In Jim Calhoun's latest interview about the 2012-13 season, he reiterates many of the same things we've heard in recent weeks and months. Namely: with five players having left the program this spring and looming NCAA sanctions, this isn't a typical Huskies outfit. But it also doesn't mean that the season's over before it's begun. And it also sounds like the 70-year-old coach has every intention of being on the bench this fall, a topic that is a constant source of speculation.
Speaking with the New Haven Register's David Borges, Calhoun touched on a wide range of topics.
On the 2012-13 squad: "I'm not saying it's the most talent we've ever had, it isn't. But we have a chance to be a better team -- not record-wise -- but a 'team.' We won't be having that national championship hangover."
On why the team struggled last season after an improbable national title run in 2010-11: "We lost Kemba (Walker) and Charles (Okwandu), we lost the whole attitude we had the year before. It wasn't a bad attitude (last season), it wasn't that we weren't hungry anymore. But we turned to ourselves a little bit. That was obvious at the end of the season, and from some of the things that happened after the season was over."
Nothing against Okwandu, but last year's team didn't stumble because he graduated. It was approximately 99 percent due to Kemba leaving for the NBA and Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier or Alex Oriakhi couldn't fill that leadership void. There's no shame in that; Kemba was special, just that sometimes chemistry trumps raw talent (and the 2010-11 team had both).
Two of last year's leaders -- Lamb and Oriakhi -- are now gone. The former to the NBA, the latter transferred to Missouri. Calhoun was asked about all the departures.
"People make decisions in life, that's their decision," he told Borges. "I wish them all the best. The two who left early, they should have gone early. Roscoe (Smith)'s a good kid, he wanted to leave, we would have liked him to stay. Same with Alex, he has a chance to play next year. Would Andre be better served (staying)? I think Jeremy should have gone. Those kids that want to leave, they have different pressures from different people. Life marches on. I'm gonna leave someday, too."
Luckily for the Huskies, it just doesn't' sound like anytime soon.