Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lowell Connector

Couple of quick tidbits from today's practice, in advance of tomorrow's exhibition with UMass Lowell:

***Jerome Dyson and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel practiced. Donnell Beverly wasn't here, as he's still battling illness.

Dyson explained why he was held out of Wednesday night's exhibition.

"There was just some paperwork that didn't get in on time," he said. "Once we did get it in, they had to look over it. They said they didn’t get an answer back in time whether I could play or not."

Dyson wasn't about to assign blame to anyone about the mix-up, but he's confident that everything's taken care of and there is nothing else to worry about. There was one fringe benefit to sitting out the AIC game, too.

"I didn't get yelled at," he said, with a smile.

***No new information on Coombs. Jim Calhoun said "he could play tomorrow," but that would seem rather unlikely. Coombs is still awaiting word on his initial eligibility. He wasn't allowed to sit on the bench for the AIC game, but now that he is cleared to at least practice, it's possible he could be on the bench tomorrow.

***Maurice Harkless, a 6-foot-7 junior out of Forest Hills High in Queens, N.Y., was at practice – wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Harkless also visited UConn for First Night a few weeks ago.

Ex-UConn assistant Dave Leitao was also in the house.

*** It'll be a bit of a family affair on Sunday for Alex Oriakhi. His cousin, Kingsley Onyechi, is a bruising senior forward at UMass Lowell.

Oriakhi grew up with Onyechi in Lowell and the two are very tight. They worked out together quite a bit this past summer. Who got the upper hand?

"Oh me, obviously," Oriakhi said. "Even if he did, I'm not going to say it."

Onyechi played for three years at New England College but sat out a year, giving him another year of eligibility. He averaged 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds as a senior at NEC.

He's also about five years older than Oriakhi.

"Age doesn't mean anything," Oriakhi noted. "Once that ball goes up, there's no freshman or sophomores or seniors."

UMass Lowell's point guard, freshman Scotty Tavares-Taylor, played at Tilton (N.H.) School with Oriakhi and Coombs-McDaniel.

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