Category Archives: Alex Oriakhi

UConn Vs. Michigan State: Taking The Train, ‘Not Backing Down,’ Notes, Quotes and Thoughts From The Garden

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Roscoe Smith, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball

NEW YORK – First, how to get there. Metro North will again provide a special train, added to its regular schedule of trains running between New Haven and NYC’s Grand Central Terminal on Sunday morning.

Here are the details from  the Governor’s Office:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that MTA Metro-North Railroad will run a special, extra New Haven Line train on Sunday, March 30, to accommodate the UConn men’s basketball fans expected to travel to New York City for the NCAA tournament game at Madison Square Garden (MSG).


“With another great win last night, I have no doubt that thousands of Husky fans will be heading down to the Garden on Sunday to show their support,” said Governor Malloy.  “Another win, and our next stop will be the Final Four.”


The special train – the “Huskies Fan Express” – will depart from New Haven’s Union Station at 10:40 a.m., and will make just three intermediate stops before arriving at Grand Central Terminal at 12:23 p.m. The train will stop at West Haven at 10:45 a.m., Bridgeport at 11:03 a.m., and Harlem-125th Street at 12:10 p.m.


For the return trip, the train will be ready and waiting at Grand Central to depart as needed based on what time the game ends and fans arrive at Grand Central.


UConn games at the Garden have historically drawn big crowds from the Bridgeport and New Haven areas, and many of the fans take Metro-North to the games. Fans are urged to buy round trip tickets at their boarding station.



The Huskies have a different destination in mind: Arlington, Texas, home AT&T Stadium, also known as Jerry World, for the Cowboys owner who built it. UConn toured it during their disastrous Houston-Dallas trip at the start of 2014, a reminder of where Kevin Ollie wanted them to go. “It seemed far away then,” Niels Giffey said.

Now UConn is one game away.

But the road is blocked by Michigan State, and that’s formidable. The Spartans have size and experience inside, and the tandem of Adriaen Payne and Brandon Dawson could be too much to handle. We’ll see. UConn’s guards are more experienced, which gives them an advantage.

Whether UConn’s backcourt or MSU’s front court takes control, the game will be about defense. Both teams hold opponents under 40 percent. UConn’s defense broke down in the second half against ISU, something that can’t happen Sunday if the Huskies are to have any chance.

Lot of talk at the podium about Tom Izzo replacing a legend, or program-builder in Jud Heathcote and how Kevin Ollie is doing the same. It’s not easy, more often than not it proves impossible, but both these guys have done it. They were around earlier and players and/or assistants and had the support of their predecessor, but, mainly, both are very comfortable in their own skin and that’s probably the key to stepping into a high-pressure situation like this.

This is the topic of my main advance for the game. Paul Doyle is writing about Payne, Jeff Jacobs about the slap-gone-viral. Lots of stuff in the UConn notebook. Just a ton UConn content on our main web pages, going up this evening, including John Altavilla reporting from Nebraska with the UConn women.

Let’s change it up, and give you some Shabazz Napier stream of consciousness at the podium:

“Like I’ve always said, I felt like I owed this university a lot.  I felt like after my first year we won, and the sophomore year I didn’t play up to my capabilities.  I felt like I owed the Continue reading

On Righting The Wrongs of 2012; Notes, Quotes From Practice In Buffalo

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, American Athletic Conference, Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Rip Hamilton, Roscoe Smith, RPI, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Syracuse basketball, UConn men's basketball

BUFFALO,  N.Y. – Wrapping up a long day at the arena with some notes, quotes and thoughts.

A recurring theme in the UConn locker room – and in any sport one does get a much better feel for a team by working the locker room – was the opportunity lost two years ago against Iowa State. That’s very much on players’ minds.

“We were talented,” Ryan Boatright said, “probably the most talented team in the country. But the chemistry wasn’t right. We weren’t together as a whole.”

That team had two lottery picks, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, and two other standout big men in Alex Oriakhi and Roscoe Smith. But the pieces just didn’t fit together.

“I wasn’t the leader my sophomore year that I should have been,” said Shabazz Napier, who was in his first season as the starting point guard.”

Boatright was in and out due to the NCAA reviews, and Jim Calhoun was in and out due to the suspension and the illness. The team faded in February and was blown out by Royce White and Iowa State in the tournament. “You lose in the first round,” Boatright said, “and then we couldn’t play last year, it sticks with you.”

That, more than the perceived slight of the No. 7 seed, will be UConn’s motivation against St. Joe’s Thursday night. Here is our main advance for the Courant.


Here are some excerpts from UConn at the podium:

Kevin Ollie

It’s just a great opportunity for us.  People see obstacles that we went through, I see opportunities.  We did a great job.  My guys stayed loyal.  We thought we’d be an NCAA Tournament team last year, and now we just took over that same mindset on into this year.
It’s always a players’ game.  They kept this university afloat when everybody else was Continue reading

How Former UConn Players Did in the Vegas Summer League

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, UConn men's basketball

The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League wrapped up late Monday night, when the Warriors (7-0) beat the Suns (6-1) for the championship, 91-77.

A quick look at former UConn players who participated in the 10-day summer program:

*Alex Oriakhi, drafted late in the second round by the Suns, played two minutes in the final, hitting his two free throw attempts, getting two rebounds. Over the seven games, the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Oriakhi who finished his college career at Missouri after three seasons in Storrs, averaged 7.9 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, shooting 42.9 percent from the floor.

In his best game, Oriakhi had eight points and four rebounds in 15 minutes vs. Memphis on July 16.

*Veteran Jerome Dyson was on Charlotte’s roster, starting five of the six games. He 24.8 minutes, 11.5 points, 4.3 assists and two rebounds as the Bobcats went 4-2, eliminated by Golden State on Sunday.

“Slice-n-Dice” also had his best game against Memphis, scoring 21 on July 18. Dyson scored in double figures in four of Charlott’s six games. … He usually plays in the Greater Hartford Pro Am, so maybe we’ll be seeing him soon in Waterbury.


Kevin Ollie on Realignment and Rebounding … Notes and Quotes from UConn Practice

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Leon Tolksdorf, R.J. Evans, Ryan Boatright, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel

STORRS – As one would expect, Kevin Ollie had little to say on conference realignment. It’s not really his concern at the moment …

“I’m happy we’re breathing,” he said, after UConn’s practice Wednesday. “I’m happy we’re in the league we’re in, and we have the games we’ve got. Wherever we are, we’re going to be trying to win games, win league championships.”

“… I will leave it up to Warde Manuel and our great president [Susan Herbst], I have faith in them to do the right thing for this university, and I love this university.”


UConn (5-1) is playing New Hampshire (2-3) on Thursday night at XL. UConn has been out-rebounded in each of its six games.

“K.O., coach Ollie, emphasizes rebounding so much, it gets annoying sometimes,” Ryan Boatright said. “We know Continue reading

NCAA’s Decision on Roscoe Smith Waiver Could Have Big Impact for UConn

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, APR, NCAA, Roscoe Smith, UConn men's basketball

STORRS – Former Husky Roscoe Smith completed the transfer process last week, committing to UNLV. His new school is seeking a waiver that would allow Smith to play next year, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz, without the usual one-year sit-out period for transfer students.

How this plays out, of course, could affect UConn, which remains ineligible for the NCAA Tournament next season due to its APR scores. Continue reading

Mailbag 4/9: What To Make Of The Interest In Oriakhi

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, Mailbag, UConn men's basketball

Question: Dom, kind of curious what your opinion is regarding [Alex] Oriakhi, his list of supposed schools and his impact at these schools. I’m not writing this to knock him, but he played against top level competition, was inconsistent and an offensive non factor for the better part of three years at UConn, although he showed flashes during their national championship season. While I still think he could be a solid rebounder, how much value does he bring to some of these schools for one year, and does his dad have as much influence as it seems? His situation boggles my mind.



A: Well, Todd, I see it like this: Alex is bound to draw a lot of interest from top programs because he is like a veteran baseball star willing to sign a one-year contact. He would be a low-risk get for one of the programs that have been mentioned, with a potential high reward. If a Continue reading

Latest on Alex Oriakhi

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, UConn men's basketball

… Spoke to someone with knowledge of Alex Oriakhi’s thinking in the search for a new school. He’s looking for a place that promises 30 minutes per game. (This, of course, would be hard to guarantee anywhere, especially at a power-conference school.)

The family is talking to Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, Missouri, Southern Cal, UCLA and NC State, and plans to take its time making the decision. To play at Kentucky or Missouri, Oriakhi would have to go for an academic program not offered at UConn and obtain a waiver from the SEC.

Mark Emmert: Don’t Expect Decision on UConn Eligibility Soon

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, APR, NCAA, UConn men's basketball

Folks, we’re still having technical problems with the blog, I’m posting when I can.

NCAA President Mark Emmert was asked about UConn’s situation today. He distanced himself from the report that a decision could come this week. Basically, it’s as it was. The Committee on Academic Performance’s subcommittee is studying UConn’s waiver application, with its proposals for alternative punishments, and then the CAP will continue to study the possibility of using more recent grades in April.

In other news out of New Orleans,  the Big East has decided that UConn, if ineligible for The NCAA Tournament in 2013, will not be able to play in the conference tournament, either. Click here for that story on our website and in the Friday Courant.

Here’s the complete question and answer from Emmert’s press conference in New Orleans:

Question:  Mark, question regarding the APR situation. You said last week Connecticut would probably find out within the next seven to ten days their fate. Do you have an update on that? They’ve already lost one player, Alex Oriakhi, who was a star in this event, who says he’s leaving because of the possible ineligibility next season. Is that a consequence the NCAA is comfortable with, a junior like that who is in good academic standing at his own school, now being forced to transfer to another school? Third, what do you see as the problem with using the most current data to collect that penalty?

PRESIDENT EMMERT:  All good questions.

“First of all, I don’t want to say I was misquoted. What I’d said in passing to some folks was there was a possibility that it could be resolved that quickly. The reality is this is the first time we’ve gone through this kind of appeal. The committee is going to have to look at it and make a decision. The time Continue reading

Virginia Tech Interested in Alex Oriakhi [Wash Post]

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, UConn men's basketball

Virginia Tech has joined the hunt for Alex Oriakhi, according to this Washington Post report:

The Hokies have three scholarships available for the 2012-13 season, and if Connecticut is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, Oriakhi would not have to sit out a year when he transfers.

Two people with knowledge of the situation said Virginia Tech is viewed as a long shot to land Oriakhi, who has reportedly received interest from North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky and Missouri, among others, since being officially released from his scholarship at Connecticut on Tuesday. But the 6-foot-9 rising senior would instantly become the Hokies’ most established big man if he were to unexpectedly choose Virginia Tech.

 Click here to read entire story.

Mailbag 3/26: Alex Oriakhi’s Desitination

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, Mailbag, NCAA, UConn men's basketball

Question: Alex Oriakhi to Duke? Sounds like it here.


Raleigh, N.C.

A: Well, Robert the Rug Guy, one thing is certain. Alex will have a lot of options, especially if he can play next year. An experienced big man with solid academics would be welcome for many teams, including Duke, with great aspirations for 2012-13.

One would think, if he is leaving UConn because they could be ineligible for The NCAA Tournament in 2013, he would want to go to a school that is almost assured of making it. If so, that would leave out mid-majors. Duke was mentioned in an ESPN report late last week. Missouri Continue reading