STORRS – The Huskies finished up practice and headed to Providence Wednesday afternoon, where the ancient New England rivalry will be renewed on Thursday night. A few notes, quotes, thoughts from practice:
Was Providence one of Kevin Ollie’s favorite places to play? “Not really,” he said, “they’ll say anything there, their crowd.”
The Huskies had one of their toughest losses of the season at Providence last Feb. 28, a loss that put their NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy.
“We just didn’t play well,” Shabazz Napier recalled. “We were ahead the whole game, then we kind of gave them the game at the end.”
Napier’s left shoulder seems a lot better. He says it still bothers him when he’s sleeping, but it’s about gone as a factor on the court. He is still held out of high-contact drills, like the box-out drill. … Ryan Boatright sat out parts of practice with a sore knee. Ollie said he has been bothered by tendinitis much of the year, and he just held him out for some rest.
Omar Calhoun gave reporters a scouting report on Jordan Fuchs, the football player from his alma mater, Christ The King, who committed to UConn this week.
“He’s pretty good,” Calhoun said, “a wide-body guy, he can run the floor pretty good.”
Fuchs, 6-foot-7, a tight end, is considered a mid-major prospect as a basketball player. He has talked about trying to play both in college, but it’s very unlikely in this day and age to pull it off. UConn basketball coaches did not recruit him.
Ollie said he likes the way Enosch Wolf has developed the habit of getting to his spot early, and he is trying to get Tyler Olander to develop the same trait.
Ollie also said he liked the intensity and engagement he is seeing from DeAndre Daniels in practice. On the stat sheet, of course, Daniels’ productivity has been up and down.
UConn expects to see some zone defense at Providence, and have played a little of it themselves. “I’m a man-to-man guy, a Jim Calhoun disciple.” Ollie said. “I’ll play a little zone, to throw a team off, [in small] doses.”
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