden in Boston, MA. 

UConn men’s basketball (NBA potentials) 

After they declared their intentions to forgo their college eligibility in order to enter the 2022 NBA Draft, UConn guards R.J. Cole and Tyrese Martin, along with big man Isaiah Whaley, participated in the Portsmouth Invitational tournament last week. The 67-year-old tournament, held annually in Portsmouth, Virginia, serves as a showcase for scouts from the NBA and other worldwide professional leagues. After leading his team to the championship game, Martin was named to the All-Tournament team, one of only 12 players to be recognized. In three games, Martin averaged 19.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, including a team-high 24 points and game-high 10 rebounds in the championship matchup. Cole finished the tournament with averages of 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in three games, while Whaley posted averages of 3.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in three games. Martin and Cole will continue to set their sights on June 23, the date that the 2022 NBA Draft is scheduled to get underway. 

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