The season was not going the way the Connecticut Huskies had planned. They were struggling immensely after winning the NCAA championship the year before. Jeremy Lamb did not step up into the leader role that Kemba Walker once occupied. The team was in danger of dropping an overtime game to lowly Villanova, which would have seriously hurt their postseason chances.
Then Shabazz Napier stepped up and hit a long three. Connecticut exhaled.
While this shot didn’t technically salvage their season (they still won a combined total of one Big East and NCAA tournament games) it showed that Napier was ready to step up and be the leader that this team sorely needed.
Now, with Lamb, Andre Drummond, and Alex Oriakhi gone, Napier is the man. Yes, he’ll have help from Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels, but Connecticut needs to make things happen this season to help their future. Look at how USC football competed during their postseason ban. Now they’re #1 in the nation.
Napier is an excellent scorer who can both shoot and attack the rim. He has improved his passing skills to become more of a true point guard, and dominates the pick and roll game because of his speed and awareness. His crossover moves are nearly unguardable.
While he may be small (6′ 1″), Napier has a big heart. If there’s anyone who you would want to lead a team in a season that doesn’t have any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, he’s your guy.
I expect Napier to be one of the top point guards in the Big East this season. His strong play and character will certainly attract more talent that will be added for his senior season.