SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Kevin Ollie, obviously, is impressed with Notre Dame. Here are some specifics from his chat with reporters in the lobby of the Huskies’ hotel , where the team arrived late afternoon Friday.
“Their pick and roll offense is one of the best in America,” he said. “They pass the ball well, they’re an unselfish team. We’re going to have to have our defensive principles intact. They have shooters all around the perimeter. We have to make sure we’re not giving up layups and giving up threes, we want to eliminate one of them.”
On ND’ s guard tandem of Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant: “They’re good guards. They know how to play. They know their strengths and they know their weaknesses, which is a great thing. And they’re always in attack mode.”
Jack Cooley, “a double-double machine,” Ollie calls him, and co. will be a challenge for UConn’s big men, Enosch Wolf and Tyler Olander. “But our big men are playing exceptionally well and I think they will be up for the challenge,” Ollie said.
If all goes according to plan, UConn will have center Amida Brindah, from Miami, on campus for an official visit on Sunday, and he will attend the Louisville game at the XL Center.
The coaches still want to bring two more players in from the Class of 2013. Brindah would be the big man they want to go with Kentan Facey. They would also like another guard to go with Terrence Samuel, as protection in case Napier or Boatright leave for the pros.
Two names to keep an eye on: Travis Jorgenson, a point guard at New Hampton Prep who de-committed from Missouri, and Chad Frazier, a JUCO player in Florida, a former Oklahoma State commit.
UConn would probably stop with two players; they want walk a line here, to save scholarships for the Class of 2014, in which they expect to do well but not leave themselves short for next year.
The latest on conference realignment from Paul Doyle and Desmond Conner.
Shabazz Napier had some sort of muscle strain, and missed parts of practice, but is expected to be Okay to play Saturday. … A little odd that he did not make the Cousy Award watch list; are there 20 point guards in the country better?
Ryan Boatright point out the very spot at the team hotel where Jim Calhoun told him last January that he would have to sit out more games for the NCAA review. Boatright is laughing, smiling a lot right now – he’s playing well and, he says, “actually having fun playing ball again” with all that behind him.
He’s the main top for my advance story in the Saturday Courant.
After the DePaul game, Shabazz Napier lingered and, asked about Boatright’s suspension last year, offered some thoughts.
“It was upsetting that the NCAA didn’t allow him to play over what, I believe, was a plane ticket. I don’t think they understand that, sometimes, kids who come to [play] college basketball don’t have it financially as much as a lot of other guys do. … It’s nothing in any way trying to disrespect the NCAA. We just don’t have the money. It’s even a struggle for me, as a player here, it’s tough for me to get food sometimes. It’s tough. It’s a struggle for everybody. And I don’t think the NCAA always understands that.”