Kevin Ollie: “As Long As I Have ‘Connectcut’ On My Jersey, I’m Fine,’ … Shabazz Napier Update, Notes and Quotes From The Lobby

by Categorized: Big East, Kevin Ollie, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
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CINCINNATI – Some notes, quotes from the lobby, as the UConn team filed in Friday evening.

Shabazz Napier, who did not practice Friday, is still in the walking boot. His right foot, surgically repaired last summer, has been acting up the last few games and nearly knocked him out against Georgetown. He is considered a “game-time decision” for the Bearcats Saturday at 2 p.m.

“I know he’s a winner,” Kevin Ollie said, he loves this university, loves playing for UConn, and I imagine if he can go he’ll probably do his best to be out there and try to get us to another win.. He’s not a person that just takes himself out of situations, so if he can go I know he’ll be there.”

UConn’s plan was to get Napier as much rest as possible, so no practicing, and save what he can give for the game. “You want him to show up at 2 O’clock tomorrow,” Ollie said.

Napier said he doesn’t feel pain when he is walking in the boot, but without the boot it’s different. He changed shoes, to a pair with more support, during the Georgetown game and it helped, “but not too much,” he said.

“Hopefully, I’ll wake up [Saturday] and feel good and I’ll be able to play,” he said. “If I don’t, then I can’t play. … I can’t put myself ahead of the team.”

The medical staff consider the injury a “sprain,” it’s a re-aggravation of the chronic problem. Napier is working on strengthening exercises, to strengthen muscle around the foot.

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The latest Big East news, if it shakes out as it appears it will, is not going to help UConn’s recruiting in the future. The loss  of the Big East name to something new and unheard of, and the loss of Madison Square Garden as the league tournament stage, take away two selling points. UConn, remember, has had tremendous success recruiting in New York City.

“Madison Square Garden is THE most attractive thing about the Big East tournament, about the Big East,” Napier said. “That’s where the stars play. I’ve played in the Garden before, so it doen’t other me too much. But for newcomers, t he freshmen, people coming in this year coming up, it might hurt. But for myself, I played in the garden before and its super spectacular, as everyone should know. “

Omar Calhoun, from Brooklyn, grew up with Big East rivalries and The Garden’s role in them.

“It’s definitely sad [losing MSG],” he said. “It’s everything you look forward to when you play in the Big East, so it’s something sad.  The Big East, it’s great teams matching up against each other, rivalries and stuff like that. There’s a lot of history behind those games, and it’s upsetting that people are not going to be able to see them.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ollie, who will have to do the recruiting the next five years, said the UConn brand, and tradition, is what he must, and will, sell

“As long as I don’t lose Connecticut on my jersey, I’m fine,” he said. “We can play [the league tournament] in the back yard. I’m fine. I’ve got UConn nation behind me, I’m fine. I got a great president, a great athletic director to put us in the best situation possible. So, as long as they’re not taking away uconn and I don’t think they are, I’m fine.

“[The uconn name, tradition], that’s all I got. That’s all I got. It’s all I know, it’s what I’m going to sell until I go into the grave. … That’s the only thing I can control. I can’t control realignment, whose leaving. I can control attitude, and the guys I put out on the court. I can control their attitudes and they can help me control mine. That’s the only thing I’m fighting for at the end of the day.”

Paul Doyle is all over the Big East story for us.

Want to take a stab at naming UConn’s new comference?

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Calhoun said his sore right wrist, which has been an issue since Feb. 16, “hurt a little more” in practice Friday, but like Napier’s injury, the only thing that will cure it is rest, and there is no time. “I’m going to be dealing with it the rest of the year,” Calhoun said. “I’ve just got to fight through it, and do what I can.”

Ollie said having played Cincinnati eight days ago means UConn will have to “do some tweaks” to their game plan. A key to the last game was Ryan Boatright’s defense on Cashmere Wright. Interesting to see what Cincinnati changes.

Here is our capsule look at the game. … Lots more on UConn, this game and the Big East on our main website later this evening and in the Saturday Courant.

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9 thoughts on “Kevin Ollie: “As Long As I Have ‘Connectcut’ On My Jersey, I’m Fine,’ … Shabazz Napier Update, Notes and Quotes From The Lobby

  1. Hip Hop Hood

    It’s amazing that the Catholic 7 will make in their TV contract that we will. They even got the Big East name while we are left with nothing.

    But the ACC or Big 10 will come calling any day now…NOT!

  2. Hip Hop Hood

    Why does KO want Shabazz Napier to sit around and do nothing to rest his foot? It would be nice of he went to class and studied once in a while so we don’t get a repeat of the probation that Calhoun got for us.

    1. Paul Knopick

      How do you know he isn’t going to classes? Studying? Inane comment/libelous.

    2. Tom

      Napier is on the Dean’s List, you moron. That’s something you could not even think of doing. Where did you graduate – beside middle school?

  3. Joe Rice

    This team has been as much fun to watch as any that I can remember. Aside from Wolfe, they and the coaching staff (starting, of course, with Kevin Ollie) have represented the University, it’s proud basketball history and themselves in exemplary fashion. I have never been more proud to be a member of the Husky Nation. Let me be the first to nominate them all as Huskies of Honor. What better way to commemorate a season that will be remembered for so many other things than a postseason ban.

  4. JoanieW

    Uconn next year will be playing the WGS League…. We got Screwed… Who at Uconn was managing this? The President and AD were asleep.

  5. masnalpak

    Tom, you were being kind calling HIP HOP a moron. My only question is was he born that way or did he acquire that skill after he became a UCONN basher??

  6. teo

    The question is this: what does UConn really bring to the ACC or to the Big Ten? The only indication that suggests we could be at the doorstep of the ACC or the Big Ten is that they took Rutgers. I have no idea why they took Rutgers, but they did.

    That said, I have even less of an idea of why they would ever take UConn. Other than hoops, the university’s revenue streams aren’t an upgrade. So why would the ACC or Big Ten take UConn? I can’t figure it out. Perhaps Warde and the gang know something we don’t.

    As for Napier, I am proud that he’s at the university and that he is studying. He’s a good kid.

  7. say what?!?

    Dom, do you ever run spellcheck before you hit “send”. this column is rife with errors. dude, have some professional pride.

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