STORRS – The Huskies play Boston University in Game 2 of the 2K Classic on Sunday at noon at Gampel Pavilion. There was media availability at practice on Saturday morning, and here are a few tidbits …
Kevin Ollie on Sunday’s opponent, Boston University …
“They’re playing aggressive, playing some big-time basketball. They beat a good Northeastern team. They’re averaging 81 points. What I’m stressing to these guys is we’ve got to limit our turnovers, they’re turning people over almost 20 times, 19.5, so we’ve got to be careful.
“We’ve got to continue to rebound, get back in transition and load the paint. We want to squeeze the paint against their two terrific guards. They’re playing at a high level. [Marice] Watson is playing at a high level, [D.J.] Irving hasn’t been having a great season and we want to keep him there, because he’s the preseason player of the year in the Patriot League and we know he can go off at any time.”
Lots of talk about freshman shot-blocking sensation Amida Brimah, who was unheralded before UConn got in on him last November, after Noah Vonleh had committed to Indiana. Karl Hobbs flew from the Virgin Islands to see Brimah in Miami. He had not played a lot of AAU ball, UConn relied on what it saw with Archbishop Carroll High.
“The first time he stepped on the court, I said, ‘wow,’ and I took a picture,” Hobbs said. “He reminded me of Emeka Okafor in t he way he improved from the first time I saw him to the second … and the third. And I told Kevin, ‘you need to see this guy.’”
The smile and the personality in a big man reminds Hobbs of his old high school teammate: Patrick Ewing.
Then Glen Miller checked him out.
“First time I saw him, I texted Kevin and said, ‘sign him up, ASAP. … yesterday,’” Miller said. “He was running to the locker room at half time, running to get water for his teammates, he just had a tremendous motor.”
Then Ollie went to Miami and saw him and was also convinced. “We all saw the same things,” he said.
The Brimah Factor: UConn is fifth in the nation in blocks as of this blogging, with 26 in three games. Brimah has 14.
UConn is still not ready to announce the receiving of any National Letters of Intent, but the word here is they still have no doubts about Daniel Hamilton, Sam Cassell Jr. (who apparently has sent his) or Rakim Lubin. Hamilton, the highest rated of the class, was said to be very impressed by what he saw in Brooklyn last week - and especially excited about playing with Brimah.
It’s a good thing the 2K Classic’s “big four” are guaranteed berths in the Madison Square Garden conclusion of this event. Boston College lost to Toledo, Washington lost to UC-Irvine and Indiana barely got by LIU-Brooklyn. Only the Huskies, with their 46-point win over Detroit, breezed through the first round.
Former UConn captain Steve Pikiell, coach at Stony Brook, will be playing Indiana, Florida Atlantic is going to BC and Eastern Washington to play Washington in Seattle on Sunday. Here is the tournament website.