Blog Entry

UConn's Shabazz Napier with triple-double

Posted on: November 20, 2011 6:40 pm
By Jeff Goodman

It was just the ninth triple-double in UConn history.

No, it wasn't Jeremy Lamb. It wasn't Andre Drummond, either.

It was sophomore point guard Shabazz Napier.

As I've said over and over - and Huskies coach Jim Calhoun has also stated: Napier is the key to the Huskies.

While veteran big man Alex Oriakhi is struggling and freshman Andre Drummond has been consistent, a bright spot thus far has been the emergence of Napier.

I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not. I had him near the top of my list of Breakout Guys for this season.

Napier, despite not shooting it well a year ago, is a terrific shooter. He's also one of the top defensive guards in the country. And now he's starting to learn how to run a team.

Napier finished the win over Coppin State with 22 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds -- with just a lone turnover. Through the first four games, he's averaging 18 points, 6.2 assists, 6 rebounds and 2.2 turnovers per game.

He said the guy he watched in the summer at the camps he attended was Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs.

"I know he's looked at as a scoring guard," Napier said after the win. "One thing he does so well is get everyone involved and also know when to score."

Napier also spoke about his new haircut - which he refers to as a "rat tail." He said he has it in honor of a friend, Ernest Likely, who was killed last season.

"It's a Boston thing," Napier said. "He came to a lot of my games."

"I'm thinking of cutting it," he added. "I've got the barber coming tonight and I need a haircut. I'm not sure yet."

If I was Napier, I wouldn't change much. The new floor game - and rat tail - seem to be working for him.
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