Today we continue our individual review of the roster with Rodney Purvis, who finished his first year at UConn after transferring from NC State.
A McDonalds's All-American in high school, Rodney Purvis came into the year with more hype than anyone on the team. After spending his freshman season at NC State, the 6-foot-4-inch guard decided to transfer to UConn, where he would immediately be called upon to be a scoring threat.
Having to sit out the whole 2013-14 season, Purvis had a front row seat to UConn's run to the national championship. Kevin Ollie was constantly talking up Purvis, famously comparing him to a Ferrari. While I think Ollie was just making a colorful analogy, he probably didn't think it would illicit such strong expectations from fans and people around the program.
So heading into the season, expectations were high for Purvis. UConn lost a lot of production from the previous year's team, and now it would be up to Purvis to help fill that void.
Perhaps the most inconsistent player to put on a UConn uniform this season, Purvis had some games and other games where he was highly ineffective. Ryan Boatright couldn't do it all himself and really needed more from his supporting cast. Sometimes Purvis answered the call and sometimes, quite simply, he did not.
The perfect way to describe Purvis' inconsistency for the whole season came in the first two games of March.
Against then-No. 21 SMU in Hartford, Purvis exploded. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 9 of 16 shooting, including a dunk that was No. 1 in the SportsCenter Top 10 that night. It was easily UConn's best game of the season and had a lot of fans (and probably the players too) starting to feel that the Huskies had found their way. After all, it was March 1st.
Fast-forward to UConn's next game against Memphis on Senior Night. A win would have put the Huskies into the "Next Four Out" in Joe Lunardi's Bracketology. Personally, I thought UConn was going to handle Memphis with ease. Austin Nichols wasn't playing, it was Boatright's last game in Gampel, and Purvis was coming off his performance of the year.
Unfortunately, none of that mattered. UConn managed only 53 points, and Purvis finished with zero. Nada. He had a nasty fall in the first half on a fast break, but nonetheless, he struggled mightily, shooting 0-for-7 from the field, 0-for-2 from three, and clearly never found a rhythm.
Purvis ended the season with a six-game streak of double-digit scoring efforts, pulling his season average to 11.6 points per game. He shot only 36 percent from 3-point range, and didn't contribute much in the way of assists or rebounds either. He was a pure scorer who struggled to score.
It will be a consistent theme of these reviews, but UConn really needs more from Purvis next season. In games where he scored double figures, UConn went 14-5. And in the AAC Tournament, he scored in double figures four games in a row for the first time all year. He averaged 17.5 points per game and shot 48.3 percent from the field – 14-for-27 from behind the arc – during the tournament. That is most definitely promising for next season.
Purvis may have not had the stellar season that most fans were expecting, but with another year under his belt, he clearly has the ability to take over games and help carry UConn back to the NCAA Tournament. Purvis was asked to do a lot this season, and while he has shown the ability to put the team on his back for some stretches of play, there's a high possibility that he was just a year away from a more consistent offensive game.