If you thought the Huskies were pretty good in transition last year -- and with Shabazz Napier running the show that's a pretty fair assumption -- coach Kevin Ollie wants thing to work even more efficiently in 2014-15.
"We want to be a better fast-breaking team than we were last year," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. "We want to get more easy buckets. We don't have a Shabazz that's going to bail us out with 35-footers at the end of the shot clock. … We want to run a little more, get our athletes out in space where they can create for themselves and others."
Details via Amore:
Last season, UConn (32-8) was among the better three-point shooting teams in the nation. They made 287 of 741 attempts, or 38.7 percent, ranking 27th in NCAA Division I — Creighton was first at 41.4 percent. Their 741 attempts ranked 35th, and the 287 made ranked 18th.
Much of that production, 72.6 percent of the attempts and 77 percent of the makes, came from Shabazz Napier, Niels Giffey, DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah and others who have since moved on. Giffey, who made 58 of 120 three-point attempts, and Daniels (50 for 120) forced defenses to stretch.
Ollie is aware of this fact, obviously, but he prides himself on being able to get the most out of his players, and that's exactly what he'll try to do.
"We lost a lot of great shooters," Ollie said. "Everybody knows that. DeAndre, Niels and Shabazz were our best three-point shooters. Those guys are gone, so we're going to have some other people step up. They're very capable in this gym. I like my team. I like how hard they're playing. I like how they're competing."
With Napier now gone, senior Ryan Boatright will carry the load but he won't be alone. There's Rodney Purvis, the NC State transfer, Sam Cassell Jr., the juco transfer, and Omar Calhoun, who's looking to rebound from a forgettable 2013-14 campaign.
"We have a lot of different guards," said Purvis, who transferred from North Carolina State and had to sit out last season. "Guards with different dimensions to their game, so we can always switch things up. Sam is a really good shooter, me and Terrence [Samuel] are faster, quicker guards along with 'Boat.' Speeding the game up. Omar is shooting the ball really, really well. So we have a lot of options," he told the Courant.
The Huskies open the season against Bryant University on Nov. 14.