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Notebook: Cole, Sanogo impressing offensively for UConn men’s basketball

A look at how the Huskies are doing with two weeks out until their season opener.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon, two weeks out from the Huskies’ season opener Nov. 9 at home against Central Connecticut. The Huskies had just wrapped up a secret scrimmage against Harvard.

Since the men’s team didn't get to play much at all at First Night due to the basketball stanchion issue, Hurley provided a glimpse at how the team is looking. So far, RJ Cole and Adama Sanogo seem to be the offensive anchors on this team as they look to replace James Bouknight’s production.

It’s certainly encouraging news to see Cole and Sanogo producing with the season so close, but Hurley’s news isn't necessarily surprising. After all, Cole was one of the most prolific scorers in the country in his two seasons at Howard before coming to UConn, and while he struggled early on, he became an integral part of the offense before getting banged up in the Big East Tournament semifinals. He finished last season averaging 12.2 points a game and stepped up as facilitator too, dishing 22 assists in the Huskies’ final four games.

Sanogo showed flashes of being a dominant big man last season, so it’s good to see that he’s continued to develop through the offseason. While he averaged over seven points and nearly five rebounds a game last year while battling foul trouble, he finished the year strong, scoring double figures in four of his last five games, including a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in just 20 minutes in the regular-season finale against Georgetown.

During UConn’s scrimmage against Harvard last weekend, Sanogo was allegedly the best performer of the day, scoring 22 points and helping the Huskies dominate in the paint on the way to a 76-60 win.

According to Hurley, UConn will practice Tuesday night with referees to get accustomed to playing at night and to play with refs calling fouls. Going forward, Hurley plans to play closed-door scrimmages prior to the season instead of exhibition games — a bummer for fans that want to see the Huskies as soon as they can, but a move that allows UConn to play better competition.

The good news is, Hurley plans to have public intrasquad scrimmages in the future.