Category Archives: Andre Drummond

UConn vs. Michigan State: Setting The Scene at The Garden

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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NEW YORK – The Huskies and Spartans are on the floor, the start of the NCAA East Regional final is about 25 minutes away.

Let’s set the scene at Madison Square Garden. Anna Negron has just belted out the anthem, impressively one might add.

Kevin Ollie’s featuring a light gray suit today.

UConn’s staying with the lineup it has been using – Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, Phil Nolan and Niels Giffey.

You know Lasan Kromah and Amida Brimah will be off the bench early, Terrence Samuel will get in  there for a spark. One wonders if Tyler Olander, who has played only three minutes in the tournament, gets some action today against this big Spartan line. He played well against MSU in Germany.

Michigan State starts Adreian Payne, Brandon Dawson, Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Denzel  Valentine, no surprises.

Your refs: Mike Roberts, Tom Eades, John Higgins.

Andre Drummond is in the house, watching his former teammates. Imagine if he were on this team as a junior? Anyway, he was down behind the UConn bench chatting with Jim Calhoun.

Classic matchup today, not much to be said that isn’t already up on our website. UConn has the better backcourt, Michigan State the stronger front court. Let it fly.

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
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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.

 

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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
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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.

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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

Cincinnati 63, UConn 58: Wrapping Things Up From Cincy …

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Andre Drummond, AP Top 25, DeAndre Daniels, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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CINCINNATI – A few thoughts, notes, quotes from UConn’s 63-58 loss to the seventh-ranked Bearcats …

UConn probably left the arena saying, “man, we should’ve won.” And one imagines a lot of teams have left the arena after losing to Cincinnati this year saying that. The Bearcats know how to win close games. They’ve beaten excellent teams like Louisville and Memphis and Pitt in close game, and when they’ve struggled against lesser teams like South Florida, they found a way to win.

They did it again against UConn, which led by 10 points in the first half and was really looking good at that point. Cincy turned it around, got killer defensive stops, they forced UConn to take bad shots. Their top player showed up. Cincinnati just knows how to win. Experienced, tough kids – not unlike UConn, mind you. The Huskies have experienced, tough kids and have won close games against good teams, too. But the record just shows Cincy is a little better, and they were a little better Thursday night.

“All that matters is we find a way to win,” Mick Cronin said. “We can’t let statistics or individual plays affect us. Right now, we have tremendous focus. Everybody is worried about getting the win more than their own stats.”

When they come to Hartford to play on March 1, I would not be shocked if the game were much different. I didn’t come away feeling these teams were very far apart, or that UConn can’t match up with Cincinnati. But at 5-4, they’re not catching the Bearcats (11-0) in the American Athletic Conference regular season race; UConn is playing for second or third place and will have to make its move in Memphis. And the Huskies will probably drop out of the AP Top 25 come Monday, and take a hit in the RPI, even if they win at UCF.

“You learn from every loss. We usually play close games with Cincinnati. A lot of games come down to the last second when we play them.”

Here is the main game story for the Friday Courant.

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Kevin Ollie was angry after this game. He did a lot of hollering and was hoarse when he talked to reporters for about 4 minutes after emerging from  the locker room. Here are those 4 minutes:

 

They just played hard. The second half, they came out and established themselves in the paint. Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson, they just took over the game. You know, Kilpatrick got 17 in the second half, 12 rebounds, six assists – just a hell of a performance by him. We couldn’t get him out of the game.

They just took it to us inside, 34 points in the paint and that’s the game. That’s the game. We rebounded with ‘em, but we can’t give up [52.2] percent shooting in the second half. And that’s what good teams do.

They ran, they did whatever they wanted to do.  Kilpatrick came out for the shot. They posted up. We didn’t get in front. They did whatever they wanted to do in the second half.

We stopped moving the basketball, plain and simple. We were scoring on every timeout. Continue reading

Updated: No. 22 UConn vs. No. 7 Cincinnati; Setting The Scene at Fifth Third Arena

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Andre Drummond, DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah, Leon Tolksdorf, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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CINCINNATI – UConn and Cincinnati get started in here at Fifth Third Arena in about a minute or two. Let’s set the scene.

DeAndre Daniels was out of UConn’s starting lineup.

Daniels, who was out stretching with teammates an hour before the game, participated in the UConn shoot-around Thursday morning, and it looked like he would be starting the game. But apparently he had a setback in the moments leading up to the game and Niels Giffey was listed as the starter. Daniels is dealing with back spasms and the high ankle sprain. But UConn’s starting lineup was Giffey, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Lasan Kromah and Amida Brimah.

Daniels was dressed and on the bench but limping as the game was about to start.

The Bearcats are going to have 6-foot-9 freshman Jermaine Lawrence for the first time since Jan. 4. He has been out with an injury; his return gives them a little more depth up front.

Your officials tonight: Mark Whitehead, Mike Roberts and Les Jones.

The ‘Cats’ Sean Kilpatrick is the American Athletic Conference’s leading scorer, averaging 19.4 Continue reading

AAC Media Day: Wrapping Things Up From Memphis

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Andre Drummond, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Kevin Ollie, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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MEMPHIS – The first AAC Media Day is in the books. A few notes, quotes and thoughts …

This league should really be pretty good – this year. Once Louisville leaves, there will be a gap in power and brand recognition, no question. And when Larry Brown, 73, moves on, SMU will lose the most compelling thing about its program.

This is something the teams will have to address, and UConn, too, by scheduling better and better non-conference opponents. But for now, a coaching dais that includes Rick Pitino, Larry Brown, Fran Dunphy, Kevin Ollie, et al, is fairly glittering, and the inaugural AAC season should have its share of ranked teams.

Here’s the main story on our website and for the Thursday Courant. Lots of coverage, video, photos, etc., there.

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I know they only picked first and second teams, but I feel like DeAndre Daniels should have had a Continue reading

Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond Impress at NBA Orlando Summer League

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, UConn men's basketball
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The Oklahoma City Thunder won the NBA’s Orlando summer league and former UConn star Jeremy Lamb, who figures to play a bigger role with them next season, averaged 19 points per game.

Oklahoma City finished with a 5-0 record, beating Houston – the team that drafted and traded Lamb – 85-77 in the final game this week. Lamb scored 18 in the final, and made a key defensive play down the stretch.

“I continue to work on my defense,” he told NBA TV, “try to knock down shots and just make the right plays. The way our team is set up, knocking down open jumpers, corner jumpers, [is going to be important].”

The Pistons were 2-3 during the week in Orlando, but Lamb’s former teammate, Andre Drummond, Continue reading

Shabazz Napier, Daniel Hamilton Showing In Vegas … Summer Hoop Notes

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, Daniel Hamilton, DeAndre Daniels, Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Durant, Shabazz Napier, Tim Abromaitis, UConn men's basketball
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Shabazz Napier obviously left a strong impression at the guard Skills Academy in Jersey a couple of weeks ago. He was selected to play with the best at various positions at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, which is wrapping up on Monday.

Daniel Hamilton, committed to UConn from the Class of ’14, was invited for the high school side of the camp. Hamilton, who is considered a top 30 recruit, has been living up to that billing this summer. Along with DeAndre Daniels, he was at the Kevin Durant camp for wing players in D.C., and invited to Vegas from there.

Here is the college roster at the LeBron academy – you will see Napier is in elite company.

It’s split into teams and games are played. It’s loaded with NBA scouts.

Hamilton is on a roster with a lot of players UConn has been interested in, including Jakeenan Gant Continue reading

Andre Drummond In Middletown, Bringing Gifts, Smiles …

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, UConn men's basketball
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Andre Drummond of the Detroits Pistons, who was fourth in the NBA’s Rookie of the Year voting despite missing six weeks with a back injury, was back home on Thursday. He was in Middletown, visiting Bielefield Elementary School, which was where he enrolled after his family moved to town.

 “After I left New York, I came here. I was in the second grade. A lot of people took care and looked out for me and my sister [Arianna]. I knew I’d be back.”

Drummond came with gifts for the children there now and, as always, left a good impression. Desmond Conner was there for us and has the story here.

Drummond is spending the summer in Connecticut, taking classes at UConn.

Season Complete: A Look At UConn Huskies In The NBA

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, Caron Butler, Jeremy Lamb, Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Rudy Gay, UConn men's basketball
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The NBA regular season ended on April 17. Here is a look at how UConn players fared this year:

Ray Allen – Heat

79 games off the bench for defending champs, averaged 10.9 points in 25.8 minutes, Shot 44.9 percent from three-point range. Scored 63 in four games vs. Celtics.

Caron Butler – Clippers

Started 78 games for Division champs. Averaged 10.4 points, 24 minutes. Scored 33 vs. New Orleans on Nov. 26. Steal on a “fake high five” duped Jonas Valanciunas in Feb. a YouTube moment.

Andre Drummond – Pistons

60 games, 10 starts, 7.9 points, 7.6 assists in 20.7 minutes. Missed 22 games with knee injury, but had a Continue reading