||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2014)|
|No. 13 – Connecticut Huskies|
|League||American Athletic Conference|
July 14, 1991 |
|Nationality||American / Puerto Rican|
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
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. 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 named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. On November 11, 2013, Napier recorded the 10th triple double in UConn history which was his 2nd career triple double.
High school career
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.
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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. At the end of the regular season, Napier was named to the Big East All-Rookie team along with teammate Jeremy Lamb. 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 Connecticut won both the Big East Conference Championship and National Championship in 2011.
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. Connecticut earned a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as Napier scored a game high 22 points in a losing effort against Iowa State. 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.
Following his return, 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 led the Huskies under first year coach Kevin Ollie to a 20-10 season despite having no postseason eligibility.
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.
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 husky 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 in a win vs South Florida moved into the top 10 all time scoring list in UConn history. Napier in an overtime win vs Memphis recorded a new career high 34 points. On March 1st, Napier in a win vs Cincinnati notched a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. On senior night on March 5th in a win over Rutgers, Napier recorded a career high 7 three point field goals.
Honors and watchlists
In the 2010-2011 season, Napier was selected to the Big East All-Rookie team. In the 2012-2013 season, Napier was named to the All Big East First team. He was then selected to the All-USBWA District 1 team, and was the USBWA District I Player of the Year. In his senior year in the 2013-2014 season, Napier was unanimously named to the All-American Athletic Conference first team, and was named AAC Player of the year. He was then named finalists for the Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Bob Cousy Award, Naismith Award, and Senior Class award. Following the end of the regular season, Napier was named as a first team member in All-American teams for SportsIllustrated and USBWA, and a second team member for Sporting News.
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.
- Shabazz Napier's triple-double helps UConn rally to beat Coppin State, accessed December 12, 2011
- Brendan Hall (April 6, 2010). "The skinny on Shabazz". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Raúl Álzaga (2012-02-21). "Contento Flor Meléndez con Harkless y Napier" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Retrieved 2012-02-21.