Uconn Men's Basketball: A Fan's Cry for Help

Matt MonaganContributor IIApril 12, 2012

Kemba Walker
Kemba WalkerRonald Martinez/Getty Images

It's all we have in Connecticut.  

Sure we can say we're Yankee fans.  Maybe it was the first game we attended as a tee-balling, germ-crawling toddler.  

Go Cowboys!  They're America's team and are just as much our team as Dallas'.  The cheerleaders are also very nice.

We can reminisce about the Whalers and talk about games at the Civic Center with Brendan Shanahan, Geoff Sanderson and Adam Burke.  Although we may never watch hockey now (or even back then) the Whalers are the last professional team linked to the Nutmeg State.  We pretend we were fans even if we never really were.

But right now, and forever, Husky basketball is Connecticut.  And fresh off a 2011 National Championship, the Uconn program seems to be in a state of disarray.  

Last year was a bitter disappointment.  The team sorely missed the leadership and determination of Kemba Walker, a guy who scored a Big East Tournament record 130 points in five games.  He also won the NCAA Tournament MVP in 2011, graduated college in three years and was drafted to the Charlotte Bobcats ninth overall in the NBA draft.  He even made three appearances on Showtime at the Apollo as a child.  A true champion.

Without Kemba, the Huskies were lost.  They were inconsistent.  They lacked the passion and urgency that is so critical to success in the college basketball world.  Now, as Jeremy Lamb, Uconn's leading point scorer last season, declares for the NBA draft along with 2011 top recruit Andre Drummond, next year looks even more bleak.  Alex Oriachi has transferred.  Jim Calhoun's health problems continue to wane and with each passing season the Hall of Fame coach looks more and more like the guy from Tales from the Crypt.  Can we trade Ollie, Calhoun and Blaney for Shaka Smart?  We'll even throw in Niels Giffey for good measure.  

To add insult to injury, the Huskies are suspended from possible NCAA Tournament play next season due to recruiting violations committed back in 2010.

A program that was on top of the world just two seasons ago is without a true scorer, leader, healthy coach and desire to win.  What happened to hard-nosed players like Kevin Freeman?  The pinpoint shooters like Ray Allen or Rashad Anderson?  The days of Khalid-El Amin screaming out plays from atop the key, Rip Hamilton swishing baseline jumpers or even Kemba Walker fearlessly driving down the lane seem a distant memory.  

Connecticut needs you Uconn.  Please sort it out.