After missing most of the preseason with foot soreness, UConn men’s basketball grad transfer Kassoum Yakwe will finally make his debut for the Huskies in the season opener versus Morehead State.
However, because Yakwe missed so time, Hurley said he’s behind in terms of learning the scheme.
“He doesn’t have a great idea of what we’re doing on either end of the court in terms of the nuances of ball screen defense, offensive spacing, what we’re trying to execute,” Hurley said. “But the thing with Kassoum is he has that high level of athletic ability, so if he’s a step or two out of position, he can make up for it because he’s so explosive.”
Yakwe also provides shot-blocking ability, which will allow the guards on the perimeter to be more aggressive and pressure more.
“That’s what I love to do: play defense,” Yakwe said. “That’s what they brought me here to do: protect the rim. Nothing easy.”
High Hopes for Hurley
The school announced that the season opener is a sellout, the first full crowd to start the year since 2015, when the Huskies raised their 2014 national championship banner.
What is still unknown, though, is UConn’s starting lineup for their first game. Hurley doesn’t want to give Morehead State any extra advantage going into Thursday night.
“I wait to the last second (to announce the lineup). I’ve almost gotten technical fouls on the starting lineup,” he said. “I’m in the Belichick school of secrecy of lineups and injuries. I give [the media] a lot but lineups and injuries, I like to keep it close.”
Scouting Morehead State
“About 70 percent of what they do is about heavy ball screens. They had 21 offensive rebounds last night in an exhibition and that’s obviously been an issue for us so we’ve tried to hammer home those two things and three point line defense. They have a number of perimeter guys that can make a three, play off the dribble and then their forwards also step out and make threes. So three point line defense, ball screen defense, rebounding the ball much better and just sharpening up our attack at the offensive end (were the areas of focus in practice).”