Well, definitely faster. Remains to be seen. For years, UConn basketball coaches have promised the Huskies will run more each season. In its exhibition game with Southern Connecticut on Friday night, UConn applied the type of pressure defense Dan Hurley covets and got out on the fast break.
And the results were good. The Huskies overcame a sluggish start and ran their way to a victory at Gampel Pavilion.
UConn scored nearly half its points 45 on the fast break, and at times it was pretty — like when Christian Vital hit Jalen Adams with a long, pinpoint pass for a layup, or when Vital took a long outlet off an Eric Cobb blocked shot and slammed it home.
Acrobatic wing Kwintin Williams even got in on the act, with a breakway dunk midway through the second half. Brendan Adams, a freshman, led the way with 17 points, Jalen Adams netted 16, Smith and Gilbert added 12 each and Vital had Josh Carlton led the bigs with nine points and seven rebounds.
When the Owls began the game with a wide-open 3-pointer that missed, got the long offensive rebound and hit another wide-open trey, it seemed eerily similar to too many of outings the past two seasons.
When they followed with a couple more easy baskets, it was deja vu all over again. And when UConn missed four straight free throws with a chance to take its first lead midway through the half, it looked like another example of the Huskies unable to put away an inferior opponent — a hallmark of the past two years.
It was far from a perfect performance.
We started to guard a little more responsibly, and their lack of depth wore them down with our pressure man. Among those in attendance for the ceremony were Jim Calhoun and Dee Rowe.
But I was more happy for my family to see my name go up there.
You always want to make an impact. Coach Calhoun recruited me, had a belief in me that I was a very good player.
I worked my butt off every day and tried to do everything well. Adams looked rusty for much of the contest until coming alive late in the second half. There are no shortcuts to success. Sign up for The Whistle, the GametimeCT newsletter, to get the best, most up-to-the-minute, engaging high school sports coverage in the state.