Due to recent events, any discussion about basketball immediately turns to Andre Drummond, the Huskies' new recruit, and Jim Calhoun, who shocked the world and announced that that he'd continue to coach (that's a joke -- the news shocked absolutely no one).
But there are other UConn-related story lines, too. And even though the names are no longer a part of their respective programs, they had a lot to do with making basketball what it is at the university.
Kemba Walker and Maya Moore left Storrs for the pro ranks this spring, and both ended their college careers not only as some of the best players to come through UConn, but arguably the best in the sport last season.
In June, Walker was a first-round pick of the Charlotte Bobcats. With the NBA in the middle of a lockout, the only organized hoops games in his future will come when he participates in Jimmer Fredette's two-exhibition tournament in Utah. Details via the Associated Press:
Fredette's team of all-stars will be coached by BYU's Dave Rose. They will take on another group of NBA rookies coached by San Diego State coach Steve Fisher. The games are set for Sept. 21 at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City and Sept. 22 at Provo's Marriott Center.
Fredette was college basketball's 2010-11 Player of the Year although a healthy argument can be made on Walker's behalf, especially after he led the Huskies to an 11-0 postseason record that included Big East and national titles.
As for Moore, she continues to treat the WNBA like just another year of college. The transition to pro basketball has been so smooth that you forget she's a rookie. A helpful reminder: her monthly WNBA Rookie of the Month award. It's the second straight time for Moore, who also was the first rookie to start the All-Star Game since 2002, and whose jersey is among the top sellers in the league.
The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla writes that "Her month was highlighted with career highs in points (28) and steals (five), while going 6-for-6 from three-point range Aug. 9 and tying a record for most threes made without a miss in a single game in an 85-80 loss to Phoenix. In 13 games, the No. 1 overall pick scored in double digits seven times, helping the Lynx to a league best 11-2 record."
Oh, and the Lynx are 24-6 on the season, seven games clear of second-place Seattle. Before Maya's arrival, Minnesota had finished no higher than fifth in the Western Conference in six previous seasons.