This season has been a taxing one for guard Omar Calhoun. After starting 29 of 30 games as a freshman and averaging 11 points and shooting 40 percent from the floor, he has struggled through a season-long slump as a sophomore.
But if the Huskies are going to make a run through the conference and NCAA tournaments, they'll need Calhoun to get hot, something we haven't seen since a Dec. game against Maine when he managed 16 points.
"I've never played basketball like this," Calhoun said, via the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. "I'm definitely upset. I'm trying to get through it."
Calhoun's freshman season was cut short because of a wrist injury, and then he had offseason hip surgery.
"My hips aren't bothering me," he said, "but not being able to work on your game in the offseason makes it tough to do the things you need to do. ...
"I have a lot of pride," Calhoun added. "And I'm still the kind of player I've always been. There's no adversity I can't get through."
That's the good news -- along with a Tuesday practice session that left senior guard Shabazz Napier impressed, saying, "He looked like the old Omar."
Still, coach Kevin Ollie knows that on-court struggles can become a mental battle for a player.
"Just watching him as a coach, and having been in his situation before, being hurt, not playing well, not playing at all in some cases, I know it wears down on a person mentally," the coach said. "But he's showing up every day in practice, he hasn't given me any problems. He shows up and he goes hard and gives me full effort."
And if Calhoun can regain his form, it would likely mean more playing time, something the Huskies would definitely benefit from.
"It would be a big boost for us because he doesn't fall short on confidence," Napier said. "Any shot he takes, he thinks he's going to make. Any shot he thinks he has, he's going to shoot it. We need that. A lot of teams are going to be pinpointing on me, on Ryan [Boatright] and DeAndre [Daniels]. I tell him, sometimes you have to assert yourself on the defensive end to get yourself going on the offensive end — I had to do that as a freshman."
Calhoun knows that, ultimately, this is on him.
"I'm trying to stay positive," he said. "Coach is always talking to me, sticking with me, but at the end of the day I've got to step up. I'm trying to get all the positive energy I can and get out of this slump I'm in."