STORRS – A few notes, quotes, thoughts from UConn’s post-practice interviews on Tuesday …
Omar Calhoun did not practice. He has a concussion and it’s not likely he will play against South Florida on Wednesday night, though it hasn’t been ruled out
“He’s day to day,” Kevin Ollie said. “He got popped in the head pretty good. ,The symptoms were much better than they were yesterday. Hopefully he can keep getting better and we’ll get him back soon.”
As for Calhoun’s season-long woes, Ollie admonished him not to give up:
“I just want him to keep practicing hard,” Ollie said, “keep preparing for the moment that you’re going to get. Because if you don’t prepare for it, if you just give up now, you’re never going to be successful. I want him not to give in, to keep doing what Omar is capable of doing, keep coming out and controlling what he can control, which is his effort and his attitude.
The gap is effort. Just keep playing with effort. Hopefully the shots will fall, he’s working tirelessly to correct that, but he can’t give up. And he’s not going to do that; he’s been through a lot, it’s a minor set-back for a setup. Hopefully he understands that.”
Ryan Boatright is 21-for-62 from the floor the last six games, and his shoulder problems – he’s wearing a brace on the left side, could be a factor.
““[The shoulder] is pretty jacked up right now,” he said. “But there’s nothing I can about it until after the season. I’ve just got to continue to do my rehab and keep it steady. … It’s pretty beat up. I haven’t got my MRI yet, but it’s sore. Some days it feels all right. It’s hard for me to get movement, and it’s affecting my shot when I got up.”
Boatright said he won’t get an MRI now because it requires an injection that could mean sitting our a few days, and the Huskies are two games into a stretch of 10 games in 30 days. “I’m not going to sit o ut at this point in time,” he said.
“… I haven’t shot this bad since fourth grade, when I didn’t know how to shoot. I’m in the gym all the time. I think my shot will start falling when it’s time.”
Ollie said he wants Boatright to continue to work on defense.
“I really liked his defensive game against UCF,” Ollie said. “That’s what I really want to see, keep his man in front of him. Stunt and get back. Ball pressure. We’ve got to defend, defend, defend. Whatever we get from Ryan on the offensive end, he’s going to score, that’s going to be gravy. I want him to be the anchor of our defense up top and Amida [Brimah] to be the anchor of our defense down low.”
The Huskies will observe a moment of silence for Doc Hurley before the game against USF
South Florida’s big front line, which includes Victor Rudd (6-9, 235 pounds), Zach LeDay (6-7, 245) and John Egbunu (6-10, 245) in the starting lineup and Chris Perry (6-8, 266) off the bench, is an obvious concern for the Huskies, especially after what Justin McBride did in Orlando.
“They’re big and rugged and they’re going to throw it down there,” Ollie said, “Coach [Stan] Heath is going to throw down there and get thise guys involved. We got to be ready to dig and make sure they see a lot of UConn jerseys in front of them.”
DeAndre Daniels said his back “was a little stiff,” but other than that he felt fine following practice.
Sports On Earth posted a long profile of Shabazz Napier, by Tim Casey, with a lot of good stuff from his old neighborhood , Roxbury. You’ll find it here.
Bottom line on this game, from Ollie: “We can’t look ahead, we’re not that good. Our margin of error is not that big. This league has five teams in the Top 25, and the teams that aren’t in the top 25 are pretty good, too. If you underestimate them, they can beat you. We can’t under-evaluate anybody, we can’t under-evaluate today.”