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  Vitale Home     College Basketball     ESPN.com  

UConn ready for title run

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

| Oct. 31, 2005

It has been a summer of mixed news for Connecticut. The good news came when Jim Calhoun was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honor. The bad news came when guards A.J. Price and Marcus Williams were involved in the theft of several laptop computers from dorms on campus.

Huskies fans were probably jumping with joy over the announcement that Williams would return to the team and play starting Jan. 3, 2006, at Marquette. That is big-time good news because, according to my VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index), Williams was the most improved player in the nation last season.

He gives Connecticut the experienced point guard to go along with Josh Boone and Rudy Gay. That threesome can cause all sorts of problems.

Calhoun is a big-time winner, a fierce competitor and a man with so much pride. He has a compassion and everyone knew that he would take Connecticut to the upper echelon of the Big East. I'm not sure people thought he would get them two national championship rings, but he has.

The summer has been tough on the coach. Price will not be on the team this season, and the incident has caused a lot of grief to the Connecticut program. I hope that A.J. can get back on track; he needs to sit down and mature. He can get some guidance from his parents, and his dad Tony was a star at Penn when the Quakers were in the 1979 Final Four.

Given the tough news Villanova received when Curtis Sumpter went down with a knee injury, Connecticut should be favored to win the Big East. There is the arrival of Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, DePaul and South Florida to make the expanded conference even tougher.

The Huskies have the special trio of Williams, Boone and Gay. Then add the potential of a healthy Rashad Anderson, veterans like Denham Brown, Ed Nelson and Hilton Armstrong, plus several newcomers and you can see why Calhoun's team can compete for another national title. Imagine if they had Andrew Bynum and Charlie Villanueva (both went into the NBA early).

Hopefully Williams can take advantage of the opportunity he received. The bottom line is, there has been a resolution and the Huskies should be able to move on in a positive direction.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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