Friday, June 18, 2010

Nothing Iffy About Giffey

Niels Giffey has always been a big Ray Allen fan, even when the former UConn star struggled at times during the NBA finals.

It’s that appreciation for Allen, and many of the other great wing players that have come through Storrs, that helped Giffey, a German native, decide to commit to the Huskies on Friday morning.

“I’m really excited to come to UConn,” said Giffey, who speaks fluent English. “I knew that UConn has a great basketball history. Coach Calhoun is a Hall of Fame coach, they’ve had Ray Allen and plenty of great wings. I like that fact. It’s a good team, a great coaching staff. I really felt comfortable.”

Giffey, who has been on an official visit to UConn the past two days, said he’s slated to graduate from the German equivalent of high school this week and will be on the Huskies’ team this season.

UConn assistant coach Andre LaFleur visited Germany in April to see Giffey play for the Alba Berlin youth team, which is coached by former University of North Carolina player Henrik Rodl. Giffey had attended an adidas camp in the United States a few years ago and attracted interest from several schools, including Louisville, Michigan, Gonzaga and UCLA. UConn was the only school he visited, however.

“I can play positions 1 through 4,” Giffey said. “I’m a very versatile player. I can shoot the ball, run. I like to win, I like to play defense, run the fast break. I’m a team player, and I like to put my teammates into good positions.”

Giffey ran with most of the current Huskies in scrimmages over the past couple of days. We're hearing Kemba Walker really enjoyed playing with him.

Giffey, a Berlin native, said Calhoun and the Huskies’ coaching staff told him he’ll get a chance to see a lot of minutes right away.

“They told me I will get a chance to play my game, to make the team better, just do what I can to make the team run,” he said.

A couple of other things:

***The Huskies now have six freshmen coming in: Giffey, Roscoe Smith, Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander and Michael Bradley. They can do this because they have three seniors graduating (Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards) two players transferring (Darius Smith and Jamaal Trice) and one unused scholarship from last year. Even if the NCAA winds up docking UConn a scholarship or two (a decision that likely won't happen before January), it won't affect any of the incoming freshmen.

***Rodl apparently wanted to keep Giffey to play on his first division pro team in Germany, but Giffey's parents (his dad's a professor, mom's an architect) wanted him to get a college education.

***Giffey is said to have a great feel for the game and a high skill level.

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