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Shabazz Napier Lands Cover Of Sports Illustrated After UConn Wins NCAA Title

Shabazz Napier of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the NCAA national championship game at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Shabazz Napier of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the NCAA national championship game at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shabazz Napier will grace the cover of the upcoming edition of Sports Illustrated after leading the UConn Huskies to an improbable NCAA title just a year after the program was banned from the tournament due to academic sanctions.

SI released the cover for its April 14 issue on Tuesday, the morning after UConn beat Kentucky 60-54 for the national championship. It was Connecticut’s fourth championship since 1999 and Napier’s second.

The cover story written by Michael Rosenberg covers the Huskies’ journey from “the brink of the abyss,” SI said on its website. UConn was barred from postseason play in 2013 due to substandard Academic Progress Rate scores.

Napier, who stuck with the program despite the penalties and the departure of coach Jim Calhoun, scored 22 points in Monday’s title game. It was enough for UConn’s undisputed leader to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

“You’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier said. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us.”

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