STORRS – Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. … Let’s set the scene at Gampel, with the start of UConn vs. SMU just a few minutes away.
Same lineup for the Huskies: DeAndre Daniels, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Lasan Kromah, Amida Brimah. … Seems like everybody’s healthy and available.
Refs for today: James Luckie, Michael Stephens, Tim Nestor.
Looks like a near sell-out crowd, but not quite.
Was up in the lobby talking to some of the members of the 1998-99 championship team, which is being honored at halftime. Rip Hamilton is back at Gampel for a game for the first time since ’99.
“I’ve been in Hartford for games,” he said “but Gampel is special.”
Hamilton has been out of the league this season, but has been talking to teams about returning for the playoff push. “I could’ve made a decision before the season,” he said, “but want to see how the season [plays out] and I’d like to go to a team that has a chance to win. To get another ring, that’s how you build your legacy.”
Jim Calhoun was recalled the day he convinced Hamilton to return for one more season. “That was the best coaching job I ever did,” he said. “We had our eyes on the prize in ’98 for what happened in ’99.”
Hamilton, who won championships under Calhoun at UConn and under Larry Brown in the NBA, was delighted to see both. … Game’s about to start. We’ll check back in with you later, and we’ll have much more on the Huskies’ first champs.