Had an interesting afternoon at Kean University Thursday, watching Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright at the Nike Guard Skills Academy. A ton of NBA types were watching as players were stacked up against the best, and coached up in the pro style.
Boatright was saying he learned some new takes on playing the point with the shorter clock. “You can’t pick up your dribble until you know you can get the ball where it needs to go,” he said.
John Lucas, still a commanding presence at 59, admonished Napier to do the same – command respect from the big guys on the court.
After the last session, Napier walked over to Lucas for a last one-on-one chat, and Lucas was impressed with his eagerness to learn, as he was with the chemistry between the two. “You can see they like each other.”
The UConn guards got a lot of work feeding the post, something they did not have to do much last year but, with the Huskies bringing in new talent up front, should be more a part of their game this coming season.
Bottom line, this is great, new experience for the Huskies’ core, and it continues when DeAndre Daniels checks in at Kevin Durant’s wing skills camp in D.C. Friday. I’m planning to go down there for that.
On some other fronts …
*Still no decision from Enosch Wolf. He’s interacting with his UConn teammates a lot via twitter, but not giving much away and people close to him say nothing has been decided. Napier, a good friend, said he had “no clue” what Wolf would do. … Wolf, who lost his scholarship, can try to play as a walk-on next year, with tuition close to $50K, try to sign a pro contract in Germany or transfer to another school in the U.S. At the Travelers last week, Kevin Ollie said the door was still open for Wolf to return to UConn on those terms.
* All UConn’s incoming freshmen – Terrence Samuel, Kentan Facey and Amida Brimah – have arrived on campus to begin summer classes and workouts. Transfer Lasan Kromah, officially in the fold now, is not on campus yet.
*Neither Boatright nor Napier say they’ve been following scheduling news. When I mentioned the non-conference opponents, Boat perked up when he heard “Florida.” … Said Boatright, “having to get ready to play teams like that early will help us later on in the season.”
Here is my story on the Skills Academy in the Thursday Courant.