Category Archives: Tyler Olander

UConn vs. Michigan State: Setting The Scene at The Garden

by Categorized: Andre Drummond, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, NCAA, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

NEW YORK – The Huskies and Spartans are on the floor, the start of the NCAA East Regional final is about 25 minutes away.

Let’s set the scene at Madison Square Garden. Anna Negron has just belted out the anthem, impressively one might add.

Kevin Ollie’s featuring a light gray suit today.

UConn’s staying with the lineup it has been using – Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, Phil Nolan and Niels Giffey.

You know Lasan Kromah and Amida Brimah will be off the bench early, Terrence Samuel will get in  there for a spark. One wonders if Tyler Olander, who has played only three minutes in the tournament, gets some action today against this big Spartan line. He played well against MSU in Germany.

Michigan State starts Adreian Payne, Brandon Dawson, Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Denzel  Valentine, no surprises.

Your refs: Mike Roberts, Tom Eades, John Higgins.

Andre Drummond is in the house, watching his former teammates. Imagine if he were on this team as a junior? Anyway, he was down behind the UConn bench chatting with Jim Calhoun.

Classic matchup today, not much to be said that isn’t already up on our website. UConn has the better backcourt, Michigan State the stronger front court. Let it fly.

UConn vs. Louisville: One More Time, Setting The Scene in Memphis

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, Phil Nolan, Rick Pitino, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

MEMPHIS – Looking live at the FedEx Arena, the Huskies and Cardinals go for the American Athletic Conference title in about half an hour. Let’s set the scene:

As always, a steady stream of well-wishers come down to say hello to Jim Calhoun, seated to my right, or ask for a picture. … The coach likes what he’s seen, and he is upbeat, let’s put it that way.

Anticipating same lineup for UConn: Niels Giffey, Phil Nolan, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels.

Tyler Olander is here, out on the floor with his teammates, so he’s apparently recovered sufficiently from his stomach bug.

Your refs: Ted Valentine, Gerry Pollard, Steve Olson.

I’m guessing there will be maybe 7-8,000 here when all is said and done. Louisville is 385 miles away, and there were a lot of red-clad tourists out on Beale Street today, so there will be more pro-Cardinal noise here.

At the tail end of last night’s game, the refs did review the Sean Kilpatrick miss, but didn’t see anything to change the ruling.

Thanks to Joe D. for having me on his pregame show. Hope you-all gave a listen.

After last night’s game, Kevin Ollie was asked about his summer with the Celtics in 1999, when Rick Pitino cut him.

“Rick – actually I grew so much with Rick that summer,” he said, “so I became a better point guard with him and he came to the decision where he had to let me go but when you have a set?back like that it just gets you ready for another opportunity.  It’s nothing against Rick, I love Rick to death.  He’s a Hall of Fame coach, he’s a great coach, a good friend of mine and I could learn a lot from Rick Pitino.”

Here is a Selection Sunday primer we did for the Sunday Courant.

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

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

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

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

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


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 69, Rutgers 63: Wrapping Things Up At Gampel

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Kevin Ollie, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

STORRS – Emotional night at Gampel, which we all were expecting. A tough game against Rutgers, which we were not.

Give the Scarlet Knights credit, they did not come to be UConn-fodder. They shot well, out-rebounded the Huskies and had a chance to win until the final minutes.

It’s been a little under the radar, but UConn, after an excellent stretch of rebounding through the middle of the season, is back to getting out-muscled. That’s five of the last six games they’ve been out-rebounded, and the one game they had the edge it was not significant, they lost to SMU.

Their shooting was better in this game, 25-for-53 and 12-for-25 on three-point attempts. But Rutgers, which started 1-for-8 and finished 3-for-14, made 20 of 33 shots in between.

Here is our game story for the Thursday Courant.

Some of Kevin Ollie’s postgame thoughts:

“I want to thank my seniors for providing me with loyalty and being faithful to this program. They could have left. They could’ve transferred. They could’ve done a lot of things. But they said ‘We’re going to stay through the tough times and we’re going to get back to where we belong.’

They kept this program alive. I owe them a lot. I can never repay them for what they gave me – a chance to coach them. It’s just been a blessing.

For Niels (Giffey) to get his career-high [in points] and for all the seniors who played on Continue reading

UConn vs. Rutgers: Setting The Senior Night Scene At Gampel

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

STORRS – Looking live at Gampel Pavilion, the start of Senior Night Festivities about 15 minutes away, the start of the Huskies game against Rutgers about 40 minutes away. Both have been on the floor shooting, the UConn Pep Band is killing it.

… Hearing the seniors will start for UConn tonight – meaning Niels Giffey, Lasan Kromah, Tyler Olander and Shabazz Napier, with DeAndre Daniels.

It would be just a few minutes, of course, before Ryan Boatright and Amida Brimah check in for Giffey and Olander.

Your officials tonight: Bryan Kersey, John Gaffney, Brian O’Connell.

UConn has made the live stream of the festivities free for all on

Houston clinched the sixth seed in the AAC Tournament, so if the Huskies can move up to No. 3 they would play the Cougars in the first game.

Here is our story from the Wednesday Courant, and our capsule look at the matchup.

Jeff Jacobs and I will be tweeting all evening from  the festivities, so follow us on Twitter @AmoreCourant and @JacobsCourant.

Updated: How To Watch Senior Night Festivities; No Subscription Needed

by Categorized: Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

Just a quick note from UConn … Here is the link to see the Senior Night festivities beginning at 6:35 p.m.

Note: At 5 p.m., UConn announced the live streaming on will be free, no subscription needed..

There will also be video available on YouTube, roughly by halftime.

Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah will be honored.


Kevin Ollie On The Class of 2014: ‘We Needed Those Guys To Stay’

by Categorized: Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

STORRS – Here are Kevin Ollie’s thoughts on the seniors who will be honored before UConn’s game vs. Rutgers on Wednesday night at Gampel.

Their loyalty, what they showed staying with the program through adversity, the character, the leadership they showed when we were in a difficult time. It means a lot to me, and, I can’t speak for Coach Calhoun but I’m sure he has the same sentiment.

We needed those guys to stay, and they stuck with us. They won a national championship, two NCAA tournaments, 95 wins in their career and a few more to go, if they could that century mark it would be terrific.

It’s been a pleasure to be around them. I came in t he same time they came in, I was kind of a freshman in the [coaching] profession. All of us have grown together.

Adversity always molds you. The character you show in those times is going to mold you, you’re probably not going to see the benefits til after their career here, when life hits you. How to continue to stay with it and not give in, understand that you have to embrace pain. There was a lot of pain around here, but everybody who was in this program embraced it and then success came.

They’re the beneficiaries. Leadership is not just in words, they showed it with their actions and these  other guys are better leaders for it, too

I think Tyler [Olander] has learned since his four years being here, national champions, starting, not playing a lot, going through the mistakes on and off the basketball court. … I think Tyler would be a hell of a coach. I observe everything. I’m a point guard so I observe everything. The way he’s treating the other guys that are pretty much taking his minutes – I’ve been in that role before – and for him to embrace them and teach them the little nuances of the game has been great.

Niels [Giffey] is my rock, I tell you all that all t he time, a typical UConn basketball player, an ambassador for our program. Playing, not playing, he’s like ‘coach what do I need to do, how can I get better?” I’ll love him for that always.

And ‘Bazz [Napier] is just an incredible person. He’s going to pass me on assists in a little bit, eighth in scoring. I think his name will be following Khalid [El-Amin] soon up in the rafters. He deserves all of the accolades he’s gotten. A tremdenous person on and off the court, how he’s grown as a leader. He’s been great.

Lasan [Kromah] coming in for the one year here, he’s made a mark on this program and I appreciate his hard work also.

The  game [against Rutgers] is very important. We’ll get through that [emotion and ceremony] and then play basketball. We’ve been talking about hangovers. We understand you can’t have hangovers, we had a great win against Cincinnati, but now we’re moving on.

[Napier’s] legacy is going to be great. He’ll be first one to say he only wants to win, and he’s won a lot of games here. He’s done a great job understanding leadership from the inside out, going through tough times as every leader does, showing his vulnerability, showing that’ I don’t know it all. I need help from my teammates. I can’t do it by myself, I can’t separate myself from my team.’ All the different things he’s learned in his four years here will help him immensely outside of basketball. That’s the thing I’m so proud about.

“Tyler … awesome. He was in Florida [on the video], rapping … he’s not doing that stuff anymore. He’s just grown. His being on time, the different things – we know what he had to do to get reinstated and he did it it. And what he’s doing now, being a selfless leader, not getting all the accolades, not getting all  the minutes, but he’s right there coaching the guys on. I believe in second chances, I got a lot of second chances in life. He’s made the most out of his second and third chance.

“All of them are going to graduate on time. It’s tremendous, especially with the APR situation we had. They endured. It speaks volumes of them as student-athletes. Shabazz has a big time load, two labs that he’s doing,. But he wants to get that paper. He wants to walk across that stage to his mother and say ‘I graduated.’ Kudos to him and all the guys. Niels is probably taking one or two classes now, he has done his work. Tyler has done his work It’s just a great class. There’s going to be a lot of tears shed. I’m going to miss those guys a lot.”


It would not be complete, writing about this senior class, without talking to Jim Calhoun, who shared his thoughts with me from home on Tuesday night. That will be included in our main advance for the Wednesday Courant.

And here is our capsule look at the UConn-Rutgers game.


Niels Giffey: ‘It’s About More Than Basketball’

by Categorized: Jim Calhoun, Niels Giffey, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball

STORRS – Niels Giffey came from halfway around the world, from Berlin, Germany, to UConn, where he has become one of the most respected teammates and popular of Huskies.

He will graduate with a degree in economic geography, and most likely have a long career in Europe. But he now calls Storrs his “second home.”

Niels shares his thoughts as Senior Night approaches:  

“The first couple of practices, with Coach [Jim] Calhoun and Coach [George] Blaney, you felt it was special. As a freshman you had to live up to it.

“We’ve talked a lot about it, especially after that disappointing loss [to Iowa State] in the Continue reading