Over the past decade, Connecticut has been the Big East’s version of “Frontcourt U.” From Jake Voskuhl to Emeka Okafor to Josh Boone and Charlie Villanueva, the Huskies program, headed by Jim Calhoun, has turned out NBA big men regularly.
While the ’08-‘09 Connecticut team has a bona fide first-round pick in 7-foot-3 junior center Hasheem Thabeet, the majority of the production underneath comes from 6-foot-7 senior bruiser Jeff Adrien.
As Mike alluded to, the Huskies had their share of off-season problems, including injuries and expulsions. However, Calhoun certainly doesn’t have to worry about bringing back a consistent, veteran presence down low.
The 243-pound Adrien has averaged over 13 points and 9 rebounds per game each of the last two seasons, while shooting right around 50 percent from the floor.
His junior year was especially balanced as he put up 489 points and 301 rebounds in 33 games for averages of 14.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Despite being undersized for his style of play, the Brookline, Mass. native is best known for his near seven-foot wingspan and strength at the rim.
It’s hard to be a returning First-Team All-Big East selection and somehow find a way to be the under-the-radar player in your own team’s frontcourt duo. It’s an alarming accomplishment for the man who led the Huskies in points and rebounds last season.
STAT OF NOTE: Adrien leads active Big East players with 33 career double-doubles and he has scored in double figures 59 times over his three-year career.