Woke up this morning to the news that talented Connecticut freshman Nate Miles has been expelled from the school for violating a restraining order he received just 20 minutes before the incident. According to the court reports, he tried to force a woman into having sex, then called that same woman moments after getting the restraining order. Miles, an oft-troubled talent who enrolled at five separate high schools, will mean more minutes for Craig Austrie off the bench and quite possibly crunch-time minutes going to a three-guard lineup of Kemba Walker, A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson.
I agree with Andy Katz’s blog entry this morning in that the loss of Miles doesn’t change my opinion very much on the status of the Huskies. Sure, the upside and scoring potential of Miles at the small forward position would have completed a loaded Huskies roster. But with Walker, Price, Dyson, Austrie, Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet and the possible return of Stanley Robinson by the end of December, Connecticut remains my #2 team in the nation.
Still, it remains close-knitted for the #2 spot in the country and the #1 spot in the Big East. Louisville dealt with the loss of Derrick Caracter. Pittsburgh won’t have Mike Cook back this season. Marquette lost blooming freshman Trevor Mbakwe. The loss of personnel has not affected Notre Dame yet, so many argue they are the second best team in the nation. My money is still on Connecticut.
The upside for Miles, according to coach Jim Calhoun, was former UConn star Richard Hamilton. The odds of that happening were slim. The downside for Miles is the same downside for troubled college athletes like Derrick Caracter- unable to consistently contribute on the court due to off-the-court troubles, eventually leading to a conclusion like expulsion.
Miles was the X-factor for UConn this season. Now they’re just a little more predictable.