STORRS – Some notes, quotes from Wednesday’s practice.
Kevin Ollie wasn’t ready to name a starting five. “We have one more practice left,” he said, meaning Thursday. “We’ll figure it all out on the way to Brooklyn.
“… But you know, if you’re a starter, you get your name called. But starters, those are the guys I like. The guys who stay in the game are the guys I trust.”
UConn practices Thursday afternoon, then takes the bus to New York.
Let’s put it this way: Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels are certain to start. Omar Calhoun, who started all last year, will probably start at the wing, unless Ollie wants to give senior Niels Giffey the honor. Based on minutes and productivity in the preseason games, it will probably be Phil Nolan getting the start over Tyler Olander at center.
Another thing you can expect, in any event, is more substitution, because OIllie will have more players he trusts. Last season, the perception was that he did not have a “quick hook” like his predecessor, and was more patient, but he had to be. The Huskies had no depth. This is a different team in that regard, as Maryland coach Mark Turgeon pointed out in our interview today.
It looks like everyone is healthy going into the opener, everyone practicing. … Calhoun and freshman Terrence Samuel, both from Brooklyn, are obviously thrilled to be playing in their home neighborhood, “especially as a Husky,” Samuel said, “I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long.” … Ollie did not play Shabazz Napier much against Southern or Concordia, choosing to keep his legs fresh for the opener and taking the opportunity to get a long look at Samuel. Napier admitted to being a little miffed. “I’m a competitor,” he said. But he understands and is over it. … Daniel Hamilton, one of the Huskies big recruiting gets for 2014, is coming from Los Angeles to see the game Friday. … Asked what he’s learned about the Huskies the last six weeks that he didn’t know before, Ollie immediately mentioned the freshman and how pleased he is with their progress. Next, he mentioned Giffey, and the more confident air with which he has returned from Europe. … Ollie was comparing Napier’s “basketball IQ” to NBA veteran Andre Miller. … If you’re going to the game and driving, leave yourself plenty of time. Traffic on a Friday through that area figures to be brutal. If you go public transportation, it’s a very easy subway ride from Grand Central.