UConn returns freshman power forwards Tyler Olander and Roscoe Smith, plus forward-center Alex Oriakhi. Olander and Smith were garbage men in key supporting roles last year during the Huskies’ run through March Madness; Oriakhi is a long, 6-foot-9 defensive presence who blocked four shots in the title game and collected 59 rebounds in six NCAA tournament games.
Now that trio adds a beastly player who some will probably compare to Amare Stoudemire? Yikes.
But the college game is won because of guard play, and UConn lost star point guard Kemba Walker to the NBA. His replacement will be Shabazz Napier, a jitterbug-quick point guard who excels at defense and 3-point shooting.
Despite the addition of Drummond, I still think the offense should go through budding star Jeremy Lamb. He blew up in the tournament last year might drop 20 a night and be a 1st team All-American. Drummond’s presence will make it much tougher for defenses to focus Lamb, but my fear is that both players operate with an eye on the NBA, and chemistry is an issue.
Lamb looked outstanding … playing next to Kemba Walker. Drummond looked ruthless … against overmatched kids at the prep level. Just as Kentucky will take a few months to work its terrific freshman in with its returning cast, I doubt we’ll see Drummond looking like a force until February.
But based on this enormous signing, I’d adjust my preseason rankings to look like this:
1. North Carolina
2. Ohio State
Andre Drummond Headed To UConn [Hartford Courant]