Incoming freshmen Jalen Adams and Steve Enoch will play important roles in UConn's 2014-15 season, and Kevin Ollie has to hope that they're ready for the challenge.
Last Friday at the Barclays Center, both players took place Jordan Brand Classic regional all-star game. When it was over, Adams, the next in line to be a great UConn point guard, had scored 27 points. Enoch, a presence in the paint, finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Like Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright before him, Adams is going to play early and often. Coach Kevin Ollie doesn't really have a choice.
"Jalen Adams is going to be an instant — a player for us that's going to do things for us," Ollie said this week, according to the Hartford Courant. "He can do so much off the bounce. He's very athletic. People don't know how good a passer he is. I'm going to weigh on him to come in and do the different things we know he can do, ball-handling, pushing the ball. That's one of his strong suits, and I'm going to try to display that each and every day. Go out there and show his God-given talents, and God's given him a lot."
And like Ollie's relationship with Napier and Boatright, it sounds like he's close with Adams too.
"Me and Coach Ollie talk a lot," Adams said. "Me, him and all the assistants, we have a really close relationship. I want to go in and be a vocal leader and be able to get everybody in the right positions. He just wants me to come in and be ready to learn and get better."
Ollie also weighed in on Enoch: "Every time I see Steve, he's doing better. He's performing very well. He's rebounding the ball. He's got a chip on his shoulder. So I think he's going to be a phenomenal player for us, a serviceable big man coming in his freshman year, getting to learn from Amida [Brimah], from Kentan [Facey] and Phil [Nolan]. I see a lot of potential there, and that potential has to turn into skill."
And to complete the circle of compliments, Enoch also spoke about future teammate Adams: "Jalen, I think he'll have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders coming in. But he has a lot of help, a lot of good guards, hard-working guards who know how to handle the ball at the college level. I think he'll be just fine."