Category Archives: George Blaney

Huskies Heading Into Most Hostile Of Environments

by Categorized: George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, Rick Pitino, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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LOUISVILLE – There are “hostile environments,” and then there is the KFC YUM! Center. It’s an arena that combines NBA size with a college-campus feel, and when the 21,000-plus who pack the place sniff weakness, there’s no place to run or hide.

“We have to stay together as a unit,” Tyler Olander said this week. “The YUM center is probably the toughest place to play, as soon as they see you falling apart they just jump on you. They’ll get Continue reading

UConn vs. Yale: Setting Things Up at XL …

by Categorized: Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, George Blaney, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD –  Checking in at XL Center, UConn vs. Yale about 90 minutes away.

The Huskies stick with the same starting lineup they used in the opener – Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Omar Calhoun, DeAndre Daniels and Phil Nolan.

Napier, Daniels and Amida Brimah have been out shooting already today. Daniels in headphones.

Special guest in the house: George Blaney. Yes, he was able to stay away exactly one game.

Actually,  the coach was telling me he’s very happy, enjoying time with grand kids and not looking back on his decision to retire, at 73, after more than 50 years in the game.

Of course, if he did want one of his old jobs back, the Knicks could probably use him to suit up. Blane-sanity II.

What to watch today: How UConn adjusts to the new rules to stay out of foul trouble. With their depth, Continue reading

Tee Times: Kevin Ollie, Warde Manuel, George Blaney Among UConn Contingent at Travelers Pro Am

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, George Blaney, Kevin Ollie, UConn men's basketball, Uncategorized, Warde Manuel
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Here are some Travelers tee times for the UConn contingent at the Pro Am on Wednesday.

Kevin Ollie will be teeing off bright and early, at 7:30 a.m. with Jonaz Blizt, Warde Manuel and UHart women’s coach Jennifer Rizzotti at the 10th tee.

Geno Auriemma, George Blaney, who retired last week, and John Green will tee off at 1:10 p.m. from the first tee with John Rollins.

Scott Burrell, the thrower of the famous Dream Season pass and current assistant at Quinnipiac, will be with Matt Every, Ahmad Rashad and Robert Remus at 12:30 p.m. (Burrell and Rashad are also listed with Bill Murray and Tommy Gainey and 1 p.m.) First tee.

UConn women’s coach Chris Dailey will tee off at 12:40 p.m. with Ben Crane, Jim Naughton and Ray Lamontagne, first tee.

George Blaney: His Mark Made, A True Gentleman Decides It’s Time to Retire

by Categorized: George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, UConn men's basketball
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I was walking along the sidewalk at Gampel on Wednesday and I saw George Blaney carrying a cup of coffee. He waved and quickly made his way into the building and out of sight, and I thought, “hmm, that’s not like him.” I wondered if something was up …

Usually, whenever he’d see me, Blaney would come over to talk about the Yankees, one of his other great passions. I wondered if something was up. Whenever I’d ask Blaney about retirement – especially as last season drew to a close – he’d say with a twinkle in his eye he was “day to day,” or “I have a one-day contract.” Obviously, he did not want to be asked that question, since the day had come.

This was his deal at UConn, which eventually lasted 12 years, to age 73. Day to day. Get up, go to the gym and enjoy the day, and George Blaney never seemed to have a bad day if he was on or near a basketball court. The word “gym rat” is over-used, but it applied to this man well.

The word “gentleman” is rarely used these days, but it also applies to George Blaney so well. He is one of the great, true gentlemen I’ve ever been around – gracious, patient, soft-spoken, respectful. I wrote a long piece about him in 2010, this was before I joined the UConn beat and he was reluctant to be interviewed for it; he didn’t want to make his time filling in for Jim Calhoun about him.

After it ran, he sent me a hand-written thank-you note. This past year, on an off-day in need of a story, I Continue reading

UConn vs. South Florida: Napier Out of Lineup Again. Checking In From The Sun Dome

by Categorized: DeAndre Daniels, George Blaney, Kevin Ollie, R.J. Evans, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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TAMPA, Fla. – Checking in from the Sun Dome. … Shabazz Napier is out of UConn’s starting lineup for the second game in a row.

The Huskies listed R.J. Evans in their starting five at guard about an hour before the game at South Florida, so they did not wait even as long as they did at Cincinnati last Saturday. Napier was out on the court during the Huskies’ noon-time shoot-around on Wednesday, but did not do anything with the team. He worked with trainer James Doran, but though his injured right foot benefited some from the two days off this week, Napier could not go.

Evans, DeAndre Daniels, Tyler Olander, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun were in the Huskies lineup.

I asked George Blaney, 73, is this Saturday’s game against Providence would be his last, but he Continue reading

UConn Vs. Villanova: Checking In From XL …

by Categorized: Big East, DeAndre Daniels, George Blaney, Kentan Facey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD – Checking from the XL Center, where the start of UConn vs. Villanova is about an hour away. A  few pregame notes and stuff ..

Kentan Facey, who is coming to UConn next year, is in the building. Facey’s team, Long Island Lutheran, finished up its regular season Friday night. He was on the court about 10 a.m. shooting. Fans were chanting his name as he was walking around the court later on.

Here’s a story I did on Kentan a while back.

Terrence Samuel, UConn’s other signed recruit, may come up for the game. UConn wasn’t planning for any potential recruits to be here.

Same lineup for UConn: Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels, Omar Calhoun, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright.

Hearing UConn is expects Villanova to really try to pound the ball inside against them, attack Continue reading

UConn 69, South Florida 64 (OT): Wrapping Things Up From Gampel

by Categorized: Big East, DeAndre Daniels, George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Leon Tolksdorf, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, R.J. Evans, Roscoe Smith, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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STORRS – This past week, someone asked on our live chat what was so special about Kevin Ollie’s performance as head coach. After all, UConn was only beating the teams it was supposed to beat.

Two things: Michigan State and Notre Dame on the road wouldn’t fit that category and, well, in the Big East beating all the teams you’re supposed to beat it kind of special. Neither Louisville nor Syracuse can necessarily say they have done that. Even teams at the bottom of the league are going to be competitive and pick one off occasionally.

That nearly happened here, where UConn, probably in a let-down from the emotional game at Providence, stunk out the joint in the first half, played sluggishly and hit 5 of 27 in  the first half. At one point, I saw Continue reading

UConn 100, UMass-Lowell 62: Wrapping Things Up From XL

by Categorized: DeAndre Daniels, Enosch Wolf, George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Leon Tolksdorf, Niels Giffey, R.J. Evans, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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Some notes, quotes and thoughts from UConn’s 100-62 win over UMass-Lowell …

Just as you couldn’t draw conclusions on Thursday, you shouldn’t draw them here. These are exhibition games. UMass-Lowell, on paper, is expected to be a better team than AIC. What was clear was that the Huskies played with more enthusiasm, were looser, seemed to execute their plan better and gained confidence as the game went on. Those are good things. Rebounding against the teams on their regular- season schedule will be more and more difficult, but at least here they out-rebounded a team they were supposed to out-rebound, 52 to 34.

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Omar Calhoun hit 5 of 6 from three-point range to score 20 points. I asked him where he learned his unorthodox looking shot.

“My father taught me,” he said. “I was just a shooter at first, then I developed other parts of my game. Continue reading

Notes, Quotes: Kevin Ollie, Geno Auriemma Join Impressive Crowd at Jimmy V Dinner

by Categorized: George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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NEW YORK – With the glimmering Hudson River in the background, Kevin Ollie joined a group of top-echelon head coaches at the Jimmy V Classic dinner at Chelsea Pier on Wednesday.

My story will be on the website and in the Thursday Courant (click here), but here are a few notes, quotes and highlights of the pre-dinner press availability….

Jim Calhoun, in describing his new role around UConn “without a whistle” has often mentioned the model of John Thompson’s continued presence at Georgetown, where  his son, John Thompson III, is head coach.  Since retiring, Calhoun has talked about the need to “manage his shadow.”

They seem to have found a comfort zone at Georgetown.

“My dad’s role is that he is my dad,” Thompson III said. “As you know, he has an opinion about everything, about my job, and your job. He’s a presence around our program, he’s at games. Is he part of making game plans? No. Is he in on film sessions? No. Will he come up to me after practice and say, ‘why the hell did you do that?’ Yes.”

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With the first practice on Saturday, Ollie said center Tyler Olander, who sprained his ankle in early September, is now fully recovered. He hopes Shabazz Napier, who had foot surgery in September, will be “85 percent” on Saturday. Napier has been doing light work, and Ollie said they will have to monitor him carefully.

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No surprise, but I thought Ollie had the quote of the night:  “You can make a suit 15 different ways out of the same material. Coach [Calhoun] and I are made out of the same material.”

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Ollie and Geno Auriemma have had a few conversations about the transition. “Words of wisdom just flow from his tongue,” Ollie said.

Auriemma: “Kevin and I talked, and I told him a lot of the things I went through my first year, with UConn being my first head coaching job. And I expect he’ll go through a lot of the same things. Your first year as a head coach, everything that comes up, you think you can fix it. Someone has a question about the budget? ‘I got it.’ About recruiting? ‘I got it.’ About academics? ‘I got it.’ … Until you realize there is only so much you can do, and you have to decide what things are important enough for you to do yourself, and what you need to have your staff do. As you get more experience and more confidence, you learn how to do that. Kevin has good people around him.”

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Mike Gottfried of NC State, which will be the Huskies’ opponent on Dec. 4, recalled his first head coaching job at Murray State. “I left UCLA after we had won the championship [in 1995] and I woke up in Murray, Ky., and said, ‘what the heck did I do?’”

Though John Wooden had been retired many years before Gottfried got to UCLA, and Jimmy V had been gone many years before he got to NC State, he knows the aura of great coaches remains long after they are gone.

“And you have to embrace that,” Gottfried said. “That’s what makes this job great. Only a few places in the country have that.”

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Ollie didn’t offer a specific reason he decided to make Glen Miller his associate head coach, he said he just felt it was the best alignment. “I have a comfort level with Glen,” he said, “and I have a comfort level with George [Blaney]. The main thing is, I wanted to keep the team together.”

As announced last week, Miller is the associate head coach, Blaney and Karl Hobbs are full assistants, Kevin Freeman is director of basketball operations. 

We have a package of stories and graphics on our main sports page advancing First Night. … Talk to you tomorrow from The Husky Run.

 

Talk Of The Town: Can Huskies Do “The Impossible” In New York Again?

by Categorized: Alex Oriakhi, Big East, George Blaney, Jim Calhoun, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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STORRS – Someone told Jim Calhoun it would be great to have him at the Big East Tournament.

“I told him, ‘no, it would be better to have Kemba there.” Calhoun said.

A year later, it’s impossible not to think of what UConn did at the Big East Tournament in 2011, winning f ive games in five days, the last four against ranked teams. “Still the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in basketball,” George Blaney said. …

It was the topic du jour before practice on Monday, with Jim Calhoun back and running the show.

Can it happen again? “Last year we did the impossible,” Alex Oriakhi said.

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