Shabazz Napier was no doubt the best player on the 2013-14 Connecticut national title team. Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels were most certainly the best players behind Napier. Before last year, everyone knew Napier, Boatright and Daniels were going to make huge impacts, but questions arose who would be the fourth option. As the season went on and Omar Calhoun started coming off the bench, head coach Kevin Ollie decided to go with a bigger starting five. By doing that, Amida Brimah became a household name.
Known for his lengthy body and his interior presence, Brimah was an excellent player for this Huskies team as he rarely allowed layups inside the paint. While his defensive game was always impactful, Brimah started becoming a force on both ends of the court towards the latter portion of the season last year.
With 45 seconds left, down three points to a tough Saint Joseph’s team, UConn was likely going to exit the 2014 NCAA Tournament early. If it weren’t for a tip-in and an and-one by Brimah, this team wouldn’t have won the National Championship last year. While he didn’t play that much in the Final Four or the National Championship, Brimah has an extremely bright future in Storrs, Conn.
Ever since Jim Calhoun took over in 1986, the Huskies have had an affinity for shot-blockers in the paint. Hasheem Thabeet and Emeka Okafor are just two players that came to UConn with the ability to block shots and left the college with a more NBA-ready game. With work over the offseason and some bulk added on, Brimah’s name will become a hot topic in college basketball. Coach Ollie loves this kid, as his energy and desire for the game of basketball are already second to none. With Boatright returning and Rodney Purvis becoming eligible, UConn will once again have one of the best backcourts in the country. This guard play will help Brimah become an even more complete player. If Brimah can improve even more, the sky is the limit for this UConn basketball team in 2014-15.