Tristen Newton, G (Evan)
Coming off UConn’s 2023 National Championship run, there was some uncertainty on whether Newton would be in Storrs for the 2023-24 college basketball season. However, the veteran college guard opted to return for another season with the Huskies and Dan Hurley and company are certainly happy to have him back. Newton was a pivotal player during that dominant championship run and the impact he’ll have on this lineup certainly won’t change. The Texas native will be a critical offensive weapon for this lineup, especially with the scoring bursts he showed last season, with multiple triple-doubles and the ability to create offense when this team needed him the most. If Newton is able to outperform his numbers from last season, there’s no doubt that he won’t just be one of the Big East’s top guards–he’ll be one of the most talented guards in all of college basketball.
Stephon Castle, G (Evan)
As the most hyped prospect to come to the Huskies in a while, there’s so much to love about Castle and what he brings to Connecticut’s lineup. Despite being a freshman, he’s already a polished playmaker. With the vast number of weapons, from Donovan Clingan in the frontcourt to his backcourt mate with Newton, he’s got the potential to elevate this offense to new heights. That’s all without talking about his ability to make shots as a three level scorer in a 6-foot-6 frame that makes him an intriguing defensive weapon too. When he brings such polished skills like that in year one, it’s no wonder that he’s projected to be an NBA lottery pick by many in the 2024 NBA Draft. Expect Castle to step in as an all-around weapon for this roster and break out as one of the most intriguing young prospects in all of college basketball.
Cam Spencer, G (Evan)
Projected to be one of the most exciting transfers in college basketball, Spencer adds a lot to this Husky rotation, including an ultra-competitiveness toward winning. The primary thing that sticks out about the Maryland native though is his lethal jumpshot. One of UConn’s biggest losses from last season was Jordan Hawkins, a player who could change games with his jumper. Spencer has the skills to fill that spot accordingly. Last season with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, he shot a lethal 43.4% from beyond the arc. Those stats helped the Maryland native go on to average 13.2 points per game in the Big 10. That scoring is certainly going to be a huge weapon for this Huskies roster, especially if they want to go against many of the tough competitors on their schedule from Kansas to Marquette.
Alex Karaban, F (Connor)
When you look at who has grown the most from the beginning of last season to the national championship game, it is hard not to mention Alex Karaban. Early on in the season, the 6-foot-8 power forward struggled from the defensive end. However, as the season progressed, his defense transformed from a liability to an asset, playing a crucial role in the NCAA Tournament. The sophomore is also an offensive threat from pretty much anywhere. Last season, Karaban averaged nearly 10 points per game on 47.6% shooting. Perhaps the most impressive facet of his loaded arsenal are his abilities from beyond the arc. The Huskies forward shot 40.2% from beyond the arc, a number he’ll look to build on, especially with higher volume. There is no reason to believe we have seen the best version of Karaban yet and he’s poised to take on a bigger role.
Donovan Clingan, C (Connor)
What is the ideal center? Typically, coaches look for someone with size, someone who can be a disruptor on both ends of the floor and a threat in the paint. Clingan checks all of these boxes. Last year, the 7-foot-2 center had a tremendous campaign, despite being Adama Sanogo’s understudy. The Bristol, Connecticut native averaged 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. While these numbers aren’t too impressive, you have to remember Clingan averaged 13 minutes per game. One glance at his per-40-minute statistics, and looks as good as anyone in college basketball. His scoring in the interior is nothing short of impressive, scoring on over 65% of his tries. Clingan’s ceiling this season is massive. As it sits, Clingan is picked as a high NBA lottery pick by many, and he has a good shot at being the best player on the best team in college basketball.