Jerome Dyson is back for his senior season at the University of Connecticut, and what a way it started.
On Sunday, after breaking off the nail of his big toe walking into Gampel Pavilion, Dyson had it stitched back up and went out and played.
He not only played, but led the Huskies in a rout over UMass-Lowell by scoring 32 points.
Dyson's shooting is what the Huskies missed most in the National Semifinal last year against Michigan State. When A.J. Price, Kemba Walker, and Stanley Robinson were unable to shoot consistently from the perimeter, it hurt the Huskies.
There were a few times that someone needed to step up and hit a big shot, but it never happened, and as a result the Huskies lost to the Spartans. Jim Calhoun has said before that the Huskies had an excellent shot of winning it all if Dyson was healthy.
After tearing a ligament in his knee at home against Syracuse on Feb. 13, Dyson was lost for the season. The Huskies had to find a way to fill the void left by one of its top scorers.
Dyson is the type of player that can go off at any time. On Sunday he was 5-for-5 behind the three-point line. His dynamic ability on offense and tenacious defense are what make him such a significant leader.
There are plenty of critics out there who question UConn's talent after losing Jeff Adrien, Price, and Hasheem Thabeet to the NBA. Their frontcourt is young right now but should be much stronger once highly touted freshman Ater Majok is eligible come Dec. 23.
This Huskies team will be tested early on in the Preseason NIT and then again when they play Kentucky at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9.
Don't be fooled by how this team handles tough competition early on in the season. Calhoun will have his guys ready come Big East play and as March approaches.
Dyson will be the player to watch throughout this season. He has never played a full season at Connecticut due to various injuries and incidents. But this is the year that he leads by example.
With a lot of young talent and a solid core back, Jerome Dyson's success is imperative to helping develop this young team if they plan on making a deep NCAA tournament run come March 2010.
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