Bad news for all UConn Huskies fans today who had visions of a third National Championship dancing in their heads recently amid a 12-game win streak that has catapulted the team to No. 1 in the nation.
Second leading scorer and the team’s best perimeter defender, G Jerome Dyson was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee which he suffered five minutes into the Huskies game yesterday (Wed. 2/11) against Syracuse.
Dyson will undergo surgery early next week said a team spokesman and it will be then that the team delivers a more clear prediction of his status.
Without a doubt it’s a big loss to a team that certainly had national championship aspirations. Dyson was averaging just under 14 points per game but even more than that, his contributions on defense were absolutely critical to the Huskies’ 23-1 start to the season.
The injury will leave guards Craig Austrie (senior) and Kemba Walker (freshman) to pick up the slack and they certainly can. Walker obviously has the bigger upside and could potentially be a star for this team but is he ready right now? Now, the Huskies don’t need him to become a star but he will have to assume some additional leadership and scoring tasks.
If Dyson is unable to return in a month when the NCAA Tournament roles around, a fourth guard is going to be needed. Donnell Beverly or Scottie Haralson is going to have to be that guy and going off of what Calhoun has shown so far in his rotation, it appears that Beverly will be that guy. Beverly has the ability to be a solid replacement once he’s given the minutes. Everybody around the team noted that during offseason workouts and preseason practices, Beverly was perhaps the most improved player. He just needs to get the playing time and build his confidence.
I think it’s critical that Calhoun begins to work him — Beverly — into the rotation now. Using Beverly in the team’s remaining six conference games plus perhaps three conference tournament games will crucial in getting Beverly comfortable with his role with the team and his confidence up. We can’t just start using him come March. It won’t work.
And hopefully Dyson will be able to return by the Sweet Sixteen round (late March) and our team is just that much more prepared for the championship run.