STORRS – Some notes, quotes, thoughts from practice on Monday morning:
DePaul comes into Gampel on Tuesday night. The Blue Demons (10-5) are 4-0 on the road, with a one-point loss to Seton Hall and a win at Providence in the Big East, so it’s a better DePaul team that you’re used to seeing.
“They’re executing their ball pressure very well,” Kevin Ollie said. “They have a belief in themselves and their coaching. They’re feeling very good about themselves.”
DePaul has been forcing a lot of turnovers, but UConn’s guards, especially Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatight, have been rather effective taking care of the ball.
Boatright: “When I see a press my eyes light up. I call that ‘lay-up city.’”
UConn has had a week to sit on that tough loss at Marquette, and things got a little testy in practice. Boatright and DeAndre Daniels – roommates and close friends – got into a scuffle during a box-out drill the other day.
“I’m strong,” Boatright said, “and when I get down low, guys get mad.”
Daniels said, “it’s all love now.”
Ollie: “Our guys are tired of hitting each other, that’s good.”
Ollie said he spoke with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and the head of officials (Art Hyland) about the overtime mistake at Marquette. “They apologized and I accepted their apology,” Ollie said. “It’s over.”
Key matchup tomorrow could be Daniels against DePaul’s top player, Cleveland Melvin. It’s a chance for Daniels to adjust and grow into the challenge he will face as a ‘four’ in the Big East.
“I know he’s a great player and he’s very strong,” Daniels said, “but I know almost all the guys I face in the Big East are going to be way stronger than me.”
Daniels sat much of the game at Marquette; once Niels Giffey got in and rebounding improved, Ollie stayed with it.
“I don’t want to feel again at halftime the way I felt at Marquette,” Ollie said. “If you don’t rebound, you’re coming out.”