WATERBURY – Spent Saturday at the Greater Hartford Pro-Am, which started up last week and runs until mid-August at Crosby High.
Rodney Purvis, who will finally be able to show his talents for UConn fans next season after sitting out, dropped by to play for Eblens in the late game and scored 26 points, showing some of the slick moves in traffic that made him an elite recruit. Purvis, who transferred from NC State in April 2013, had to sit out a year, and he had shoulder surgery last winter. He played a few games in a pro-am league back home in North Carolina earlier this summer.
We’ll have a full story in the Courant this week. Here are some of Purvis’ thoughts:
On his recovery from shoulder surgery:
“It’s 100 percent now.”
On helping Amida Brimah recover from his similar surgery:
“Any questions he has, I help him get through whatever he needs to. The day of his surgery I went to go see him to make sure he was in great spirits because it is a long process, a six month recovery. That’s my brother so I had no choice but to be there for him.”
On getting ready for the season.
“I really appreciate all the love and the support from the fans. I’m just preparing myself every day to be ready for that moment. It’s right around the corner. I’m preparing for that first game, and I’m just ready. I’m super-ready.”
How difficult was it to sit out a year?
“I heard from different guys that it was rough on them, and of course, it’s rough having to sit out,. But I couldn’t have played anyway because of my shoulder. I was around a great group of guys, they always made me feel like I was in the loop, never made me feel like I was outside. The only thing I didn’t do was play in the games, everything else, I did. So I felt a part of the team.
Sitting out of basketball for a very long time is rough, but I’ve tried to make it worth it
I took advantage of everything, going up against guys like Shabazz [Napier] and Boatright every day in practice, I was in Shabazz’s ear all the time, in the room watching film with him, asking questions, and he gave me a lot of great feedback before he left.”
What did he learn from UConn’s championship run?
“We stayed together. That’s the most important thing. We stayed together no matter what. Anytime you saw one of us, there was always five or six of us. I don’t think people understand how being close off the court carries on to the court. We’re really brothers. We don’t put on a front for Twitter or the media, we take our relationships seriously amongst each other.
We’re always there for each other and it carried on to the court. That’ show we did it, we stayed together.”
How to recapture that feeling?
“I’m in the guys’ ear every day in the locker room, ‘let’s stay together, let’s do things together.’
Me and Sam [Cassell Jr.], we’re roommates, we go everywhere together, do things together. Same with [Daniel Hamilton and Rakim Lubin] – I don’t want them to feel like outsiders because they’re new guys. I’m real strong on brotherhood, that’s how I was raised and I saw what brotherhood can do last season and we want that same thing this season.”
On playing with Ryan Boatright:
“I honestly feel like, with us having relationship we have off the court, that’s going to carry on to the court. He was my roommate last year, he took me under his wing. Help me learn.
… Not many people know this. But the whole, entire year [until the surgery] me and Boatright were in the gym every single night, basically beating each other up, some days going back to the room not speaking to each other because one of us got the better of the other that one day. … I just appreciate Boatright. He’s a great guy and I can’t wait to play alongside him.
I believe strongly in off the court relationships. I feel like I complement his game where he complements my game.We’re both attacking guards, non-stop, we’ll just look for each other, and lead our team.
Brothers argue and fight all the time. Me and Boat have our fair share of arguments as well. That’s what’s going to make us better, though.”
Going along with Purvis’ concept of brotherhood, Amida Brimah, Sam Cassell Jr. and Daniel Hamilton were at the game watching Purvis play. Brimah, who had shoulder surgery in May, says his rehab is going well. He is doing range-of-motion work now, and has eight more weeks to go before he can get on the court. Brimah played in the GHPA after arriving at UConn last summer. Hamilton plans to play in the GHPA next Saturday.
Kentan Facey and Rakim Lubin are expected to play in the league before it ends in August. Others, too, but as GHPA fans know, everything is day-to-day.
DeAndre Daniels played his second game for the Raptors in the Las Vegas summer league. Daniels played 15 minutes Saturday, and had 12 points and five rebounds. Toronto lost to Denver. It’s hoped he will appear in the GHPA when play in Vegas ends next week.
Going on vacation for a couple of weeks. Enjoy the summertime.