Connecticut Basketball: Shabazz Napier Shines in Farewell Performance at Gampel Pavilion

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If you ever played sports in high school or college, you waited three years for it. You thought about it — how you were going to make it special, make people remember one day that John Doe played here. When it arrived, you couldn’t believe you were actually a senior. It was finally your time, your team, your senior season, and by the time your Senior Night rolled around, everyone would know you how much you would be missed and remembered. Hopefully, your senior season went like Shabazz Napier’s has, and hopefully you said goodbye to your home fans like Napier did tonight.

Napier’s Connecticut Huskies beat Rutgers tonight on Senior Night 69-63, and make no mistake about it, these are Napier’s Huskies. Napier capped off what has been a All-American First Team type of senior year with 26 points and four assists in his last game in Storrs, CT. Napier has simply done anything and everything for the Huskies this season.

Napier leads the Huskies in every statistical category that matters this season. He has followed in the footsteps of the great Kemba Walker, and he’s statistically better than Walker. But most importantly, he has single-handedly put the UConn basketball program back in the national picture after the departure of Jim Calhoun and the NCAA probation Calhoun left behind.

The Huskies will finish the season ranked in the Top 25, will be in the NCAA tournament, and garner a 6-8 seed. They will make some noise in the tournament, and all of this will happen due to the play of Napier.

If there is any justice, Napier will soon receive the AAC Player of the Year Award and he will be a First Team All-American. He’s had the quintessential senior year and put a program back on the map. If only most of our senior years went as well as his.

Jason Love is a writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JloveWshs.