It was supposed to be a down year. The Academic Progress Rates, the mass exodus of starters and contributors, and the retirement of Jim Calhoun were all supposed to conspire against a Huskies team short on experience. But new coach Kevin Ollie never made excuses.
Instead, he got the most out of his players, all the way to a 20-win season that nobody thought was possible. It was good enough for Coach of the Year consideration but for now, we'll have to settle for the recognition for his players. Which brings us to Omar Calhoun, who earned CollegeInsider.com's Kyle Macy Freshman All-American honors on Monday.
Calhoun committed to the Huskies after his junior season in high school, and remained loyal to the program even after Jim Calhoun retired. He started all but the final game and averaged 11.1 points and 3.9 rebounds while providing UConn a deep shooting threat (32.1 shooting percentage).
Calhoun arrived in Storrs having won the Gatorade State Player of the Year in New York and he will be an integral cog in the 2013-14 UConn squad that returns every starter.
The other Freshman All-Americans include Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova), Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State), John Brown (High Point), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Semaj Christon (Xavier), Damyean Dotson (Oregon), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Danuel House (Houston), R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Marcus Paige (North Carolina), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan), JaKarr Sampson (St. John’s), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown).
According to CollegeInsider.com, "The Kyle Macy award is presented annually to the top freshman in Division I college basketball. The 1975 Indiana 'Mr. Basketball' played his freshman season at Purdue University. Macy averaged 13.8 points a game as a freshman, while leading the Boilermakers in free throws, shooting .859 percent from the line on the season. He started in 25 of 27 games, helping them to a 16-11 season record. After playing his freshman year at Purdue, Macy transferred to the University of Kentucky in 1976. He started every game for the Wildcats in 1977. A three-time All-America and three-time All-SEC player, Macy was a member of Kentucky's 1978 National Championship team. In his senior year of 1979-80, he became the first Kentucky player ever to be named consensus Southeastern Conference Player of the Year."