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Connecticut Huskies
2004-05 Season | Team Page
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The Lowdown
Coach: Jim Calhoun
2004-05 Record (Big East): 23–8 (13–3)
Key Losses: G Antonio Kellogg (3.2 ppg, 14.4 mpg), F Charlie Villanueva (13.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.8 bpg)
Postseason: NCAA: Defeated UCF 77–71, lost to NC State 65–62 in the second round
Returning Players
No. Player. Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG APG
31Rashad AndersonG/F6'5"Sr.11.93.41.1
11Hilton ArmstrongF/C6'11"Sr.3.83.40.6
21Josh BooneF/C6'10"Jr.12.48.41.2
33Denham BrownF6'6"Sr.10.44.01.5
22Rudy GayF6'9"So.11.85.41.5
32Ed NelsonF6'8"Sr.2.92.20.1
5Marcus WilliamsG6'3"Jr. 9.63.87.8
Fresh Faces
No. Player Pos. Ht. Cl. School
4Jeff AdrienF6'6"Fr.Brookline, MA/Brewster (NH) Academy
24Craig AustrieG6'3"Fr.Stamford, CT/Trinity Catholic
25Robert GarrisonG6'2"Fr.Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls
1Marcus JohnsonF/G6'6"Fr.Los Angeles, CA/Westchester
12A.J. PriceG6'2"Fr.Amityville, NY/Medical Redshirt 2004-05
Adrien is a top 50 recruit with skills similar to former UConn forwards Donny Marshall and Kevin Freeman. Johnson could be a swingman along the lines of Rashad Anderson, with the added ability to defend. Garrison is adept at running a team, shooting and defending. Austrie could be important if the guard position is further weakened by off-the-court problems.
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It has been generally accepted that coach Jim Calhoun has been the anchor of the UConn basketball program. That status was highlighted, underscored and elevated when Calhoun was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

Calhoun's credentials -- more than 700 career wins, 15 Big East championships (nine regular season, six tournament) and two national championships -- made his induction in Springfield a foregone conclusion. His résumé also lends credence to the tenet that the Huskies will remain a national power.

But Calhoun will not be able to rest on his laurels. The Huskies have lingering issues and ongoing problems that could make for the same kind of continuity woes that handicapped the team last season.

A laundry list of trouble:

1. High school center Andrew Bynum, the Huskies' top recruit, entered the NBA draft and was the 10th overall pick by the Lakers.

2. Charlie Villanueva left after his sophomore year and was drafted by Toronto at No. 7.

3. Guard Antonio Kellogg was dismissed for conduct detrimental to the team.

4. Point guards A.J. Price and Marcus Williams were charged in connection with an alleged theft and attempted sale of computers from a campus dormitory. Both players are suspended from all team activities and will not play until after the Huskies return from the Maui Invitational, at the earliest.

5. Rashad Anderson missed seven games last season with a skin infection that spread to his lungs and caused breathing problems. (He is healthy heading into his senior year.)

Despite all of the problems the Huskies were forced to endure last season, they still went 23-8 and came within a Julius Hodge shot of beating North Carolina State and advancing to the Sweet 16.

And with Anderson, Williams, power forward Josh Boone, athletic wingman Rudy Gay, underrated Denham Brown and improving center Hilton Armstrong all returning, the Huskies have the foundation for another outstanding season.

Frontcourt

With Boone, Gay and Armstrong expected to start and burly Ed Nelson and the silky Brown coming off the bench, the Huskies have people who can rebound, score, run and defend. Calhoun also has the luxury of shifting Anderson to small forward.

Boone played too passively at times last season. He spent the summer working on developing his offensive game to complement his outstanding board work (8.4 rpg) and shot-blocking (2.93). He also needs to become the true leader of a team that may lack on-court stability.

Armstrong has improved every season and seems ready for a major role. Gay is a pure talent and should vie for Big East Player of the Year honors before heading off to the NBA after this season.

Brown is a decent defender and a scorer. His experience will be important. If he stays healthy, he could have a big season. Nelson rose to the occasion in the tournament loss to North Carolina State and his role could expand. That will depend on how much incoming freshmen Jeff Adrien and Marcus Johnson can add.

Backcourt

Williams, who missed the second half of his freshman season with academic problems, had a sensational sophomore season. He was at his best in conference play, when he shot 43.2 percent from 3-point range and had a sparkling 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Robert Garrison was a late recruit and may have to serve as the backup point guard until Price's situation is resolved.

Anderson struggled through a difficult junior season. His scoring was up slightly but his 3-point percentage dropped from 41.0 in 2003-04 to 31.3 in '04-05. A return to form would be a huge boost to the Huskies' attack.

Final Analysis

There are still several holdovers from UConn's 2004 title team -- Anderson, Boone, Brown and Armstrong. In addition to all the questions that surround the Huskies, another involves hunger/experience.

The experience of winning a national championship is worth something. But does the hunger to win another still burn?

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