Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tickets for Jimmy V Classic on sale now

Tickets for the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 5 at Madison Square Garden, which will feature Syracuse-UConn in the nightcap at 9 (more like 9:30) p.m., are on sale.

Here's the info via a press release:

Tickets for the Jimmy V Men’s Classic Presented by Corona, to be played on Tuesday, December 5, are now on sale. 

The event, in its 23rd year, will once again be played from Madison Square Garden, featuring a potential top-20 matchup, according to ESPN’s Way-Too- Early Rankings, with No. 9 Villanova facing No. 19 Gonzaga (7 p.m. ET), followed by Syracuse against UConn (9 p.m.), both on ESPN. The Orange and Huskies return to MSG to face each other after last year’s matchup, where the Huskies edged out the Orange 52-50.

Ticket prices range from $55 to $455 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone at (866) 858-0008 and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.

The early-season event will be part of the 11th annual V Week for Cancer Research – the weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs featuring special content to help raise funds for cancer research. ESPN’s 2016

Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research raised $3.8 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research –more than $600,000 from the previous year’s total. In ten years, V Week has raised over $17.6 million for cancer research.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A look at UConn's eight newcomers

Kwintin Williams
The Husky Run is a week away (Wednesday, Sept. 27, to be exact). UConn begins practice three days after that.

With that in mind, and with so many newcomers joining the Huskies this season (true freshmen, grad transfers, JUCO transfers), we thought we'd link some stories we've written on the newbies over the past few months so that you can get to know them a little better.

It's an intriguing, eclectic bunch: a wide-body with plenty of Southern charm; an athletic St. John's transfer; a high school teammate of Markelle Fultz; a grad transfer from Cornell; a wiry big man who bases his game on Anthony Davis's; the son of a former NFL linebacker;

Eric Cobb

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Breaking down UConn's 2017-18 schedule

Breaking down UConn's 2017-18 schedule. It's a good one:


Monday, Oct. 30               vs. Merrimack  (XL Center, 7 p.m.)                           
An exhibition game

Sunday, Nov. 5                  vs. Queens College (Gampel Pavilion, 5:30 p.m.)                                
Exhibition will be first game under new roof at Gampel                                          

Friday, Nov. 10                  vs. Colgate (GP, 7 p.m., SNY)                                      
UConn has won seven straight vs. Patriot League foes, dating back to 1974

Tuesday, Nov. 14             vs. Stony Brook (XL, 7 p.m., SNY)                              
Part of the PK80 Invitational … sort of.

Sunday, Nov. 19               vs. Boston Univ. (XL, 6 p.m., SNY)                             
New Haven’s Walter Whyte should be impact freshman for Terriers

Thursday, Nov. 23            vs. Oregon (Moda Center, 9 p.m., ESPNU)           
Ducks lost three NBA draft picks from Final Four team that beat UConn in Maui last November

Friday, Nov. 24                  vs. Michigan State/DePaul (Veterans Col., TBD) 
Huskies will face either Tom Izzo’s Spartans or Dave Leitao’s Blue Demons in PK80 Invitational bout

Sunday, Nov. 26               TBD                                                                                       
UConn will play third and final game of PK 80 Invitational vs. either defending champ North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Portland

Wednesday, Nov. 29      vs. Columbia (GP, 7 p.m., SNY)                                   
UConn is 8-2 all-time against Lions

Saturday, Dec. 2               vs. Monmouth (XL, 4 p.m., SNY)                                               
 King Rice’s Hawks have been a MAAC powerhouse last few years

Tuesday, Dec. 5                          vs. Syracuse (MSG, 9 p.m., ESPN)                             
Old Big East rivals will play for third time in three years, this time at Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden

Saturday, Dec. 9               vs. Coppin State (GP, TBD, ESPN2/ESPNU)           
Last time Huskies played Eagles, Amida Brimah scored career-high 40 points

Thursday, Dec. 21            at Arizona (McKale Center, TBD, TBD)                     
Beginning of home-and-home series with Wildcats, who will be preseason No. 1 on a lot of lists

Saturday, Dec. 23             at Auburn (Auburn Arena, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2)      
Bruce Pearl’s Tigers popped UConn in OT last December in Hartford

Saturday, Dec. 30             vs. Wichita State (XL, noon, CBS)                               
This will be first-ever AAC game and first visit to Connecticut by new AAC mates, who’ll be a preseason national top-10

Wednesday, Jan. 3          at Tulsa (Reynolds Center, 7  p.m, ESPNews)       
Will Huskies visit the Bob Dylan Archives center on campus during their visit?

Saturday, Jan. 6                                vs. East Carolina (XL, noon, ESPNews)                   
 Pirates have one of AAC’s better all-around players in Kentrell Barkley

Wednesday, Jan. 10        vs. UCF (GP, 7 p.m., CBSSN)                                       
 Knights are led by the long (7-foot-6 Tacko Fall) and short (high-scoring guard B.J. Taylor) of it

Saturday, Jan. 13              at Tulane (Devlin Fieldhouse, 1 p.m., ESPNews) 
Led by talented Cameron Reynolds, Mike Dunleavy, Sr.’s Green Wave should be improved

Tuesday, Jan. 16               at Memphis (FedExForum, 9 p.m., CBSSN)           
The Lawson brothers (AAC top rebounder Dedric, rookie of the year K.J.) are now in Kansas

Saturday, Jan. 20              vs. Villanova (XL, noon, CBS)                                       
Start of three-game series vs. former Big East foes

Thursday, Jan. 25             vs. SMU (GP, 7 p.m., CBSSN)                                      
UConn gets reprieve, won’t travel to Dallas for its annual thrashing by the Mustangs this season

Sunday, Jan. 28                 at Temple (Liacouras Center, 8 p.m., ESPN2)       
Jalen Adams’ last-second layup beat Owls in Philly last February 

Wednesday, Jan. 31        at UCF (CFE Arena, 9 p.m., CBSSN)                           
Watch out for coach Johnny Dawkins’ son, Aubrey, who might be league’s best newcomer

Saturday, Feb. 3               vs. Cincinnati (GP, noon, ESPN/ESPN2)                  
This will be a homecoming for East Hartford native/Sacred Heart transfer Caine Broome

Wednesday, Feb. 7         vs. USF (GP, 7 p.m., ESPNU)                                       
Just about everybody’s gone from last year’s 7-23 train wreck

Saturday, Feb. 10             at Wichita State (Koch Arena, TBD, ESPN)             
UConn’s only previous meeting vs. Shockers was in 2010 Maui Invitational. Kemba happened.

Thursday, Feb. 15            vs. Tulsa (XL, 7 p.m., ESPNU)                                       
Golden Hurricane has nearly everyone back from last year’s 15-17 team

Sunday, Feb. 18                                at ECU   (Minges Coliseum, 3 p.m., ESPNews)      
Site of one of UConn’s more disheartening league losses last March

Thursday, Feb. 22            at Cincinnati (BB&T Arena, 7 p.m., ESPN)               
High-powered Bearcats will give Wichita State a run for its money at top of league standings

Sunday, Feb. 25                                vs. Memphis (GP, 2/4 p.m., ESPN/ESPNU)           
Tubby Smith’s Tigers were decimated by transfer, graduation last spring

Wednesday, Feb. 28       vs. Temple (GP, 7 p.m., CBSSN)                                
Led by Obi Echeniyonia, Shizz Alston, Quinton Rose, Owls should be much-improved this season

Sunday, March 4              at Houston (TBD, 4 p.m., CBSSN)                               
Game will be played either at Texas Southern or Toyota Center, home of Houston Rockets


Thursday-Sunday, March 8-11    AAC Championships (ESPN)                        
At the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida – where UConn won its only other AAC title two years ago

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kevin Ollie, other local D-1 coaches in roundtable on Sept. 28

An interesting event at the Golf Club of Avon on Sept. 28. Kevin Ollie and six other D-1 men's hoops coaches from Connecticut will have a roundtable discussion. Always thought Connecticut should have an event like this (Rhode Island used to do one weekly during the season, though admittedly there were much fewer coaches to deal with).

Anyway, here's the press release: 

Former college basketball coach and current ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg announces the inaugural V University’s CT Basketball Tip-Off, Presented by Hoffman Auto Group. 

The event will feature head coaches from Connecticut’s seven Division-I men’s basketball programs in a roundtable discussion prior to taking questions from the audience. The breakfast event will take place Thursday, September 28, from 8-10 a.m. at the Golf Club of Avon. Net proceeds from tickets and a silent auction will benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

“I am excited to bring Connecticut’s Division-I college basketball coaches together for a morning of
hoops conversation while raising money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. This event is something Jimmy would have loved,” said Greenberg, who won 383 games during his 22 seasons as
a head coach. “The format will give the coaches an opportunity to discuss their programs as well as
the state of the game.”

Event-goers will have the opportunity to hear a first-hand preview of the in-state college basketball season, while raising money for cancer research. Conversation between some of college basketball’s top coaches, including Kevin Ollie, University of Connecticut’s National Championship coach in 2014, will cover topics such as past experiences, the state of college basketball, and outlooks for individual state teams. Audience question and answer will follow the coaches’ discussion. Tickets for the event can be purchased per person or by table until Friday, September 22.

V University (www.jimmyv.org/vuniversity) is a virtual campus that offers collegiate athletic conferences, departments, teams and student-athletes an opportunity to raise funds for cutting-edge
cancer research. V University was formed to help spread the late Coach Jim Valvano’s message of
perseverance—“Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®—shared during his inspirational speech at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Sid Wilson will be heading to UConn, hoping for a waiver to play this season

For Sidney Wilson, UConn was always near the top of his list. Perhaps at the very top.

But when he initially made his collegiate decision back in May, Wilson selected St. John’s. The chance for the Bronx native to play for his hometown school was just too much to resist.

Not even a week into summer courses, however, Wilson already wanted out. He announced he was leaving St. John’s earlier this week, and he will be transferring to UConn.

“My relationship with the coaching staff,” he said, when asked why he chose the Huskies a second time around. “Before I committed to St. John’s, I had a good feeling on my visit in early May. Coach (Kevin) Ollie wanted me just as much as before, once he found out I was transferring. That’s probably the biggest thing for me. He feels like even if I sit out this year, I can still get better.”

Since Wilson was enrolled at St. John’s and took summer courses, he is likely to be considered a transfer by the NCAA and forced to sit out a year, per NCAA rules. However, UConn is working on a waiver to get Wilson eligible for this season, at least in part because he didn’t take any fall courses at St. John’s.

Either way, Wilson and his father, Sidney, Sr., are happy to be with UConn.

“The legacy of the program speaks for itself,” Sidney, Sr. said by phone on Friday. “Coach Ollie’s a stand-up guy. A lot of coaches would have taken it personal. But he was very welcoming. He wanted him again. He always wanted him. That never wavered.”

And neither, apparently, did Wilson’s fondness for UConn.

“They were neck-and-neck,” Wilson, Sr., said of the Huskies and St. John’s. “It came down to coming home and being home. Until the whole aspect of home came into it, (UConn was) probably No. 1.”

Wilson’s mother, Pauline, passed away in March, 2015. Sidney, Sr. sent his son up to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire to get away from home – and all the memories that were there – for a while.

The family thought Sidney was ready to return home when he committed to St. John’s.

“St. John’s had great people, a great coaching staff, the facilities were wonderful,” Wilson said. “I just didn’t feel at home at St. John’s. I felt rushed into the decision. I thought being at home would be a great thing, but it turned out it wasn’t.”

Added his father: “The memory of his mother was just a little too much.”

Wilson is a 6-foot-7, ultra-athletic small forward who was the No. 71 overall recruit in the nation, per rivals.com. He could help a young, inexperienced UConn frontcourt this season, if he’s granted a waiver. But if not, he’s still ready to help.



“If I can’t (get a waiver), I’m still excited to get down to Storrs, have a great season and root on my teammates.”

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sid Wilson leaves St. John's; UConn should be back in picture

Sid Wilson has decided to transfer from St. John’s after taking summer courses at the school, and UConn would be one of his logical next destinations.

Wilson, a 6-foot-7 forward from the Bronx, was down to St. John’s, UConn and Texas when he made his decision to join the Red Storm in May. But, according to a source, Wilson was never truly happy at St. John’s from the start of summer classes.

Wilson lost his mother, Pauline, in March, 2015, and that seems to be one of the main reasons he decided to stay close to home.

“But, unfortunately, I recently realized it was not what is best for me at this time to manage adversity in my life,” he said in a statement.

Wilson played three years at St. Raymond’s High in the Bronx before transferring to Brewster Academy, where he planned on spending two years. However, this past spring he elected to re-classify and, ultimately, sign with St. John’s.

Wilson’s primary option at this point would seem to be to sign with another school and sit out a year as a transfer, since he already took summer courses at St. John’s. It’s not unprecedented for players to take summer classes at a college and then return to prep school. In fact, Jakarr Sampson and Ron Patterson did so at Brewster, though there were extenuating circumstances – Sampson didn’t get through the NCAA Eligibility Center, and Indiana had oversigned for Patterson’s recruiting class.

As a full-qualifier who has already taken college courses, it seems unlikely Wilson would be able to return to Brewster or any other prep school.

Stay tuned …

Meanwhile, Jalen Carey has arrived on campus for his official visit to UConn. The Class of 2018 point guard is a highly-coveted recruit for the Huskies.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Some dates to look forward to for UConn fans

There may not be a First Night at UConn this year, but that doesn’t mean the school won’t be doing something to get students and fans revved up for the 2017-18 season.

What that will be remains to be seen, but the athletic department is in the early planning stages of putting together something – no one’s really sure what quite yet.
The main problem, of course, is the venue. While work on Gampel Pavilion’s roof is on schedule and will be completed by the time the schedule begins in early November, it likely won’t be done by the time First Night usually rolls around in mid-October. Hence, no First Night this year.

But be on the lookout for some type of announcement in the coming weeks. What that event will be, where it will be held, who will partake – all questions that remain to be answered.

Work on Gampel Pavilion's roof back in late-June. It's a lot better now.
Meanwhile, Tyler Polley and Eric Cobb, who had other things to take care of over the summer, have arrived on UConn’s campus. The rest of the team, including recent signee Kwintin Williams, who also hasn’t made it to campus yet, will arrive by this weekend. Classes start on Monday.

Here are some concrete dates for UConn fans to mark on their calendars:

Week of Sept. 4 – The AAC should release its schedule sometime this week. UConn's will likely follow a day or two after. The league met with officials from CBS and ESPN last Thursday to lock up some national games. Now, it’s just a matter of going over with athletic directors, coaches, etc. about whether those dates and times work, or if anything needs to be shifted. One complication this year is that Houston and Cincinnati will both be playing all their games away from home due to arena renovations. Houston will play most of its games on the Texas Southern campus but a few at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston, home of the Rockets. Cincy, meanwhile, will play all its games on the Northern Kentucky campus.

Also this week, UConn will be holding a "Meet the Newcomer" event for the press. This will give media types a chance to find out a bit about the new players and tell their stories to interested readers.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 – The annual Husky Run should take place on this date. This year’s route around campus may be a little different, due to construction.

Saturday, Sept. 30 – First practice. Teams begin practicing six weeks before their first game. That actually means the Huskies could start on Friday, Sept. 29, but Kevin Ollie typically likes to start that Saturday morning.

Monday, Oct. 16 – AAC Media Day. This will be held in Philadelphia for the second straight year. The general public probably doesn’t care, but it’s a good time for media to talk to players and coaches from around the league as the season approaches.

Monday, Oct. 30 – UConn’s first exhibition game. No, not against the University of St. Joseph. It’ll be against Merrimack, though not sure if it’ll be in Storrs or Hartford just yet.


Tuesday, Nov. 14 – The Huskies will play Stony Brook in their only previously-unannounced non-conference game. Again, not sure if it will be in Storrs or Hartford yet.

Meanwhile, on the recruiting front, UConn will be getting a visit from coveted point guard Jalen Carey out of New Jersey. The Huskies were in on Carey early so they should feel good about where they stand with him.

Other potential visits over the next few weeks include Tyron Brewer of Mississippi, Keyontae Johnson out of Oak Hill Academy and Andrew Nembhard out of Montverde Academy in Florida.

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