ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – A few notes, quotes and thoughts as I watch Quinnipiac and Iona go down the stretch here …
The Huskies were out-rebounded again, something that will sooner or later catch up to them.
They have up too many easy baskets, and struggled in a few other areas. But they are 3-0, and for now that should be a reason to sit back and enjoy the state of affairs.
“Call us the New York Knicks,” Kevin Ollie said. “They get out-rebounded and are winning every game.”
In this game, it was 32 to 27, not terrible, but this was an opponent UConn could have out-rebounded.
The most important thing to come out of this game for the Huskies – not that it takes a rocket scientist – was Enosch Wolf’s sudden emergence. After playing just one minute against Vermont, he played 25 and had 12 points, and six rebounds against Wake Forest. It seemed like he had more than six rebounds, “because they were loud,” said the guy sitting next to me – Jim Calhoun.
Wolf has worked hard at UConn, he has lost a lot of weight and put in the time working on post moves. He was telling me a couple of weeks ago, when I spoke to the three Huskies from Germany, that he thought at times of transferring to a place where he might play more, but he was determined to stick it out in Storrs. He said he wanted to give something back to fans who have continued to support him.
“It feels great,” he said after this game. “I feel like I’m finally here.”
Yes, for UConn, this is a feel-good story. My notebook for the Saturday Courant leads with Wolf.
“You never know when it’s going to be your time to shine,” Kevin Ollie said. “This was Enosch’s time to shine.”
A few of you may have noticed on TV, Jim Calhoun grabbed the seat next to Dave Borges of the New Haven Register and myself, and we were treated to a running commentary as the game progressed.
What an education it was, too. Amazing how much the man sees, and how much he understands people, what is going through their minds. The conversation was mostly private, though I had a little fun with it on twitter. Really, it was one of the coolest experiences of my career.
One thing the coach mentioned to me – former President Bill Clinton called him to wish him well in retirement and compliment the Huskies on how good they looked at Ramstein Air Base.
If you’re wondering, the coach was calm most of the game. Down the stretch, he got animated, banging the table, throwing an elbow or two at me. But he did not swear – well, maybe once or twice.
“I sat next to him for two years,” Kevin Ollie said. “At least he wasn’t cussin’ you out.”
Ollie was glad Shabazz Napier “showed up when he did,” but obviously noted that UConn needs for him to show up earlier. Scoreless in the first half vs. Vermont and, essentially, the first three quarters here is not what UConn is looking for.
Some great first half moves and shooting from DeAndre Daniels, but he faded out in the second half, something else UConn can’t afford going forward.
A lot of quality play from R.J. Evans and Niels Giffey, too. The guy next to me was impressed.
The Huskies are staying here until Wednesday. After the tournament they have a snorkeling expedition planned. It will be a lot more fun if they have a trophy to bring home.
UConn now has two wins in three games in its history against Wake Forest.
We’ll have more, the box score and a wrap on the Quinnipiac game on our main website later tonight.