UConn in the Pros: Barnes bounces back and Stokes shines 

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Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox 

Barnes has recently been an outlier in a struggling Boston Red Sox bullpen despite what his season numbers might suggest.  Since coming back from the injured list on Aug. 4, Barnes has recorded a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings with three saves for the Red Sox.  Coming off a season where he made his first all-star team and received a two-year extension, the expectations were extremely high for the 32-year-old reliever.  On the year he holds an ERA of 5.40 and a WHIP of 1.58. Boston’s 2022 season has been nothing but a disappointment in all aspects, especially following an appearance in the American League Championship Series last season. The bullpen has been one of the main weaknesses, posting a 4.49 ERA and ranking sixth worst in the entire MLB.  The Red Sox are currently 10 games back from the final wild card spot and are below .500 by three games.  It’s only up to speculation on what a healthy Matt Barnes would have done this season, but he seems to be going back to his 2021 first half form, which could benefit the Red Sox if it continues into next year. 

Kiah Stokes, C, Las Vegas Aces  

Kiah Stokes and her Las Vegas Aces are currently in the WNBA finals, having just won game one against the Connecticut Sun.  Stokes took over the starting center role from two-time All Star Dearcia Hamby in the semifinals, helping propel them to a 3-1 series victory over the Seattle Storm. Bria Hartley of the Connecticut Sun is the other remaining UConn alumni left in the playoffs though she suffered an ACL tear earlier this year and won’t see action this postseason.  Stokes has started in all seven of her postseason appearances for Vegas so far, averaging 7.7 rebounds per game.  In the regular season Stokes had her best season at the line with a free throw percentage of 81.3%, playing a vital bench role for the top-seeded Aces. 

Travis Jones, DE, Baltimore Ravens 

Travis Jones, drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens this past spring, won’t be on the field for the first couple of games. According to his coach John Harbaugh, Jones hyperextended his knee in a preseason game but is still expected to make his pro debut this year. Jones, who led the Huskies in sacks in 2021, has high promise as the first Husky drafted since Matt Peart back in 2020.  Before the injury, Jones was having a solid camp and is only listed behind Michael Pierce in the depth chart for nose tackle.  He’ll look to play a key defensive role for a Ravens team looking to bounce back from a fourth-place finish in the AFC North. Jones joins a defense that boasts Pro-Bowlers Calais Campbell, Marlon Humphrey, and Marcus Peters and could be the piece that takes Baltimore to the next level. 

Contract Update – Isaiah Whaley, PF, Charlotte Hornets 

As another NBA season looms just around the corner, there’s good news for a former Huskies forward. This week, Isaiah Whaley accepted an Exhibit 10 contract with the Charlotte Hornets, reuniting him with his college teammate James Bouknight who was drafted by the Hornets the season prior. Whaley was signed to Charlotte’s summer league team but never saw the court.  He totaled five seasons with the Huskies, most notably starting in 54 of 55 games in his final two seasons and was named Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year for 2020-2021. Whaley also helped bring UConn back into the national picture, starting his career on a 14-18 squad and finishing with two straight tournament appearances.  

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