Category Archives: Jeremy Lamb

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

UConn Vs. Villanova, Kevin Ollie, Jim Calhoun, Notes and Quotes From First Niagara Center

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Jeremy Lamb, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Kemba Walker, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Let’s start with the “news of the day.”

Is Jim Calhoun going to coach Boston College? I don’t believe so. Will he coach somewhere? I wouldn’t bet against that, would you?

It is hard to imagine Calhoun severing his ties with UConn, a school that named a street after him. He has the run of the place, and can do what almost anything he wants. … Almost.

Let’s face it: every great coach misses it after retirement, and many come back. Sometimes it’s a mistake, but it happens. Where do we start? Vince Lombardi came back after a year to coach the Redskins. Bill Parcells came back multiple times. Red Holzman came back. Earl Weaver, Jim Leyland. You think  there’s a chance Phil Jackson, whatever his title, will end up on the Knicks bench? This list goes on and on. Bill Snyder. Bud Wilkinson. Dick Vermeil.

As he neared 70, Joe Torre flirted with retirement each year but would always say, “I don’t want to miss out on any fun,” and he’d come back. Jim Boeheim expressed similar sentiments today, that he won’t retire until he is sure he is ready, because every coach he has talked to misses it.

The attention Larry Brown has gotten at SMU clearly intrigues Jim Calhoun, and it could also intrigue a school out there, one that needs to be put on the map. A school like that would love to have Calhoun for however long they could get him, and gladly take whoever he’d want as a designated successor.

I’m not saying this is going to happen, I’m saying don’t be shocked if it done, because this type of comeback has happened a hundred times before. When coaching is in the blood for 40 years, it never completely gets out. And Calhoun is tanned and rested.

Here is my story on it for the Saturday Courant, and Jeff Jacobs’ take on it.

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Shabazz Napier said if Calhoun does come back, he’d apply for a job as one of his assistants some day. He was joking, but Kevin Ollie was serious when he said Napier could be a coach one day. Then he said he would fight Calhoun for his services.                                        ********

Ollie was exceptionally good on the podium today – relaxed, funny, charming.Here’s more from his press session, as we shift the focus back to UConn-Villanova and the NCAA Tournament:

“[Villanova’s] a great, amazing three?point shooting team.  I think they’ve taken probably, I think, top ten in three?point attempts.  I think they’re in the top five of made three?point field goal shooting teams.
So we’re going to have our work cut out for us.  We’ve got to run them off the three?point line.  We’ve got to play Pinkston down low.  He’s a great player also.  That’s what gives them their balance, and that’s what makes them tough to guard. Jay [Wright] does a wonderful job exploiting matchups.  So we’re going to have to be able to be matched up and play our type of basketball and just play with energy and passion.  Hopefully, we can come out with the win tomorrow night.”

“I don’t care who we’re playing. We want to get to the next round.  It’s great to see Jay [Wright].  It’s great to see a foe that we’ve had so many battles against.  Villanova’s a great team.  We’re going to go out there and play.
But we’re worried about and concerned about UConn and our keys to 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

Dickie V. Savors ‘Pure College Atmosphere’ of Gampel … Other Huskies Notes

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Jeremy Lamb, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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Just spoke to Dick Vitale, who is coming to Storrs for the Louisville-UConn game on Saturday night and -you guessed it – he’s excited.

“Gampel is one of the places I love to come to,” he said, “it’s a pure, college atmosphere. I like it so much better than the big place they play [the XL]. To me, that’s an NBA feel. This is a college feel, baby  – excitement, electricity.”

Vitale, who spoke to both coaches Friday, sees DeAndre Daniels and Amida Brimah as keys to the game. Louisville, he said, has great respect for Daniels’ athleticism and versatility. Brimah needs to be more like the player who had 20 points and eight rebounds against UCF.

“Brimah had that one great game and to me, he’s a key,” Vitale said, “if UConn can get some inside play, I think that will be a key. … I love this guard matchup, Shabazz Napier against Russ Smith.”

Perusing the American Conference, Vitale sees it as the best that could be made of a tumultuous situation.

“They’ve done a great job holding it together,” he said, “Connecticut and Memphis and Cincinnati are great programs. SMU is going to be better – Larry Brown has done a great job of whetting people’s appetite down there.  Central Florida is a potential sleeping giant in sports, you’re starting to see them really get after it. It’s going to take time [to form rivalries], for people in Connecticut to be excited about playing Central Florida, but you’d hope they’d get excited for teams like Memphis, Cincinnati.”

Our main advance for the game and our capsule look at the matchup will be up on our main website soon.

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UConn wants to keep Ryan Boatright’s plans private for now, give him space, so we probably won’t know until Saturday whether he will leave the team to attend services for his cousin, Arin Williams.

(story here)

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Here is the story on Jeremy Lamb from my trip to the Thunder-Grizzlies game the other night.

OKC Coach Scott Brooks: Jeremy Lamb ‘Got Better, Not Bitter’

by Categorized: Jeremy Lamb, UConn men's basketball
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MEMPHIS – Just talked to Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks about UConn’s Jeremy Lamb. The Thunder and Grizzlies will be getting underway shortly at FedEx Forum.

Lamb, who was drafted by the Rockets in 2012, then traded to Oklahoma City just before last season began, had a difficult rookie season, shuttling back and forth between OKC and the D-League in Tulsa. The Thunder opened a spot for him in the off-season, and he has taken it and run with it – averaging 21 minutes, 10 points per game. Rebounding from an off shooting night against Denver, Lamb scored 17, 12 in the second half, in Oklahoma City’s win over Milwaukee this week.

Here’s Scott Brooks:

“He’s getting some good opportunities, but they’re earned. We’re not just giving him minutes because he has good potential. He’s earning the minutes. He works hard, he’s here early, stays late. He gives us another offensive weapon, and we like also that he gives us a two-way weapon. He wants to improve on the defensive end and he has this year. We really rely on him being able to do both, defend and score when given opportunity. He’s a great three-point shooter, which we like.

“It’s always an adjustment for young players in this league. Most are coming from programs where they’re the main guy. And he was coming to a very good team, we won 60 games last year. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities. But as a young player, we say this all the time: ‘You can get better from it or you can get bitter from it.’ He chose the route that we gave him, and we told him, ‘look, you’re going to get better from this, you’re going to keep working hard and keep improving and when you get an opportunity you’re going to be ready, and he’s done a good job of that.”

Hope to have some more after the game.

 

Looking Ahead To Memphis, UConn’s Next Opponent

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, AP Top 25, Jeremy Lamb, Jim Calhoun, UConn men's basketball
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MEMPHIS – Arrived in Elvis’ hometown a day ahead of the Huskies, to check out the Thunder-Grizzlies game tonight at the FedEx Forum.  Jeremy Lamb, the former Husky, is coming into his own off the Oklahoma City bench; hope to have more on that later on.

Meantime, here is a look ahead at the Memphis Tigers, UConn’s opponent here on Thursday night.

*The Tigers are 12-3, ranked 17th in the AP poll. They are 19th in RPI. (UConn is 27th).

*Memphis is 6-1 at home, the loss against Cincinnati in an AAC game.

*The Tigers split two non-conference games with Oklahoma State. The victory, 73-68 on Dec. 1, was the program’s first against a ranked team under Josh Pastner. They have since beaten Louisville, on Jan. 9.

* The Tigers lost by two points to Florida on Dec. 17, two weeks after Florida lost at UConn by one point.

* Shaq Goodwin is averaging 13.2 points and 7.1 rebounds; he is the American’s player of the week. At 6-foot-9 and 242 pounds, he figures to be a tough matchup for the Huskies. Goodwin averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds in two games last week, wins over Louisville and Temple.

* Joe Jackson is Memphis’ entry in the group of elite guards in the league. He averages 14.7 points per game, with 58 assists, 30 turnovers and 29 steals.

* Kuran Iverson, from Northwest Catholic-West Hartford, has played nine games, averaging 9.4 minutes, 2.1 points.  He hasn’t played in the last two games.

* Pastner recently called the AAC “one of the three best leagues in the country” and said it should get as many as six NCAA  bids.

* The Tigers have outrebounded opponents 39.5-35.7

* This game starts the most important week of the regular season for UConn, with defending national champ Louisville coming to Gampel on Saturday night.

* In the AAC’s preseason coaches poll, Louisville coach Rick Pitino voted for UConn, but later said he considered UConn and Memphis “1 and 1-A.” … Louisville was the choice of the league’s other coaches. 

* Memphis and UConn have met once before, an 81-70 Memphis win at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic in November 2007. Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 33 for Memphis, coached at the time by John Calipari, and freshman Derek Rose scored 24.  A.J. Price scored 23 for the Huskies in what was the first coaching contest between Calipari and Jim Calhoun in 17 years.

Former Husky Jeremy Lamb Earning Quality Minutes With The Thunder

by Categorized: Jeremy Lamb, UConn men's basketball
Date:

Jeremy Lamb’s rookie year in the NBA was difficult. Drafted by the Rockets, traded to the Thunder on the eve of the season, he didn’t have a role. He spent much of the time in the D-League.

But Oklahoma City acquired him for a reason – they liked him and had a plan. They traded Kevin Martin in the offseason, and Lamb became part of their plans. Scott Brooks was going to play him about 15 minutes per game.

But Lamb, the former Husky, is coming into his own. He’s earned more time, 20.1 minutes per game, trending upward, and shooting 46 percent from the floor, 41 percent on three-pointers. With his wingspan, he is playing effective defense, too. On Tuesday night, he played 24 minutes and scored 14 points in a win over Sacramento.

Lamb told NewsOk.com’s Anthony Slater:

” My teammates trust me, my coach trusts me. I have no choice but to get more comfortable and get more confident.”

Here’s Slater’s complete post from Nov. 29.

Lamb and the Thunder will be in New York to p lay the Knicks on Christmas Day, in Boston Jan. 24 and Brooklyn Jan. 31.

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

Some of UConn’s New Faces Will Be Playing in the Greater Hartford Pro Am with The Slamm

by Categorized: Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Jeremy Lamb, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, UConn men's basketball
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The Greater Hartford Pro Am is about a month away, and as Mike Anthony reported this week,

it’s headed to Waterbury’s Crosby High.

I chatted for a few minutes with one of the league’s long-time coaches, Steve Sobel of The Slamm, and he was excited to report he expects to have some UConn kids on his roster this summer.

One of the two incoming big men, Kentan Facey  “a high-energy big man from what I’ve seen,” or Amida Brimah “a shot-blocker.” will be with The Slamm, and if there are no eligibility issues, guard Terrence Samuel will be with them, too. Facey and Samuel have been AAU teammates in New York. So UConn fans will get a first look at what these guys are all about. (for clarification, we mean eligibility requirements for the pro-am league.)

“My job is to help get these guys ready for the role their going to play at UConn,” Sobel said. “This is an impressionable time for them.”

Sobel hopes to have former Husky Jeremy Lamb back on his team, when Lamb is in the area. In the past, Continue reading