Omar Calhoun's junior season may be going better than his sophomore season, but the bar was set pretty low a year ago. He battled injuries and found himself lost in the mix as the Huskies were making their championship run.
Finally healthy, Calhoun still hasn't had the success he saw as a freshman, when he averaged 32 minutes and 11.1 points per game. As a junior, those numbers are down to 16 minutes and 6 points, but he's done the little things in recent weeks that not only have caught coach Kevin Ollie's attention, they've helped UConn get much-needed wins. On Sunday, he scored 12 points in 28 minutes in the Huskies' 67-60 victory over Tulane. More importantly, Calhoun was solid on defense.
"That was good, that was great," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "Omar came in and what I really liked was Omar's defense down the stretch. That's what I keep stressing with Omar, if he plays better defense he can stay on the court. He stepped up to the plate and showed he could do that down the stretch."
Calhoun agreed: "If I play D I can stay on the court and produce offensively. The coaches liked how I was taking the initiative on defense and trying to do more on that side."
It's an interesting transformation for Calhoun, who arrived in Storrs as a sharpshooter and has evolved into a defensive stalwart. Still, he knows there's room for improvement -- for both him and his teammates.
"We had to communicate even more," he said. "A couple of times in the first half (against Tulane) we didn't communicate getting back in transition and they hit open threes. We did a better job late in the game of communicating, calling our switches, and we put the game away."
The Huskies host ECU on Wednesday in Gampel Pavilion.