Category Archives: Terrence Samuel

UConn 81, Iowa State 76: Wrapping Things Up At The Garden

by Categorized: Daniel Hamilton, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

NEW YORK – Well, here the Huskies are. On Jan. 2, when the Huskies were in Dallas and Kevin Ollie took them out to Arlington to tour the site of the Final Four, what did you think? On March 5, when he grabbed the mic at Gampel Pavilion and said he planned to come back in April and raise a banner, what did you think?

Kevin Ollie is no Don Quixote, it turns out. He knew what he was doing, talking about. His belief in his players, even as he was chiding them after tough losses, is paying off in a big way  now, isn’t it?

One win away. The Huskies will play Virginia or Michigan State for the chance to go back to Arlington, for real, on Sunday. Wow. What a ride it is becoming;  the Huskies appear to have caught lightning in a bottle. Can’t put anything past them now. Here’s the game story for the Saturday Courant.

Here’s Kevin Ollie at the podium:

“First I just want to thank all the fans that came out and supported us.  We can really hear them cheering for us, but then we could also feed off them.  We can also draw off their energy.  They just did a wonderful job.  My student?athletes played together, they played hard, and at the end of the game we played 40 full to get this win.  And only thing we’re looking forward to is a Sunday matchup, whoever that might be, and we have to stay together and play another 40 full [minutes] and get the win.”

Coach [Calhoun] just said ‘Congratulations’, and I love Coach and I love him being around.  He’s always a sounding board for me.  If I ever have a question he’s always there to answer it.  He’s like a second father to me.  He really gave me an opportunity to take over this program, and he’s built this program on pride and tradition.  And I just want to continue to keep the torch alive.

                And he’s passed me the baton, and I’m just trying to run with it the best way I know how, and the best way I do know how is to keep our team together, keep us Continue reading

On To The Garden To ‘Take Care Of Business;’ Wrapping Things Up In Buffalo

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Snowing like a son-of-a-gun as we pull out of town on the Amtrak early Sunday morning.

 It’s a good time to be getting out of Buffalo.

It’s especially a good time if you’re the Huskies, who came, saw, survived and advanced to New York.

“We call The Garden our second home,” Ryan Boatright said, “because when we go there, we take care of  business.”

The business will be difficult, no matter who UConn finds in the Sweet 16, but there will be plenty of time to talk about that. Right now, they can bask in the glow of a job well done.

The 77-65 win over Villanova was a truly impressive performance in every way. UConn’s defense kept the Wildcats tossing up three pointers, and the offense got it done. Shabazz Napier, despite the foul trouble, was 9-for-13 and scored 25 points in 25 minutes. “Napier was just awesome,” Jay Wright said.

The 16-1 run while Napier was on the bench was as impressive as anything the Huskies have done all year, and the rebounding and ball-hawking were outstanding, after a tentative first few minutes.

Villanova, on the other side, really turned out to be a paper tiger. If the old Big East were intact they would not have had anywhere near the 29-4 record they did, or the seed they got.  UConn outplayed them, outscored them  68-46 over the last 30 minutes or so.

Due to the lateness of the game, your newspaper has our first version of the game story, with no quotes. The final version went online about 2 a.m. – here it is.

Now, on to Kevin Ollie at the podium.

“Great game by our guys.  They showed some resiliency.  They showed toughness, and they just played with a will. When Shabazz went out, guys stepped up, and that’s what a team is all about.  Then in the second half, he scored 21 points for us. But everybody was strong.  Everybody rebounded the basketball, and we just played together.  It was a gutty win. We’re going to the Garden.  We just love to plant seeds.  We’re going to keep planting seeds there.  We’re going to keep playing together and keep caring for each other.”

“I’ve seen a lot.  I’ve seen us being great for three.  When we called great for three, it’s not enough to go two slots.  We have to go the third slot.  They was penetrating and going out and getting easy threes.  So we wanted to run them off the three?point line.
“I think when Shabazz got his foul, his second foul, we started really turning up the defense another notch with him on the bench.  It’s nothing against Shabazz, it was just we got to take this moment.  The game is right now.
I think once they took Shabazz out on this last play and he hit three and was up nine, we went on a 16?1 run.  It was just a great run by us with our leader on the bench.  But that just shows you what kind of team we’re made out of.
“Everybody talks about we’re not deep, we’re not this, we’re not that, but we’ve got heart.  Every guy that comes in on the court, they stay positive, and they stay productive.
I’m going to keep saying the same thing.  That’s what our guys do.  That’s how we’re built.  We’re UConn made.  We’re UConn made through and through.  And every day we come out there and play with that toughness and play with that heart.”

 

“[Napier’s] just tough?minded.  A lot of things he’s been through in life made him that way.  His mother Carmen is one of the toughest ladies around, and he’ll be the first to say that, how he was raised and what she had to do to keep their home together, and I think he gets that toughness from her.
“He goes out there and plays.  I told you on many occasions he does whatever we need to win.  If that’s scoring a scoop shot, that’s being my unpaid coach for 12 minutes, you know, that’s what he does.”

“We’ve been telling Terrence [Samuel] and all of our guys, you’ve got to recover quickly.  For me, I’ve got to be positive over there because they’re looking at me, and I have to have the right body language when he makes a mistake. That’s what I try to do with Terrence.  He’s going to be a great player for us.  He’s maturing right now.  Like I told him, once he stepped on the free?throw line the last game, he’s not no freshman no more.  You’re all sophomores.  This is the big stage, and they’re stepping up and playing wonderful basketball.”
“Things you don’t see.  I keep telling you.  They work hard in practice.  Kentan [Facey's] working hard.  You don’t see it, but he’s working hard.  All our guys have that passion and that want to get better.  We tell our guys, every time you step on the court, Try to do something better.
Terrence is maturing, and he’s a great competitor, but he’s also a great teammate.  He’s going to be a great basketball player for us and a great student?athlete for the University of Connecticut.”

“I just explain, we plant seeds.  We plant seeds every day in practice.  Sometimes you’re not going to see them growing the first day or first two days, but sooner or later, they’re going to grow.  That’s what they do each and every day.”
“Lasan [Kromah] has been working hard.  He does different things for us to win.  You know, against Saint Joe’s, he played tremendous defense on Galloway that last possession.  We just want our guys to be solid, just continue to play their role, be solid, and just contribute in so many different ways.”
“You don’t have to be a great player all the time, but you can always be a great teammate.  That’s what we try to strive for all our guys to be great teammates on and off the basketball court.”

“[When Shabazz went out], I just believed in my team.  I’m hurting for him because I don’t want him coming out of the game.  But like they just said, we’ve been hurting a lot, but we stayed here.  We’re hurting, but we’re still here.  That’s our motto.  We’re going to be here.  We’re going to stand up.  We’re going to say I’m present.
If Shabazz is on the bench, we’ve got to keep going forward for him, and we got to uphold each other.  I think that’s what we did.  Then Shabazz got back in.  I knew he’s a tough player.  He’s going to get back in there, and that’s what he did, and he led us to victory. “
“He was just unbelievable that second half.  You know, 21 points, crucial threes, dagger threes.  You know, it looked like he was 30 feet out and just making them with all the utmost confidence in the world.  Great game by him.
But it was a great thing, when he’s on the bench, our other players can step up and provide a great spark for us.”

“I just want to keep riding Uncle Mo.  That’s the momentum.  Wherever it takes us, it’s going to take us.
We got to stay together as a team.  We can’t get drunk off success.  We got to make sure we understand we go back to work on Monday.  Give the kids the day off and then go back to work.  We see who we’re playing, and we’ve got to prepare.  That’s what we need to do, and whatever happens is going to happen.
We’re going to write our own story.  We’re not going to let anybody write it for us.  We’re going to continue to learn and grow and appreciate this journey that we’re on.”

****

Here is Jeff Jacobs take on the game, and pics from Steve Dunn.

****

Some player quotes, from the podium and the locker room, which was fun to work at 1 a.m..

From Shabazz Napier

On his injury:   I was trying to get open for the ball, and I think it was Hilliard was playing me aggressively.  I just tried to make a move, and he kind of kicked me or kneed me in my shin area.  The pain was just excruciating.  I couldn’t really put pressure on it.
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
Date:

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.

                                                                                   *****

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

UConn 89, St. Joseph’s 81 (OT) Wrapping Things Up At First Niagara

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Harvard Basketball, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, NCAA, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

First things first – UConn will play Villanova on Saturday in the late game at Buffalo. Syracuse vs. Dayton is at 7:10, Huskies-Wildcats will be after the conclusion, or about 9:30 p.m.

BUFFALO, N.Y – A reporter from Buffalo asked Phil Martelli if he ever stopped to think what a great basketball game he was involved in.

“I appreciate that,” Martelli said, “and if I worked for the network and I could care about viewership, I’d be cool about that. But it wasn’t so great.”

Reminds me once that the Raiders lost a close game on Monday Night Football, and after ward, Howard Cosell approached John Madden and said, “John, you gave us a great show …”

Madden responded, “A great show? A great show? That’s a game we just lost. Laverne and Shirley – that’s a show.”

The point being, the NCAA Tournament is filled with great games, games like Dayton-Ohio State and UConn-St. Joseph played at First Niagara on Thursday. The local folks got a great show for their money.

But those who participate are all about the winning and the losing, because a loss and it ends the season, a career if you are a senior.

“When you work hard for something and it goes down the drain, that saddens me,” Shabazz Napier said, after the Huskies finally outlasted the Hawks in OT. “I’m glad I came out on the other end of it. I just wanted to go [to St. Joe’s seniors] and show them my respect.”

Nice gesture by Napier, and a nice snapshot of what the NCAA Tournament is about. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional and Thursday in Buffalo was a good day, unless you were part of the Ohio State or St. Joseph camp. … Here is the game story for the Friday Courant.

Now, about the Huskies … They were outplayed pretty badly for much of the game, and they were outworked for rebounds and loose balls much of the time. But St. Joe’s had no bench, got into foul trouble and the players were out of gas. UConn was relentless down the stretch and in OT, and  earned the win.

“They’re not a 10 seed, and I don’t think we’re a 7 seed,” Kevin Ollie said. “But at the end of the day it’s about planting seeds …”

Yep, new Ollie-ism.

Here’s more of the coach’s take at the podium:

“First of all, I thought it was a great game by both teams.  Unfortunately, someone had to lose.  I’m just glad we came out on top.
The guys right here [Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels], they played hard.  They played with grit.  They played with grind.  At the end of the day, we wanted to outwork our opponent.  It took a little longer than I thought, but fortunately, we got it done at the end.
We started making plays.  It’s all on my players, and I thank them for having a great game for this great university.

“… It was a great win.  It’s for the university.  I love this university.  Those players right there, that’s what kept this university alive.  They could have transferred.  They could have done anything.
Like I said, they have even now faith.  Even now we’re going through a dark time, we’re Continue reading

Huskies ‘Back Where We Belong,’ Notes, Quotes, Thoughts from Selection Sunday at Gampel

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Kevin Ollie, Larry Brown, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

 

STORRS – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you’re a college basketball player. So that’s really what it was like around Gampel Pavilion a year ago, around the men’s program, at least. It was as if the holidays were cancelled.

The Huskies waited two years to unwrap their presents, so what did it matter that a No. 7 seed, a trip to balmy Buffalo and a matchup against a tough Saint Joseph’s team was stuffed in their stocking? It’s a “precious gift,” Kevin Ollie said.

So the Huskies did not come out of the bunker whining about seeding, respect. They were surprised at the way the American Conference got hosed, and felt badly for SMU, a team and coach they respect a great deal. But they embraced their own opportunity, as well they should.

Lots of content tonight and in the Monday Courant and on Courant.com and on FoxCT. You can the main story here, and Jeff Jacobs’ take here. This is Paul Doyle’s national overview.

And, of course, The Bracket.

 

Now, in their own words, here’s the stream of consciousness from Kevin Ollie and the players.

Ollie’s take:

“I’m happy with the seeding. You always want to get a [higher] seeding but I’m happy for our team. This is their prize for having a great season, for having a great postseason in the tournament down in Memphis.  Now we got to see what we’re going to do with our prize, and hopefully we can go deep in  this tournament.

“It’s been a great journey. There were some dark days there, but everybody in life is going to have dark days. I’m just so proud of the guys how they’re staying together and planting seeds. We just keep trying to do that. I was proud of the guys this week and I thought we got better from that Louisville game last week to the last three games that we played. I’m excited for this tournament, I’m excited for them. We’re back where we belong.

“I don’t know what  [the selection committee] criteria is, I never know. It’s always a little different every year. I feel bad for Larry Brown, not making the tournament. But I know him, and he’s working right now, getting his team ready for next year. They’ll probably be right back in it.

“Louisville, fourth seed, I mean,  you know, that team beat us three times. I think they’re one of the best teams in the country. But seeding doesn’t matter, it’s about what you do on the floor. Hopefully we can go to Buffalo and prove ourselves and hopefully get that first game and we could be playing an old Big East foe [Villanova] if we can get past St. Joe’s.

“I was getting a little worried. Back two years ago, we were like the first one picked. Man, we had to wait a little longer this time. But it was great, knowing what these kids went through last year, just to see your name up there.  Going to Buffalo. Warde [Manuel] was back there, I know he had a couple of smiles on his face. It’s going to be an exciting time for these guys and I just can’t wait to step on the court on Thursday and take care of this precious gift we got. I hope they understand that.

“I know Phil Martelli. He plays solid basketball, a nice tempo game. They’re an older group. They have almost five guys in double figures, the fifth guy is like nine points, and Langston Galloway is a great player. He’s shooting about 45 percent from the three-point line and they make almost seven threes a game. But they’re going to play calculated basketball, Phil’s been there for a long time, 300 plus wins there, and it’s going to be a challenge for us to get past them. But we’re ready for it.

“[SJU's big man Halil Kanacevic] It’s a different look, but we’ve played teams like that. Continue reading

Huskies Work Off The Tough Loss … Notes, Quotes From Practice

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, AP Top 25, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Russ Smith, Sean Kilpatrick, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

 

STORRS – The Huskies practiced long and hard on Monday afternoon, and Kevin Ollie was in a good mood when it was done.

“I love this postseason,” he said, “I love this team. I love the way they bounced back today. We went a little longer and they responded. I was proud of them today.”

The Huskies were trying to work off the lingering “bad taste” of the 33-point loss at Louisville on Saturday. They’re heading to Memphis for the first American Athletic Conference Tournament, and start off as the No. 4 seed, playing the host school on Thursday night.

“It’s a new day,” Ollie said. “It’s our fourth season. We had preseason, out-of-conference and conference. Now this is our fourth season, everybody is zero-and-zero. We had a great season, 24 wins, seven losses is a great accomplishment and a testament to how hard they played.”

UConn has beaten Memphis twice this season, by 10 points at Memphis’ Fed Ex Forum, where the Tigers have since won nine in a row, and at the XL Center in a grueling OT game on Feb. 15. “Those were two totally different games,” said Ollie.

The Fourth Season, unlike the first three, leaves no room for bouncing back. One loss in Memphis, and the Huskies come home. One loss in the NCAA Tournament which lies beyond and they come for good.

 

“The way I explained it to [the younger players],” Shabazz Napier said, “when you’re growing up and you’re on the playground – five on five, there are about 20 people waiting. If you lose that game, you’re not getting back on the court. Think about that, you want to stay on the court as long as possible. If you lose that game, you get to stay home and watch on TV and nobody wants that feeling.”

Ollie: “There is no reason not to believe. These guys got the mindset they can get it done. I know these guys are hungry for that. They thought they should be a postseason team last year, they couldn’t go, this is a new year.”

*****

Jim Calhoun, who made the trip to Louisville and say behind the UConn bench, offered some advice to his successor. “If you coach long enough you’re going to go through a game like that,” Ollie said, “that’s what The Big Kahuna told me today.”
Calhoun will be sharing his thoughts on local TV on Tuesday. He will be the guest co-host on Continue reading

UConn vs. Louisville: Setting The Scene At YUM! Center

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, AP Top 25, DeAndre Daniels, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, NCAA, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
Date:

LOUISVILLE – Looking out on the court at KFC YUM! Center, where the Huskies are out shooting about 45 minutes before the game. We set the scene:

Louisville’s Senior Day ceremonies will start about 1:45. The game is scheduled to tip at 2:06 p.m. on CBS. There’s a football press conference going on down the hall.

Anticipating the regular UConn lineup – Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah and Amida Brimah.

Will be interesting to see how Kevin Ollie manages his rotation today. Daniels and Boatright have been spending more time on the bench the last few games, Niels Giffey has been out there more and, against Rutgers, got off a few more starts. Terrence Samuel has been trusted with more quality minutes, too. … Wonder of Tyler Olander will play more today.

The Huskies are trying to get the third seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, and will need to win today to do that. Both teams are ranked in the AP Poll, UConn No. 19, Louisville No. 11. UConn, in the most recent RPI rankings released by the NCAA, is 29th,

 

The refs for today are Joe DeRosa, Tom Eades and Mike Sanzere.

Lot of scouts here today, as there were when these teams played at Storrs on Jan. 18. The Lakers, Spurs, Bulls, T-Wolves, Pacers and Nets have seats reserved for their talent assessors.

Louisville’s seven-game winning streak over UConn in the regular season is the longest such Continue reading

UConn 51, Cincinnati 45: Wrapping Things Up At XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, AP Top 25, Big East, DeAndre Daniels, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Phil Nolan, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
Date:

HARTFORD  – Grrrrrrr. As in grind, grit, gutting it out. All those G-words applied to UConn’s win over Cincinnati, a physical game, a guy thing. The Huskies have proven their mental toughness, here they showed mental and physical toughness (for the most part).

I’m not into style points or worrying about who plays how many minutes or the various stats at this time of year. You just need to put wins in the bank, and especially against a ranked, first-place team like Cincy, the Huskies need to win any which way they could.

They got it done. They’re 23-6. You know, things just aren’t that bad. Here’s the game story for the Sunday Courant.

 Raspy voice and all, here is the full 10 minutes of Kevin Ollie, unplugged:

“Great game by us, not offensively, but defensively, which is what we hang our hats on. I told the guys, there are going to be droughts in the game, but you can’t have droughts on defense in your energy or effort. If you watched the game, there were no let-ups.

… I pretty much told them it was going to be 90 percent punches and 10 percent plays. There weren’t going to be a lot of X’s and O’s, there were going to be a lot of punches Continue reading

UConn vs. Cincy; Notes, Quotes, Thoughts From Practice

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, AP Top 25, Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, Rodney Purvis, Ryan Boatright, Sean Kilpatrick, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

STORRS – Here are some notes and quotes from UConn’s post-practice interview opportunities Friday. Looks again like everyone is healthy going in.

And, just passing it along, there are tickets available for UConn-Cincinnati, which statrs at noon at XL. …

Kevin Ollie was pretty hoarse, but he gave us a few minutes. Here are some of his thoughts:  

 “Experience is key. We’ve got some veteran guys and that experience plays a part, but at the end of the day this game is going to come down to rebounding and who wants it most.

You know we’re going to have droughts scoring, and they’re going to have droughts. Who can sustain it. It’s not going to be a 90-point game, we know that. During those droughts, can you stop the  other team? Can you rebound? Hopefully we can stay solid. Last game we just couldn’t get over that hump.

On a littlle playing zone

“Just something to get them out of rhythm. I know they didn’t scout it. Just give the opponent something to scout again.

“… When you get in conference play, everybody knows what you’re running, you’re going to have to go to third and fourth options. Seniors and juniors pretty much know your system, they’re not  running around guessing. That’s a luxury we have with one of the best point guards in the nation, we got him. And he knows exactly what I want each and every play. I can draw a play up and he runs it perfectly, and if guys mess up he gets them in the right place.

On seniors

Tyler [Olander] hadn’t played significant minutes since I don’t know when, but he played 21 minutes, set great screens. Niels [Giffey]  is my rock, you how much I love him, how much unselfishness he’s got.

The importance of this game

We need to win. We’ve got our own struggles to deal with. We’re not worrying about the Continue reading

UConn 83, South Florida 40: Wrapping Things Up From XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Terrence Samuel, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
Date:

HARTFORD – Okay, well there’s just not much to say about this game. UConn dominated it in every way, inside and out, start to finish.

It’s what UConn is supposed to do with opponents like South Florida, which was missing its best player, Anthony Collins, but, of course, it doesn’t always work that way. If any win is a good win, any blowout is certainly a good blowout – especially in February. This saved some wear and tear on Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.

So this one’s in the books. Memphis next.

Kevin Ollie’s take:

First, I want to give my condolences to the Hurley family. Doc Hurley was a great man. My wife [Stephanie, a nurse] was taking care of him over at St. Francis and he was supposed to come to the Memphis game [Saturday]. One of his requests was to get a new Husky sweatshirt with the new logo on it. I didn’t a chance to give him that.  “I’m going to miss him a lot, miss seeing him coming out of that tunnel and seeing him at all the games. He’s a great man and he will be missed.”

 

It was a great game. We came out and established ourselves early. Amida (Brimah) had two blocks and five points in the first two minutes and a couple of great passes. And we just kept it rolling. We packed the paint in. Everybody who stepped on the court got a basket. We had 24 assists on 28 made field goals. That’s amazing. And we out-rebounded them again.

I thought our defense has been great the last four games. I think we’ve been holding guys to a combined 33 percent. We’ve just got to keep this up….I want to keep this momentum going. I want to make sure we play defense. I just tell the guys to bring their locks. That’s kind of our motto right now. We want to be on lockdown defense. Hopefully guys are buying in. I’ve seen how it has transferred in practice over to the games. They’re following the game plan and details, and that’s what I love to see.

It’s a collective group effort. When we play defense we want 10 eyes on the ball handler, we wanted to load up, to pack the paint. And we wanted them to shoot threes. We didn’t want to give them layups. They just stayed to the game plan, and that’s what we try to do and I’m real proud of my guys.”

I enjoyed seeing Terrence [Samuel] out there running the show. Coach [Glen] Miller has been doing a great job with our big guys, getting them where they’re doing the same Continue reading