Down three points with only 8.7 seconds left in one of the biggest games of the season for the Connecticut Huskies, freshman guard Omar Calhoun released a game-tying three-pointer from the left corner that hit nothing but the bottom of the net.
UConn went on to lose the game in overtime to a then-ranked No. 7 Georgetown, but Husky fans didn’t have to be completely discouraged by the outcome. The match may have resulted in a loss for the Huskies, but it also allowed everyone to glimpse into the future of this basketball team. UConn was able to hang around against a superior team and individual performances showed what future seasons could bring for a team that couldn’t go anywhere last season even if they wanted to due to an NCAA ban from postseason play. This statement couldn’t be truer for Calhoun, the “almost” hero of last season’s late February matchup.
Calhoun proved last year that the spotlight wasn’t too big for him, despite only being a freshman. The Brooklyn native proved on more than one occasion that he has what it takes to play in a top-notch basketball conference like the AAC and deliver in the clutch.
It seemed that whenever a big game came around on the schedule for UConn last season, Calhoun brought his A-game. He scored 15 in a win against Syracuse and 20 against the national champion Louisville Cardinals. He was thrown in as a starter in his very first game against Michigan St. and never looked back.
That couldn’t be more promising for a UConn team that’s looking to surprise people this season. They have been relatively overlooked due to their absence in tournament play last season, but this isn’t a team people should be sleeping on.
While his defense will still need work, it was improving as the 2012-13 season went along in Calhoun’s freshmen year. Calhoun is a natural two-guard but mostly played the small forward position because of the Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright pairing. It must be nice for coach Kevin Ollie to have a lineup that features these three players as all have shown that they can come through in big spots, none more than Napier.
Being such a clutch performer so early in his career can only mean good things for Calhoun. His three-point stroke became more consistent as the season progressed last year and he adds another nightly double-digit scorer for this UConn squad. Look for Calhoun to emerge as a bonafide star in his sophomore season.