UConn 77, Wake Forest 71: Notes, Quotes, Thoughts From The Paradise Jam, Round One

by Categorized: Enosch Wolf, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball
Date:

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.”

My game story in the Saturday Courant.

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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12 thoughts on “UConn 77, Wake Forest 71: Notes, Quotes, Thoughts From The Paradise Jam, Round One

  1. big blue

    Dom…Is Calhoun going to be with you the year long?…I thought he left the building…

  2. Sotires

    Fire Warde Manuel and hire a basketball AD who has big time AD experience. Manuel obviously knows nothing about basketball. He has ignored the advice from a hall of fame coach and a whole group of the greatest basketball coaches in the country who say Ollie should have been given a lon-term contract. Just the loss of recruits from the short contract was predictable and could set the program back until there is a coach who is perceived to be at UConn for the long haul.

    That coach is clearly Kevin Ollie.

  3. John Voice

    I’ve seen enough of Kevin Ollie to know he’s the real deal. If Warde Manuel doesn’t see it then he’s not the real deal. Kevin has very quickly earned the respect of the team and that is so important for a rookie coach. I hope he has a long prosperous stay at UCONN

  4. UconnFan

    Give Ollie his contract. He is as good a young coach as there is in the whole country while being short on dependable big men. However, Ollie has them playing where they give their all every night and no matter what their record is at the end of the year, I expect we will see the same effort every night which is a credit to the teams respect for Ollie and themselves.

  5. Scott

    Since we are banned from post season play, getting HCKO an extension is essentially their championship this year. Why give it to them after 3 games, when you can use it to motivate these kids longer at least into Big East play?

    Did anyone else watch Happy Days after Fonzie jumped the shark? No.
    The new contract is coming, we will still entertain top recruits, it is still a Top 5 program regardless of head coach.

  6. michael k

    Couldn’t have said it any better than Scott did. Coach Ollie has done a terrific job thus far, and it looks like he is indeed the man. However, should the Huskies go into a bit of a skid, especially when conference games start, I hope everyone won’t calling for him to get the axe. In my opinion, we’ve seen enough to know that Coach Ollie has the right experience, demeanor, and rapport with players to be awarded a contract.

  7. Publicus

    Wake up.

    UConn has already lost top recruits. One who had UConn on his short list of 3 schools. A top recruit will not go into an unknown situation. If the coach who recruited him is no longer there, the new coach will look at that player as the legacy of the fired coach, and play the the people he recruits. Anyone who understands college basketball knows that has happened to many good players

    1. Scott

      Name one player?

      I agree HCKO is the right man for the job, just no need to name him now.

      1. Publicus

        “Noah Vonleh from New Hampton Prep, a big man UConn has recruited intensely” (as reported in the Courant) signed with Indiana 11/10/12 – a Rival’s no 7 ranked 5 star recruit.

        When a person is ignorant about a subject, it would be betterr to be silent rather than advertise one’s ignorance. Anyone who understands college basketball knows that head coaching uncertainty hurts recruiting.

        1. Scott

          Publicus- we are all Husky fans here, and because my opinion doesn’t agree with you I am ignorant? I’ve been watching them over 30 years, take it easy.

          I guess the HC uncertainty really mattered to Omar Calhoun.

          1. Publicus

            Scott,

            It’s easy to change the subject, especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            FYI, Omar Calhoun was recruited and signed when Calhoun was the head coach, and to his credit he kept his commitment. That’s apples and oranges

            It’s obvious you haven’t a clue of what you’re talking about.

  8. Scott

    It is a shame that as a fan, I cannot share my opinion on a blog without my intelligence being questioned…by a fellow fan. Dude,we root for the same team, relax.

    And there has been HC unceratinty in this program for the last few years.

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