Talk to Connecticut freshman Caron Butler about basketball, and
he sounds appropriately modest--"I'm going to give 110 percent,
bring what I can to the table, try to help the team." Ask him
about playing cards, specifically who wins when he goes against
roommate Taliek Brown, and he can't help but crack a confident
smile. "Oh, I am the man at spades," he says.
By next spring Butler may well be the man, period. Though he
arrives at UConn from Racine, Wis., with less hype than the
multitalented Brown (page 128), the 6'7" swingman Butler is by no
means less promising. Strong and athletic, he has good range on
his jump shot and uncommon court vision. Moreover, after two
years at a prep school in Maine, where he averaged 26.2 points
and 13.3 rebounds last year, Butler already possesses a polished
game, plenty of confidence and what coach Jim Calhoun calls "a
That's good news for the Huskies because, with Khalid El-Amin
having left early for the pros and Jake Voskuhl and Kevin
Freeman having used up their eligibility, UConn is suddenly a
young and inexperienced team. The only double-figure scorer back
is shooting guard Albert Mouring (Big East-leading .478
three-point-shooting percentage), a preseason Wooden Award
nominee with a librarian's demeanor.
Fortunately for Calhoun, most of the other powers in the Big
East are similarly green. This gives Calhoun time to tinker. "I
don't usually say this, but I'm looking at it as if our season
really starts on January 1," says Calhoun. By then he hopes that
Butler, Brown, and the third starter from Connecticut's heralded
recruiting class, last season's junior college player of the
year, Johnnie Selvie, will be gelling.
If that happens, come March the young Huskies could very well be
playing with a stacked deck.
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO Old reliable Mouring isn't a dynamic leader, but his scoring and experience will be invaluable to the young Huskies.
POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT
SF Caron Butler 6'7" Fr. 26.2 ppg*
PF Johnnie Selvie 6'7" Jr. 10.0 rpg
C Souleymane Wane 6'11" Sr. 4.8 rpg[**]
SG [**]Albert Mouring 6'3" Sr. 13.9 ppg
PG Taliek Brown 6'1" Fr. 22.5 ppg*
1999-2000 record: 25-10 Final rank (coaches' poll): unranked
[***]Returning starter *As a high school senior
[**]As a juco sophomore