To the many who e-mail me and tweet, calling for UConn to run more plays for Niels Giffey, you have an ally:
Pete Gillen, former head coach at Xavier, Providence and Virginia, was the analyst for CBS Sports Network for the Huskies’ two most recent games and he has the same take:
“That’s the one thing that jumps out at me,” said Gillen, who was watching Wyoming practice when we spoke for a few minutes on Friday. “… I’d like to see Giffey get more shots. They don’t run much for him. He’s not going to get many shots in the flow of the game, so they could run more things for him.”
Gillen, 66, who played baseball and basketball at Fairfield, explained various screens that could be run to get Giffey open. One involved putting him under the basket, where he’d have the option of going right or left.
“He’s a catch-and-shoot guy,” Gillen said. “He reminds me of a guy we had at [Virginia from 1999-2001], Keith Friel. He was a great shooter, but he couldn’t get his own shots. So when we put him in, we’d run screens for him.”
Giffey is shooting 56.3 percent from the floor, 50.6 percent on three-point attempts (39-for-77, though it should be remembered he started 8-for-8). Giffey has taken 135 shots in 28 games, Shabazz Napier 341, DeAndre Daniels 266, Ryan Boatright 263, Lasan Kromah 165.
During practice last Saturday, Gillen remarked at the number of sets Kevin Ollie works on, things he took from the NBA, from Chuck Daly and Larry Brown, and from Jim Calhoun.
After watching UConn lose to SMU and beat USF, Gillen said, “They run a lot of ball screens for Shabazz, so teams that defend ball screens give them trouble, like SMU. They’ve got to get him some help, he can’t do it by himself. Their role guys have to step up. … Not having an inside scorer hurts them. They play good defense – they’re a better defensive team than they get credit for, … They’re best when they run.”