Shabazz Napier

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Shabazz Napier
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut Huskies.jpg
No. 13 – Connecticut Huskies
PositionPoint guard
LeagueAmerican Athletic Conference
Personal information
Born(1991-07-14) July 14, 1991 (age 22)
NationalityAmerican / Puerto Rican
Listed height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolCharlestown
(Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Lawrence Academy
(Groton, Massachusetts)
CollegeConnecticut (2010–present)
Career highlights and awards
  • NCAA champion (2011)
  • All-Big East first team (2013)
  • USBWA District I Player of the Year (2013)
  • All-American Athletic Conference first team (2014)
 
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Shabazz Napier
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut Huskies.jpg
No. 13 – Connecticut Huskies
PositionPoint guard
LeagueAmerican Athletic Conference
Personal information
Born(1991-07-14) July 14, 1991 (age 22)
NationalityAmerican / Puerto Rican
Listed height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolCharlestown
(Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Lawrence Academy
(Groton, Massachusetts)
CollegeConnecticut (2010–present)
Career highlights and awards
  • NCAA champion (2011)
  • All-Big East first team (2013)
  • USBWA District I Player of the Year (2013)
  • All-American Athletic Conference first team (2014)

Shabazz Bozie Napier (born July 14, 1991) is a Puerto Rican-American college basketball player for the University of Connecticut, where he is playing his senior season. Napier was a key player for the Huskies' 2010–11 NCAA Championship team, as he made the Big East All Rookie team. Napier recorded the ninth triple-double in Husky history on November 20, 2011.[1] Following his junior season, Napier was selected on the All-Big East First team. In the 2013-2014 season, Napier was unanimously selected for the AAC All First Team, and was selected as a candidates and then finalists for AAC Player of the year, Bob Cousy award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Naismith award, Senior Class award, All-American team, and Wooden award. On November 11, 2013, Napier recorded the 10th triple double in UConn history which was his 2nd career triple double.

High school career[edit]

Napier, a 6'1" point guard, played his first two years at Charlestown High School in Charlestown, Massachusetts before transferring to Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts and reclassifying as a sophomore. As a junior, Napier led Lawrence to an undefeated season and the 2010 New England Prep Class C title. Napier earned a 4 star overall grade on Rivals and a 4 star overall grade (94) by ESPN. Napier then committed to the University of Connecticut to play basketball. During High School, Napier was mentored by former Iowa State star Will Blalock. Napier played AAU basketball for Metro Boston, and he also played wide receiver in football during high school. In January 2014, Napier's high school jersey was retired.[2]

College career[edit]

Freshman season[edit]

Shabazz Napier playing pick'n'roll.

Following his prep career, Napier went to Connecticut to play for coach Jim Calhoun (now Kevin Ollie). Napier had a solid freshman year in 2010–11 backing up Kemba Walker, coming off the bench. He appeared in all 41 games for the Huskies, coming off the bench averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game for the season, including his season high 23 points in a losing effort against Louisville and season high 8 assists against DePaul. At the end of the regular season, Napier was named to the Big East All-Rookie team along with teammate Jeremy Lamb, and received Big East Rookie of the week recognitions. Napier hit two game clinching free throws to secure a win in the Final Four against Kentucky. Napier's contribution to the team showed significance, as University of Connecticut won both the Big East Conference Championship and National Championship in 2011.

Sophomore season[edit]

During the Summer after his freshman year, Napier was invited to the trials for the 2011 World University Games team. Moving into the starting lineup as a sophomore, Napier was a preseason honorable mention All-Big East pick. His numbers improved greatly, as Napier averaged 13.0 points per game and 5.8 assists per game. Napier had a successful start to the year, notching the first triple-double of the year and the ninth in University of Connecticut men's basketball history as he scored 22 points, collected 12 rebounds and made a career high of 13 assists in an 87-70 win over Coppin State. Napier also scored a game winning 30+ foot three pointer during an overtime win against Villanova. In the NCAA Tournament vs Iowa State, Napier scored a game high 22 points in a losing effort. Napier at the end of the regular season finished 3rd in the Big East conference in assists. Before Napier's junior season started, he considered transferring out of Connecticut due to Jim Calhoun's retirement, however chose to stay with the team.

Junior season[edit]

Following his return, Napier led the Huskies in their season opener as they upset Michigan State with Napier scoring a game high 25 points. He scored a season high 29 points against Quinnipiac and tied it later vs Marquette. Napier along with backcourt teammate Ryan Boatright both rose to the national spotlight has they were highlighted as one of the nation's best backcourts, as they both averaged a combined 33 points and 9 assists per game, outplaying nearly every opponents' backcourt they've played. Napier reached his 1000th career point vs DePaul. Napier excelled in overtime play, allocating 55 points in 45 minutes of overtime play, as he led them to win 5 overtime wins which set a school record. Napier led the team in points (17.1) and assists (4.6). Following the end of the regular season, Napier made the All-USBWA District 1 team, and was the USBWA District I Player of the Year. Napier was then chosen to the Big East All First Team, was an honorable mention for Big East Player of the Year, and finished in the top 5 of the Big East Conference in scoring. Napier missed 2 games in the year due to a foot injury and started 27 of 28 games played.

On April 26, 2013, Napier opted to return to the team for his senior year along with teammates Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels. Napier said the reason he and his teammates returned is because Napier wanted to get his degree and for him and his teammates to return to the NCAA Tournament.

Senior season[edit]

Napier recorded his 2nd career triple-double which was 10th in UConn history with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. At the 2K Sports Classic, Napier had a game high 27 points as he led the team over Indiana, claiming the 2K Sports Classic Title and Napier was named Tournament MVP. In a game against Florida, Napier hit the game winning shot as time expired and had a game high 26 points. Napier in a win vs Memphis scored 17 points and dished out 10 assists, and afterwards became the only Connecticut player in history to tally 1500 career points and 500 assists. A game later, Napier scored 30 points which was his new career high in a losing effort to Louisville Cardinals. Napier then moved into 4th all time in assists for UConn with 563 a game later vs Temple.

In January, Napier then was selected through the mid season list for the Wooden Award, and was then selected for the Oscar Robertson trophy midseason list. Napier so far has earned multiple AAC Honor Roll and AAC Player of the Week recognitions. Then, he was selected as a finalist for the Senior Class award. Napier in a win vs South Florida moved into the top 10 all time scoring list in UConn history. In February, he was named one of the 30 finalists for Naismith College Player of the Year,[3] and one of the 23 finalists for the Bob Cousy award. Napier in an overtime win vs Memphis recorded a new career high 34 points.

International competition[edit]

Napier's mother and manager, Carmen Velázquez, is ethnically Puerto Rican, which made him directly elegible to represent Puerto Rico under FIBA reglamentation. On February 19, 2012, it was announced that following formal reunions with personnel of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, he had presented the required documentation and agreed to join the Puerto Rico national basketball team's practice for its most immediate tournament, the 2012 CentroBasket, which in turn serves as qualificatory for the 2013 FIBA Americas Tournament.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shabazz Napier's triple-double helps UConn rally to beat Coppin State, accessed December 12, 2011
  2. ^ Brendan Hall (April 6, 2010). "The skinny on Shabazz". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ "2013-14 Men's Naismith Trophy Midseason 30". Naismith Awards. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ Raúl Álzaga (2012-02-21). "Contento Flor Meléndez con Harkless y Napier" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Retrieved 2012-02-21. 

External links[edit]