DeAndre Daniels used to “stare at his phone all day, not say two words all day,” says Ryan Boatright, his roommate at UConn the last three years.
But that’s all changed now. Daniels, a junior, is one of the top players on the team and, after a break-through late last season, picked up where he left off with the double-double against Southern. For the Friday Courant, and on our main site, a look at Daniels, who has come out of his shell with a vengeance. From Kevin Ollie:
“DeAndre’s not the most talkative guy. He’s not the life of the party when he’s off the court. But when you get on the court, your alter ego takes over and you change into a different person. He’s starting to realize that. He’s changed. He’s coming to the office, talking to his coaches. That’s a beautiful thing, when you’ve got a young kid who came in and hardly said a sentence and now you can’t shut him up. That’s maturity. I think he’s going to have an incredible year.”
In case you missed it earlier today, the AP Writers poll is out and UConn is No. 18.
In 1999, Kevin Ollie, cut again by an NBA team, returned to Hartford and helped coach Tyler Jones win a Continental Basketball Association title with the Connecticut Pride. The Pride, and the CBA are no more, but Jones is coaching at Concordia University in Chicago and will return to the XL Center to play Ollie’s Huskies in the second exhibition game on Monday night.
“Kevin and I are going to have hand signals,” Jones joked. “If they’re up 30, take your foot off the pedal. If they go up 40, put in the walk-ons.”
Jones made national news two years ago when an ESPN Outside The Lines crew recorded the moment he told his team he had prostate cancer. Jones, now 51, has recovered and works tirelessly to raise awareness and urge men to get screened early and often.
I spoke with Jones on Friday. He is from East Hartford and played at Trinity; his amazing story, his late entry into coaching, his the turn-around at Concordia and his road back from cancer will be highlighted in the Sunday Courant.
Another honor for Shabazz Napier. He is one of 30 finalists in men’s basketball for the NCAA Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes seniors for notable accomplishments in basketball, academics, community service and character. Here is more on that.
Not too long ago, a UConn-Maryland matchup would have pitted legendary coaches, Jim Calhoun and Gary Williams, against one another. Before the Huskies and Terps open the season in Brooklyn on Nov. 8, Calhoun and Williams will appear at a luncheon at the University Club in New York City for some Q & A with fans. Here are details on the Lunch With The Legends.