Freshman Andre Drummond may not yet be playing up to his capabilities at UConn, but the expectations are there. Enough, in fact, that he -- along with teammates Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi -- has been named to the Naismith preseason watch list for national-player-of-the-year honors.
It's the latest recognition for all three players, two of whom played critical roles in UConn's national title run a season ago, another who will be integral to the Huskies' defending that title this season. Lamb has also been named to the Associated Press Preseason All-American team in recent weeks, the Wooden Preseason Top-50, as well as first team All-Big East. Oriakhi was among the Wooden Top-50 as well, and a Big East second-teamer.
Drummond, who didn't commit to UConn until late this summer, is the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year. He also earned Big East honorable mention and a place on the Wayman Tisdale Award watch list (which goes to the nation's best freshman).
North Carolina and Kentucky, the Nos. 1 and 2-ranked teams in the country, each had four players on the Naismith watch list.
Last year, Kemba Walker was a finalist for the award, which eventually went to Jimmer Fredette.
With the two exhibition games in the books (blowout wins over AIC and C.W. Post), the Huskies' season officially begins this Friday at 7 p.m. when they host Columbia at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies' first four games are at home (Gampel or the XL Center) and then they head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament which starts on November 24.
As for Drummond's slow start, we wouldn't be too concerned. After the win over C.W. Post, coach Jim Calhoun had this to say about his freshman big man: "He just didn't have two of the kind of games that he's capable of. I would like to see Andre play better than that."
And that's with the full understanding that Drummond can do things like this on a regular basis: