STORRS – The Huskies were given Sunday off to rest and recuperate from their long trip on Saturday, but they didn’t take it off. The entire team came to the gym for lifting and a captain’s practice that lasted about 50 minutes.
It may have been a really good idea, too, to shake off the jet lag and get right back on an Eastern Time routine. When they showed up for practice Monday, they hit the court running.
“We didn’t talk about jet lag or being tired or any of the excuses people could have used,” coach Kevin Ollie said. “They came out and practiced with a lot of energy and effort. They gave ME a lift.”
There are plenty of tickets available for the Vermont game, UConn folks have asked us to pass that along.
Ryan Boatright, who played most of the second half against Michigan State with a sore left ankle, says its fine. “I’ve been rolling my ankle all my life,” he said. “I’m used to playing through that.”
Vermont, the opponent Tuesday night, won its first game, beating Siena. Ethan O’Day, a 6-9 forward from Mansfield, Conn. – he played at Northfield-Mt. Hermon – played nine minutes for Vermont in their opener, getting nine points and six rebounds.
“I watched some film and I can tell they’re really well coached [by John Becker and staff],” Ollie said. “They don’t have any little guards. They know how to win. I love the make-up of their team.”
All the Catamounts’ guards are 6-2 or taller. Forward Luke Apfeld, 6-7, had 16 points in the 54-53 win over Siena. Vermont, which won America East and a “First Four” game in the NCAA Tournament over Lamar, overcame a 16-point deficit to beat Siena on Sandro Carissimo’s lay-in.
Players were still buzzing about the trip to Germany.
“[The military staff] were coming up to us and asking for our autographs and to take pictures with us,” Shabazz Napier said, “and I couldn’t understand why. To me, they’re OUR heroes.”
Ollie was most proud of the way his players carried themselves around the military personnel. “And then we went out Friday and took care of business, which made me even more proud,” he said.
R.J. Evans’ high school coaches from Norwich Free Academy, head coach Neal Curland and assistant Pete Camp, were at Gampel to watch practice on Monday.