Shabazz Napier isn’t just firing up the Portland Trail Blazers with his unexpectedly good play during the 2017-18 NBA season, he also took time to visit his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, to inspire their men’s basketball team. As Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant reports, Napier’s visit had quite an effect.
Napier was stern, pointed. He spoke for a good 25 minutes and there wasn’t a murmur from the current Huskies.
“He definitely instilled that UConn pride,” said Jalen Adams, who followed Napier from Roxbury, Mass., to UConn. “You’ve got to play basketball the right way.”
As Amore reports, Napier’s speech motivated Huskies star Jalen Adams almost immediately.
“One of the biggest things he said that I took into my game was, ‘The game is going to tell you what to do,’” said Adams, who had 25 points, 20 in the second half, along with six assists and five rebounds. “Today was a perfect example. In the first half, the game was telling me to get in and create for my teammates, and in the second half, the game was telling me to get going because they were so spread out, I was able to get into the lane and to the basket.”
The article also cites Napier’s passion for his former school and the depths to which his motivations reverberate. The fourth-year guard is averaging 10.0 points and 2.3 assists per game for the Trail Blazers in 21.2 minutes, by far the highest numbers of his career.