HARTFORD – A few notes, quotes and thoughts from the men’s basketball side at Husky Day at the State Capitol …
Shabazz Napier passed the word that he was not yet ready make, or at least announce his decision regarding the NBA Draft. He has had long talks with both Kevin Ollie and Jim Calhoun, and he has sought advice from others with NBA connections. Napier is sticking to the timetable he laid out last week, and plans to announce a decision on Thursday or Friday. UConn insiders are still confident he will return, but until the deadline passes …
“He’s trying to make the best decision for him and we give him that respect. Hopefully, he makes the right decision at the end.”
Ollie said he thinks DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright are “leaning toward coming back, but nothing is etched in stone.”
The final deadline for entering the draft is Sunday, April 28.
UConn is still working on its men’s basketball schedule for next year. The talk is, a series with Stanford is close to being finalized, and a series with Florida is in the works. UConn has had some discussions with former Big East rivals, but it doesn’t look like anything will happen next year on that front.
The Huskies will play Maryland at the Barclays Center on Nov. 8, and some combination of Indiana, Boston College and Washington in the two games in the Y2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden Nov. 21 and 22.
The completion of their home-and-home with Washington will likely be put off, with the possibility of a meeting in New York. A series with Texas is less likely to be completed now, because UConn will have to go to Texas twice to play SMU and Houston in the new American Athletic Conference next year.
Out of 13 non-conference games, UConn figures it needs six or seven games against high majors to keep its RPI at the level it was when it played all the heavyweights in the old Big East.
“We want to have the same RPI we’ve had previous years,” Ollie said. “We got to look at our conference and make adjustments. We don’t want to go down in RPI. That means trying to go out and get big, major games and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Ollie shuffled his coaching staff on Tuesday, moving Ricky Moore from assistant director of basketball administration to full assistant. George Blaney will become a special assistant and advisor to Ollie.
“It’s not much different than what I’ve been doing,” said Blaney, 73, “it’ll be fine.”
Said Ollie: “I’m glad George is still going to be there for me to lean on. He always has the right thing to say.”
The move gets UConn another young recruiter out on the road. Moore, 37, will hit the road in July.
The last of the NCAA sanctions on UConn limits the number of official visits and recruiting days coaches can go out. The reset button is hit in July, but until then UConn coaches must use them judiciously.
Amomg various players who have been connected with UConn recently, it appears Daniel Hamilton, a Class of ’14 shooting guard from Los Angeles, is the most serious current target. He’s to come for an official visit in early May.
Charges were dropped against Enosch Wolf earlier on Wednesday, as he completed his domestic violence diversionary program satisfactorily. Now his case will be reviewed again by UConn’s Office of Community Standards at the end of the semester. If he passes muster there, his possible return to the basketball team would then be in the hands of Warde Manuel and Ollie.
“It’s a university process,” Ollie said. “We’re still evaluating him as a person. I just think he’s really turned it around with everything he is doing on and off the basketball court. He has been working out on his own and I am hearing some great things about him. I’m not really concerned about basketball right now. I just want him to continue to change and get better, so when he is in that situation again he will know how to handle it a little bit better.”
Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma were inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Legislative Office Building earlier in the day. Here is that story, soon to be updated.