Changes In The Wind? Notes, Quotes From UConn Practice in Seattle

by Categorized: Amida Brimah, Kentan Facey, Kevin Ollie, Lasan Kromah, Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball

SEATTLE – Spent a few minutes with the Huskies after their practice at Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday. Here are some highlights, stream-of-consciousness style:

From Kevin Ollie

“It’s been good, they’ve responded the right way. But the proof is in the pudding,’ when we get out on the court, the guys who play with the passion and enthusiasm, those are the guys I’m going to go with.

[This week, I was looking for] Just having the right attitude, playing together. I just think when we got that lead, like a lot of games, we stopped pressuring, we let a team hang around,. We’ve got to have a mentality that, when we  get up, we’ve got to even play harder. We can’t have letdowns, so I didn’t want to see let-downs in practice. Those guys felt me, and hopefully it will translate into the game.

If it doesn’t,, I’ll find the guys who want to play. I told them,, ‘the experiment is over with,’ I’m going to find the guys that want to play – hard. And if they play hard they’re going to play.”

Does this mean there might be some changes for Washington?

“There might be a couple of changes, we’ll see.”

On C.J. Wilcox

C.J. Wilcox is a tremendous shooter, can put the ball on the floor, has a great Basketball IQ. He’s always looking to shoot, and he makes a lot of ‘em. He’s going to be a challenge for us, Omar [Calhoun] can’t guard him by himself, Lasan [Kromah] can’t guard him by himself, it’s going to take a total team effort to stop him.  That’s a big concern of mine. Pressure him, make him take difficult shots.

On Mike Anderson of Washington, who is from Hartford.

“He’s doing a lot, rebounding, playing great basketball. They’ve got a lot of moving parts. Romar is doing an excellent job of getting the best out of his team and putting them in position to succeed. [Anderson] has been an integral part of it.

What he expects:

“They play man, they throw in a little zone here and there, but I’d say they’re predominantly man. But if you watch our second half against Stanford I would imagine they’d play some zone.

We’ve faced zone, I think that was an aberration. I don’t think we’ll score 13 points in a half again, we just got to execute. We played against zone earlier this season and destroyed it.  I’m, not going to stop doing the things we’re doing, but we got to go to second and third options. I thought Stanford took us out of first and second options and we didn’t have enough discipline to go to third and fourth and that’s what we worked on a lot this week.”




From Shabazz Napier


The biggest thing is intensity. I don’t feel as though we need drastic measures. We just played a bad half, we’re not going to go 5 for 31 again, we just played a bad half. No excuses for it

I’m pretty sure [Washington] will do the same things. We’d had a couple of days off [before the Stanford game] and we kind of forgot how to play against the zone. The middle’s open, we’ve been doing a lot of zone preparation in case they do play zone, watching that tape, I would play zone myself.”

“We need to rebound the ball much better, then we can go on fast break.  That’s what we lacked and it had everything to do with me. Looking at the tape, I wasn’t energized at all in the second half and I take full responsibility for that. Some days it’s there, some days it’s not. You’ve just got to bounce back, and hopefully guys bounced back and we’re ready to roll.”

From Niels Giffey


“We’re going to be playing in an opponents’ gym, to play right here on their campus. Our freshmen haven’t experienced that….

“We really didn’t play with enough focus and effort in the second half. Looking back at the tape, you can tell there wasn’t a focus, of doing everything with a purpose. Our transition defense was a little sloppy at times. There was a lack of rhythm, of effort plays. … Me, ‘Bazz and the guys talked about it, we should have been ready, better prepared in practice [after a 12-day layoff] to adjust back to game speed. Some days you’re going to make shots, some days you’re not, but the effort has to remain the same.”

The shots we took were not in rhythm, not open shots.”



The Huskies had a devil of a time getting out here on Thursday. Flying commercial  out of Boston, they sat at the gate for a while as the plane, which was too heavy, burned off some fuel. Once in the air, though, there was not enough fuel to make it all the way to Seattle against unusually strong head winds, so they had to stop at Spokane and refuel, then continue on to Seattle.

… This is the Seattle we read about – forecast: misty, rainy, foggy the whole time out here…. Giffey was saying a three-hour time change is not something he ever had to experience back home in Europe, but he’s learned to handle it.


I interpret Kevin Ollie’s remarks above to mean there will be a change two in the starting lineup, maybe in the rotation. Will Giffey or Kromah start? Maybe Kentan Facey plays more?


Opponents shoot 49.3 percent from the floor against Washington – remember Indiana and BC scoring 191 in two games at The Garden last month. … Here is our capsule look at the game for the Sunday Courant.


And here is our main game-day advance story.


Mike Anthony worked long and hard to produce this terrific piece on former Husky Doug Wiggins - give it a read.

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