HARTFORD – Checking from the XL Center, where the start of UConn vs. Villanova is about an hour away. A few pregame notes and stuff ..
Kentan Facey, who is coming to UConn next year, is in the building. Facey’s team, Long Island Lutheran, finished up its regular season Friday night. He was on the court about 10 a.m. shooting. Fans were chanting his name as he was walking around the court later on.
Here’s a story I did on Kentan a while back.
Terrence Samuel, UConn’s other signed recruit, may come up for the game. UConn wasn’t planning for any potential recruits to be here.
Same lineup for UConn: Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels, Omar Calhoun, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright.
Hearing UConn is expects Villanova to really try to pound the ball inside against them, attack with Mouphtao Yarou and Daniel Ochefu.
Here’s our capsule look at the matchup.
Had a chat with George Blaney before the game about his old Knicks teammate, Richie Guerin,80, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee on Friday.
“I still believe he’s the reason I made the Knicks [in 1961],” Blaney was saying. “I had to guard Richie all of camp, and I think that’s how I made the team. … He was the first player to really take it at [Bill] Russell, because Russell had eliminated the layup in the NBA. But Richie would go right at him and put the ball in his face. He could drive on anybody, absorb contact, put up any number. Richie was a real New York guy, and everybody wanted to be around him.”
Guerin, 6-foot-4 shooting guard from the Bronx, was THE star of the Knicks in those days. He averaged 29.5 points per game that season. Blaney played in 35 games.
Speaking of little guys who were not afraid of taking on bigger defenders, here is my story for the Saturday Courant on Napier and Boatright and playing big guards.
Air Force Staff Sargeant Adam Rowland of Waterbury, who served as the Huskies unofficial guide during their time at Ramstein Air Base in Germany last November, is home on leave for a couple of weeks and sitting behind the UConn bench. “I had a blast – I’m still talking about it,” he said. “That’s all anybody has asked me about since I’ve been home.”
The game on Nov. 9 started at midnight, and ended in the wee hours. The hangar that served as an arena was returned to serve almost immediately following the UConn victory over Michigan State. “We’re used to quick turnarounds,” Rowland. “We resumed normal operations the next day.”
He will be heading back to Germany next week.