UConn Opens Branch in Detroit

Andrew ZercieCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009
Former UConn teammates Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva have agreed to multi-year contracts to join the Detroit Pistons, according to published reports.

Gordon spent the first five years of his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls, leading the team in scoring in each of the last four seasons. The 26-year-old guard averaged 20.7 points per game in 2008-09 and averaged 24.3 PPG in the playoffs this past season.

The 6′3″ Gordon is among the NBA’s best three-point shooters, setting a career high with 173 three-point field goals in 2008-09.

Charlie Villanueva, a four-year NBA veteran, set career highs in nearly every offensive category last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 16.2 PPG, grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game, nailing 89 three-pointers, and making nearly 84 percent of his free-throws.

Villanueva, a 6′11″ forward, is the sort of multi-dimensional player that NBA teams seek. He can play with his back to the basket, posting up small forwards, and he can draw power forwards outside the paint to either face up and shoot jump shots, or use his speed to drive past them for an easy basket.

Both Gordon and Villanueva were teammates on the 2003-04 UConn Huskies team that won the national championship. They join another former Husky, Richard Hamilton, who led UConn to the 1998-99 title.

The Pistons are hoping that the signings of Gordon and Villanueva will re-establish Detroit as a contender in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, after a season that saw Detroit finish a disappointing 39-43 and be ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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