HARTFORD – Some highlights from Kevin Ollie’s remarks following UConn’s 84-50 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
“I want to just take this timeout to really thank the guys and the cheerleaders and what we did in the beginning of the game. It was just a great tribute to all the victims. It’s just a sad day, but we’re going to continue not just to have moments, but have a movement where we can stop this violence. I think a moment is just not enough. We always have moments and then it goes away. Hopefully, we’ll have a movement. And hopefully we can get down there soon. We’re trying to plan something after Christmas to get down there, to Newtown.
… Maybe a practice, an autograph session, a clinic for the kids. We’ve let them know we’re available. Hopefully, we can put some smiles on some of the faces.”
Once we had to start to play the game, I thought the guys executed. I thought they played well. Defense was non-existent in the first half. Giving 46 percent, that’s not something that we want to do. But the second half, they turned it on, and it was led by our guards. And thenLeon came in and Niels came in and just played aggressive defense and, I think, we held them to 29 percent, which is what we want to do. We imposed our will on them in the second half.
I was very happy with the ball movement – 21 assists, nine turnovers. That’s one of our goals.
Of course, we got out-rebounded again. We’ll continue to try to shore that up. But I will take 66 percent (shooting) and I will take a win. I thought we did a pretty good job overall, especially coming out in the second half and playing UConn basketball.
Going into the Big East season – I wanted to use these three games to see what we have on that bench, what guys can do. But they’ve been doing very, very well in practice. If they weren’t doing the job in practice, I wouldn’t have the confidence to play them in these games. They’ve been doing a tremendous job. They’ve been staying with us. Phillip [Nolan], Leon [Tolksdorf], they’ve been doing a terrific job. When you continue to work, results have got to follow. They been doing it hard, they’ve been doing it honest and they’ve been coming in and giving us a great practice, every day.
Everybody has got to be alive on our team. Our margin of error is not that big.
I love Tyler [Olander], but he’s got to go get the ball. He’s got to play for me. I’m not going to get disheartened about him. … We need those three guys [Olander, Wolf, Nolan] to play better, you all know that.”
… Omar [Calhoun] and Ryan [Boatright] have been doing extra work. Our guards have been doing extra work. I know it’s ball movement, but you still have to make the shot. We call it “B.D’s.” Basketball Development. And they’ve been doing the extra work. Not just the two hours we have in practice, but staying after with Coach Hobbs, Coach Blaney, Coach Miller. Coming in on their own, shooting. That’s what they’ve been doing, and it’s going to pay off. That’s what we keep telling the guys: Do not be allergic to the gym.