ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – It’s hard to find too much fault with UConn’s 3-0 start. The Huskies have been getting a lot of production from some unlikely sources, such as R.J. Evans and Enosch Wolf.
The three freshmen, Omar Calhoun, Phil Nolan and Leon Tolksdorf, are still looking to join the party. We wrote some on Calhoun the other day.
Coach Kevin Ollie addressed Nolan and Tolksdorf in a hotel lobby chat on Saturday.
“They’re working hard in practice,” Ollie said, “that’s all they can do. They just need to keep working and believe in themselves, because I believe in them, I hope that comes off to them. Phil is going to be a great player for us. Leon is going to be a great player for us.”
Neither played against Michigan State, but both played a little more against Vermont because Ollie liked what he saw in practice. They were limited to four minutes each against Wake Forest. Tolksdorf didn’t get a shot off, Nolan didn’t score and turned the ball over in a shaky sequence.
“I’ve had a rough start,” Nolan said. “I’m still trying to figure things out. All the coaches have been very supportive.”
Nolan, 6-foot-9, said his main focus is getting stronger for the upcoming Big East battles.
Scott Burrell and Kevin Ollie, teammates for two years in the early 90s at UConn, still play golf frequently.
“Kevin has gotten a lot better on the course,” Burrell said. “He used to get about 20 shots, now he gets about nine.”
Burrell, who was a pitcher and quarterback as well as a basketball player at Hamden High, and pitched professionally for the Jays organization as he was playing for the Huskies, has always been a natural. Can he still do just about anything athletically? “Only if its slow,” he said.
Burrell, of course, is an assistant under Tom Moore at Quinnipiac. Lots more on his take on UConn in the Sunday Courant, along with Tom Moore’s take
I asked Ryan Boatright for his take on Shabazz Napier’s slow starts. “I can tell him, ‘come on, you’ve got to pick it up,’ and things like that,” Boatright said. “But he’s his own man. What’s going through his head when that happens, I don’t know. I’m just glad he has shown up when he has.
These two road trips have introduced me to some odd motoring. In Germany, there were the no-speed-limit autobahns, where my taxi got me the 75 miles from hotel to airport in 45 minutes.
Here in the U.S. Virgin Islands, they drive on the left side of the road, as in England, but the cars are right-hand drive as in the U.S. A driver explained to me that the roads here were set up when the Islands were Danish property, but American cars are readily available. It takes some getting used to, especially on the winding, hilly roads here. “It really makes sense,” I was told, “because you tend to hug the side of the road you’re on, so we have very few head-on collisions.”
After practice and Study Hall, the UConn players had some time to themselves Saturday afternoon and evening. This is not a bad place for that.
I’m watching Iona, which lost in OT to Quinnipiac Friday night, rout Wake Forest here right now.