The final horn blows, advancing the Cincinnati Bearcats to the American Conference Championship game, while the UConn Huskies say goodbye to a long season. A variety of emotions etched across Rodney Purvis, Amida Brimah, and Kentan Facey’s faces, as their time playing for the UConn Huskies has come to an end. The young players soak up what they have watched and learned this year, and start to plan on how to produce it next season.

For the Huskies last season, things did not work out, as they lost Terry Larrier, Alterique Gilbert, and Mamadou Diarra due to injuries. This forced inexperienced freshman Vance Jackson and Christian Vital to step up for the team. Fortunately, it only gave Jackson and Vital a chance to get better, and learn the college game.

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“We learned a lot,” Coach Kevin Ollie said of last season. “I know I learned a lot. I had never been through anything like that in my career, as a head coach or an assistant.”

As UConn tried to move on from this rough season, things did not get any better, with a few key players moving elsewhere to continue their college playing careers. Forward Juwan Durham transferred to the University of Notre Dame, Jackson transferred to the University of New Mexico, and center Steven Enoch transferred to the University of Louisville. Left alone, Makai Ashton-Langford, the best recruit in the 2021 class, decided to decommit from the Huskies.

Despite all of this drama from last season, the Huskies have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season. The team’s leading scorer Jalen Adams is returning for his junior season, and the team is much stronger with Larrier, Gilbert, and Diarra returning healthy. According to 247sports, the Huskies have the 81 ranked recruiting class in the country. Down the line, the team looks to add incoming freshmen Tyler Polley, Josh Carlton, and Isaiah Whaley. Eric Cobb and Kwintin Williams are two incoming Junior College transfers who are expected to bring a positive impact to the team.

The Huskies certainly have to win a lot of games this upcoming season if they have hopes to even try to earn themselves a bid for the tournament. Some say that Ollie is the right coach for the team, and he has already won one national championship and deserves to keep his job. However, Ollie will start the season on the hot seat and needs to produce a winning season for the team. Fans can only hope that he stays in this mindset.

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“I can’t keep going 16-17. We all know that”

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