Thursday, February 28, 2013
Napier improving draft stock?
By Nic Reiner
Ineligible for postseason play and without Jim Calhoun at the helm for the first time since 1986, Connecticut figured to be in for a long, unconventional season. However, the Huskies currently stand at 19-8 (9-6 in the Big East) and have positioned themselves comfortably in the top half of the Big East. One of the biggest reasons for the successful season is Shabazz Napier's excellent transition into primary leader and best player for UConn. He's been one of the top five most efficient players in the Big East this season, posting an offensive rating of 116 while using 24 percent of possessions when on the floor. Napier's averaging 37 minutes per game and only Notre Dame's Eric Atkins plays more among Big East squads.
Napier is not projected now to be drafted by an NBA team but, as Derek Bodner of DraftExpress notes, Napier is quietly trending upward. His stellar junior season bodes very well for his prospects going into his fourth year as a Husky. Next year, UConn will be able to compete in the postseason, Kevin Ollie will have a year under his belt, and the Big East will look very different. Napier could be poised to carry his team far and move up draft boards next year.