STORRS – Tyler Olander was a starter as a freshman, he has been a bench player as a senior. In between, a whole lot of stuff happened, some of which can still be found on YouTube.
But the kid from down the road is still standing, still a Husky and about to get a degree in political science. Here are his thoughts on the eve of Senior Night:
“Just looking back on the four years, the ups and downs, good and bad, it’s just been so fun and enjoyable. So many life lessons from so many different people, it’s been an unbelievable ride. Tomorrow night, it’s definitely going to be emotional
I’m not playing, so what way can I help the team? I know we have the pieces to make a great run in March, so I just said a while back, how can I help this team win? Trying to help these young guys be the best they can be so when they’re out there we can have the best team. I’ve tried to take a leadership role like that. It’s been successful so far. That’s what UConn basketball is all about, guys come back all the time and shed their wisdom on us. It’s only right to continue to do that.
[The seniors] We’ve been through it all together. We just really love what this program is all about. We love this school, the people involved in the program. The bond that we have is one that will probably carry on for a lifetime
It’s special, I’d rather share this night with these guys than with any other group
We’ve been through a lot but we stuck with it, ups and downs, for the love of basketball, for the love of each other, this university, the UConn family, it makes it all worth it It’s a tribute to us loving this game, loving this university and what it stands for and wanted the best for us and the people that come behind us.”
I didn’t see myself anywhere else. I wanted to finish it out here. I was comfortable here, happy here.”
We want to leave a legacy for UConn of greatness and those who follow will lead by that example.
Shabazz, day in and day out, the transformation of him as a person behind the scenes – he’s grown so much. It’s hard to put into words things he’s done on the court, and off the court it’s even more remarkable.”
[Highlights:] Scoring first points in Final Four, getting that ring, the run we had in the Big East Tournament, so many memorable moments, more with the team that for myself. Shabazz shot this year, all the things Kemba did. And last year, playing for nothing but each other…
The national championshuip, people thought we might make a little run. We ended up winning it all, taking people by surprise. We just kept believing in ourselves.”