NEW YORK – We are looking live at the Mecca of Basketball, the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. NCAA Sweet 16.
It has been home of some of the greatest events of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and tonight it is home for UConn men’s basketball. The Huskies and Iowa State are about 45 minutes away, and we set the scene. The players had a shoot-around here earlier today, and were just on the floor warming up. They’re back in the locker room now.
The UConn Pep Band is making its way into the arena and to their seats, to a round of applause
I was in the city today, but I’m told trains from New Haven on into Grand Central were packed and loud. The arena is teeming with New York media big wigs – or, to quote Mel Brook’s line from The Producers, “the toast of society is burning tonight.” I passed Jim Calhoun and John Thompson on the way to my courtside seat.
Thanks to Joe D. for having me on the WTIC-AMm 1080 pregame show, always a pleasure.
The Huskies will stay with the lineup they’ve used since March 13: Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Continue reading
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
Paul Doyle here, checking in from Madison Square Garden. The Big East handed out conference awards tonight and Farmington native Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third year in a row. Abromaits missed the entire season with a torn ACL, so he was surprised by the award.
“It was definitely a little bit surprising, considering no basketball played this year,” Abromaitis said. “I guess they wanted to reward me again. I’m glad they did. I’m happy to win it.”
Abromaitis said his adjustment from playing to watching was not easy. He shed a few tears on senior night and felt out of sorts soon after tearing his knee in November.
Steadily, though, he took on the role of leader and de facto coach for the young Notre Dame team. Coach Mike Brey said throughout the season that Abromaitis was a liaison between the coaching staff and the players.
“It wasn’t easy because you don’t want to go too far in the coaching line where it changes your relationship with the guys on the team,” Abromaitis said. “I’ve kind of stayed more in the player role, kind of a consultant for the coach. Coach Brey and I have had a lot of conversations over the year about how guys are feeling, what I’m seeing, little things like that. It’s helped to keep me in the look.”
And with Notre Dame (21-10, 13-5 in the Big East) have surprising success, Abromaitis had an easier time accepting his injury.
“I think the good part of it is that our team has succeeded and I’ve still been a big part of it,” Abromaitis said. “I’ve shared in the success with them and that’s definitely helped out a lot, even though it has been difficult not being out there.”