Category Archives: Kemba Walker

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

Louisville 81, UConn 48: Wrapping Things Up at YUM! Center

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, DeAndre Daniels, Kemba Walker, Kevin Ollie, Rick Pitino, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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LOUISVILLE  – One thing UConn has never been under Kevin Ollie is embarrassed. Shabazz Napier threw that word out post-game, and if I remember right it was the first time I remember a UConn player saying it since the last loss here, 80-59, in 2012.

It was apt, too. This was an embarrassing loss. UConn was out run, outhustled, outmuscled, and, by Ollie’s admission, out-coached (see below). Louisville is playing its best basketball at the right time of the season, as Rick Pitino’s teams often do.

The Huskies are not. Really, the last five games – the loss to SMU, the come-from-behind win at lowly South Florida, the ugly win over Cincinnati, the too-close-for-comfort win against Rutgers and this 81-48 debacle at Louisville do not constitute an impressive, end-of-the-season body of work. Though, at 24-7, 12-6 in the league, UConn’s season must be considered a good one. But it’s hard to take the Huskies seriously as a title contender when they lose like this, and go 1-5 against the top three teams in their league.

Really, same old stories – no inside game, no crisp passing game against a quality zone defense, too many ill-advised shots. Like in the SMU game, UConn shot less than 30 percent.

Ollie, who spoke for about 3 ½ minutes, was pretty blunt.

 Here you go, in his own words:

“Louisville took advantage of everything we did, and I’m the first one, I’m on the front line. We weren’t ready to play. Louisville took advantage of everything. Coach Pitino coached a hell of a team and those players played. They played like champions and we didn’t. I told the guys if we play like that, then we have two games [left] in the season and that’s it.

I didn’t see anything like this coming, and I’m glad it came because now we know how tough we have to play to be a champion. Louisville is a champion. We weren’t tough Continue reading

Shabazz Napier Is On Bob Cousy Award ‘Watch List’

by Categorized: Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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Shabazz Napier is among the 45 point guards in the country to make the Bob Cousy Award “Watch List.”

The Cousy Award is presented to the nation’s top point guard in conjunction with the Hall of Fame in Springfield. The list will be cut to 20 in February, then to five in March and a winner chosen at the end of the season. Kemba Walker won the award in 2011.

Napier did not make the first cut last year, which seemed a curious at the time. This year, if he stays healthy and has the solid senior year everyone is expecting, he figures to be in the running down to the end.

Kris Dunn, from New London High, a sophomore at Providence, also made the list. Here is the entire 45, several of whom are on t he Huskies’ AAC and non-conference schedule this season:

Continue reading

Phil Nolan Bigger, Leon Tolksdorf Trimmer, Terrence Samuel Excited … Notes, Quotes from Pick-Up Action at Gampel Pavilion

by Categorized: Kemba Walker, Kentan Facey, Leon Tolksdorf, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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STORRS – Ventured up to Gampel for some pick-up game action, the players getting together for about an hour with special guest Kemba Walker. The fall semester has just begun, here are some notes and quotes …

*Two of the sophomores have come back looking like completely different players. When Leon Tolksdorf came out on the court, it was worth a double-take. After a summer back home, playing with Germany’s under-20 national team, he’s lost about 15 pounds and really looks chiseled at 6-foot-8 and about 220.

“I put on 10 pounds of muscle last year,” he said, “and I decided to reduce my body fat. I do feel quicker, and I want to be able to play the three as well as the four.”

Tolksdorf, who was captain of his team, played in 25 games, averaging 22 minutes, 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. “It was great to get that game experience again after not playing much last year,” he said.

Going into Year 2 at UConn, Tolksdorf feels more confident, better prepared. The same is true for Phil Nolan, who is going in the other direction on the scale.

“I’m continuing to hit the weight room and put on weight,” he said. “That’s the goal. … and I grew an inch. I’m 6-10 now.”

Nolan came on late last season, and played with the East Coast All-Stars in the Four Nations Cup in Estonia in July.

“I learned a lot of new things,” he said, “I learned how they play international basketball. They play a little dirty – a lot of elbow.” Nolan is up to about 216 pounds, about 15 more than last year, and he wants to get to 225 by the start of the season.

“The coaches have been staying on me, telling me they expect a lot of me this year,” said Nolan, who figures to push for a starting job. “If I can get to 225, I can do some special things. I’m ready.”

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*Freshman Terrence Samuel, after filling the NCAA academic requirements, is enrolled and on campus and found himself playing with Kemba Walker, who was on campus working out Tuesday. “He’s fast … but he’s cool,” Samuel said

Samuel explained that the NCAA had not accepted a math class he had taken during his time Continue reading

Catching Up With Husky Guards Jerome Dyson, A.J. Price, Kemba Walker

by Categorized: Jerome Dyson, Kemba Walker, UConn men's basketball
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My colleague Mike Anthony was in Waterbury for the Greater Hartford Pro Am playoff action this weekend, where the Doc Hurley team, filled with ex-Huskies, advanced in the playoffs. Mike caught up with three UConn guards …

Jerome Dyson, 26, who finished the 2011-12 season in the NBA with the Hornets, played last season in Israel, scoring 20.4 points per game for Haspoel Holon.  He spent part of this summer with Charlotte’s summer league team, averaging 11.5 points,. 4.3 assists over 24.8 minutes per game.

From JD:

“I’m Just waiting right now. I’m trying to figure it out. My agent is trying to see about guaranteed money [from an NBA team] and I’m just waiting it out. I’m in no rush right now. My agent is just trying to see what NBA teams are interested and which ones can give me guaranteed money. That would give me a feel for who is really interested in me. I’ll probably know in another week or two.

“I loved it [playing in Israel].It’s all Americanized over there. People hear what they hear on the news, this and that, but it’s totally different. I never felt in danger over there and I had a great time. The league is very good. There are five or six Americans on every team.”

A.J. Price, 26, spent the season with the Wizards, backing up John Wall and playing with Emeka Okafor, who had a solid year. He played 22.4 minutes per game, averaging 7.7 points. Now he’s a free agent:

From AJP:

I’m just waiting. I’ll see what [my agent] can work out and if he can’t work anything out I’ll go overseas. The show must go on. The show must go on. The kids still have to eat and I still have to provide [he has one-year-old daughter, Alissa]. Any opportunity to make a living playing basketball is a blessing in itself, no matter where it is, whether it’s overseas or in the NBA.

So far, it’s been basically a dream come true, what you think about and what you want to do as Continue reading

Kentan Facey, Amida Brimah Debut In Pro Am … Other Notes and Quotes

by Categorized: Amida Brimah, Kemba Walker, Kentan Facey, UConn men's basketball
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WATERBURY – Had the chance to see Kentan Facey and Amida Brimah play in the Greater Hartford Pro- Am on a steamy Saturday afternoon at Crosby High.

A few thoughts, notes and quotes …

Both are slender, and raw offensively, but both are very active and athletic. Facey hit the floor for a loose ball, and dove to save another from going out of bounds. He scored eight points, though his team, Pauly Chute Slamm, lost 111-104 to All Faith. Slamm coach Steve Sobel, who has had DeAndre Daniels on his team, saw some similarities.

“He reminds me of Daniels in terms of the rawness and development,” Sobel said. “He’s got to keep working to raise his basketball IQ. He’s going to be a good offensive rebounder. He’s a good player for UConn’s system.”

Facey is going to work on rebounding, running the floor and going strong to the basket, which will be a challenge against some of the older, bulkier players in the GHPA.

“It was a good experience,” said Facey, 6-9, who grew up in Jamaica and played at Long Island Lutheran. “I’m playing against bigger, older guys, they’re more physical, more experienced. That’s going to be a major part it for me. I have to adapt to that and it will carry right into the season.”

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Brimah had 11 points and eight rebounds for Team Kirks (AKA Kemba’s All-Stars), who beat Continue reading

Facts and Figures: How Much Former Huskies Are Earning In The NBA [collegespun.com]

by Categorized: Caron Butler, Jeremy Lamb, Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Rudy Gay, UConn men's basketball
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Last weekend, the website Collegespun.com posted some interesting research about various major college basketball programs and the money their players have gone on to earn in the NBA. UConn, which currently has 13 players who earned more than $76 million this past season, ranks second on the list. Duke’s players earned $77.2 million, but there are five more, 18 of them.

Rudy Gay ($16.4 million) and Emeka Okafor ($13.5) led Huskies in the salary column.

Anyway, here is a link to collegespun’s piece.

This is a list of UConn players in the NBA and their current salaries. Imagine this might spur some Continue reading

For Rodney Purvis, Coming To UConn was a Matter of ‘Style’

by Categorized: Jim Calhoun, Kemba Walker, Kevin Ollie, Rodney Purvis, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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Perhaps there used to be a stigma attached to college basketball players who transferred, the perception that there must be some problem. But with more than 400 transfers this year moving around this year alone, it would be counterproductive for schools to think that way nowadays.

They can’t all have attitude problems.

Rodney Purvis, one of the top guards in the Class of 2012, left NC State, he says, not because he was unhappy with playing time or any of the coaches or the school. He averaged 25 minutes a game, but felt he just didn’t fit in with their style of play. He transferred to UConn on April 5.

“I didn’t fit as far as the offense,” Purvis said Thursday, after a workout. “Even the coaches told me, ‘our offense is really for guys who catch and shoot.’ I had to get somewhere where I could play my game, and that’s attacking, having fun, playing in transition. It was the style of play, that’s all.”

“It was really hard for anybody to find a role on that team. We had a lot of really good guys and it was hard Continue reading

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

Report: UConn Lands Another New York Guard: Terrence Samuel [Coast2Coast]

by Categorized: Kemba Walker, UConn men's basketball
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The Huskies have their second commitment from the Class of 2013. Terrence Samuel, a 6-foot-3 guard from South Shore High in Brooklyn gave UConn a verbal commit on Sunday, first reported by Coast2Coast Hoops. on Sunday night.

Samuel visited UConn on Aug. 24, after rescheduling his original unofficial visit. He is considered a Continue reading