STORRS – As the Huskies lined up for The Husky Run, the sense of purpose that comes with a new year was on everyone’s mind – more so than ever, coming off a season when UConn played well enough to make the NCAA Tournament, but was ineligible.
“I cried after the last game because we couldn’t play any more,” Shabazz Napier said. “There’s a lot of motivation this year.”
Napier addressed the crowd, telling everyone to have fun and see if they could beat DeAndre Daniels this year.
On Tyler Olander …
Tyler Olander, who is suspended from the team since his arrest on Sept, 7, did not run. (It was open to students, of course.) Kevin Ollie spoke on Olander’s status
“First and foremost I want Tyler to get better as a person, as a young man,” Ollie said. “That’s first, and last. I’d like him to play, but it’s on him. I’m evaluating him each and every day. He’s doing a great job so far, with the things we’re asking him to do. … We all have our vices, you have to sacrifice them.””
Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier, Olander’s roommate, also spoke on it. Napier thought Olander did the right thing on Sept. 7, driving for a friend who’d had too much to drink.
“I know people say Tyler made a bad decision,” Napier said, “but I think he made a good decision. He drove to help out some people who couldn’t drive. He did what he thought was the best thing he could do. Sometimes you’re in situations where you’re helping people you can get in trouble yourself.”
DUI charges were dropped on Monday, because Olander’s breatholizer tests were under the legal limit. He did pay a $75 fine for driving without a license.
“We talk to Tyler,” Boatright said. “We’ve been telling him that the decisions he’s made have hurt the team, because we need him, We need him to win a championship. I think it got through this time. I think he’ll be back to play.”
Still waiting on Facey …
Kentan Facey’s status is still uncertain, as the NCAA reviews his eligibility. Facey, meanwhile, is able to practice with the team. Ollie hopes to hear something from the NCAA in the next few days, and then UConn would take the next step.
Calhoun sits out
Omar Calhoun was the only player not to run for health reasons. Calhoun, who had surgery on both hips last spring, was held out by athletic trainer James Doran for precautionary reasons. Calhoun, Ollie said, is cleared to practice and should be able to go full out at the first practice on Saturday.
And the winners are …
Derek Lockwood, 23, a UMass grad and UConn grad student in physical therapy, won the 3.4 mile race in 17 minutes., 40.3 seconds. DeAndre Daniels, for the third year in a row, beat his teammates, finishing in 19:52. Walk-on Pat Lenehan was right behind at 19.52.5. Ryan Boatright was next at 20:28.
“We’re going to have to be in shape, because we’re going to play fast, physical,” Boatright said. “I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Boatright also said, after a summer of intensive work, “my point guard skills are at an all-time high,. All my life, I’ve been told to score. I’ve learned the game better, and I know how to get my teammates involved and still get my own.”