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UConn men’s basketball position preview: Wings

A look at each position on the UConn Huskies roster, this time we have the wings.

Wings Brendan Adams and Tyler Polley sit on the bench during a game against the Maine Black Bears at the XL Center in Hartford.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The college basketball season is set to start a week from from now, which seems like a miracle considering it shut down 251 days ago. That’s right, we have made it through 97.2% of the offseason at this point.

Now that we’re so close to the start of the season, it’s time to take a look at how the UConn men’s basketball team’s roster has shaken out. The UConn Blog is going to be breaking down the Huskies’ roster over the next week. After looking at the big men yesterday, we’re going to take a look at the wings on the roster.

Everyone in this position group is set to see key minutes this upcoming season based on what head coach Dan Hurley has said over the course of the offseason. It is the lightest in terms of numbers, with just four of the 15 players on the roster falling into this category.

All three of the following players have are currently dealing with or have dealt with injuries in the past year as well – which something to keep an eye on in a season where the schools has had an irregular pre-season schedule.

Tyler Polley, Senior

Starting with the longest-tenured Husky of the group, Polley is one of the most important players on this team. He is their best shooting option and can provide some value as a rebounder as well.

Before tearing his ACL in practice in January, Polley averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15 games. He had a standout performance against Tulane in his last game of the season, grabbing 11 boards and dropping 19 points in the narrow win.

Polley had a team-high 40.5% 3-point percentage on 4.9 attempts per game. Had he played a full season at that level, he would’ve been the second-best shooter in the American and the sixth-best in the Big East, according to KenPom.

Polley was also incredibly secure with the ball last season, giving up just five turnovers on the year. He coughed up the ball just once every 75.6 minutes he was on the court – or once every three games he played in. For comparison, Akok Akok – the only wing who played more minutes per game than Polley last season – gave it up once every 28 minutes, or once per game.

The 6-foot-9 sharpshooter went back to full action in late-October, according to Hurley. Expect him to play major minutes for Hurley once again.

Brendan Adams, Sophomore

The first recruit of Hurley’s UConn career, Adams is primed to carve out an increased role in his third season with the program. Hurley has praised him multiple times during media sessions this offseason, including calling him a “highly valued member of the organization” in September.

The key to Adams’ season is whether he can bring the shooting ability he flashes in practices to games. He has struggled to hit shots in his time in Storrs, hitting less than 40% of his field goal attempts and less than 30% of his three’s in each of his first two seasons.

Adams has been dealing with a foot issue this offseason, but Hurley said he’ll start the season on time. .

Andre Jackson, Freshman

Here is potentially the largest question mark when it comes to the wing position. Jackson is the only wing that we haven’t seen don the Husky blue and white just yet. The freshman was the gem of Hurley’s 2020 class, ranked as the No. 50 player in his class by 247Sports.

It’s possible he could see a Bouknight-esque role in his rookie year – starting with some bench minutes before earning a starting job later in the season depending on performance.

He has said that his impact will likely not come in the form of scoring this season, even though he averaged almost 19 points per game in his senior high school season. He is mainly viewed as a super-athletic slasher-type, despite hitting 45% from 3-point range senior year as well. He is known for his highlight tapes of high-flying, one-handed hammer dunks.

One specific highlight tape of his received a bit of attention from some NBA stars in recent days as Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell, Ja Morant and Bradley Beal all shouted him out on Twitter.