Saturday, October 16, 2010

Indianapolis ... .500?

Here's what Jim Calhoun had to say (or not say) when asked about meeting with the NCAA committee on infractions on Friday:

"I'm here to coach basketball, and that's what I'm doing right now – and will continue to do that."

And that's about it. When pressed for more details, or if his nearly 14 hours of meetings with the NCAA took longer than expected, he pretty much just repeated the "happy to be here" routine.

The deepest Calhoun got into anything about Friday in Indy was when he veered off-topic a bit while talking about new coaches Kevin Ollie and Glen Miller.

"I saw guys yesterday who I miss, certainly, guys who were here before who I miss as people," he said, referring, of course, to Patrick Sellers and Beau Archibald. "They were great for the program. But, like a lot of things, the changes that occurred – how they occurred is not important – I think both guys have brought in a different kind of perspective, which is always good. The enthusiasm of Kevin, and the mind of Glen, you can't duplicate that."

Ah yes, Ollie definitely brings enthusiasm. That was evident at one point in practice as he preached defensive positioning. Quite frankly, he was as vocal as I've ever seen a UConn assistant coach in my four years on the beat.

"We've kind of put him in charge of that a little more, because he was such a good defender, at the highest level," Calhoun said of Ollie.

Some more notes 'n quotes from today's first practice:

***Calhoun said he arrived back from Indy around 2:30 a.m. and was at Gampel by 6:30for the 10:30 practice.

"I've looked forward to this day, because I think there are some interesting things that could happen. They didn't happen today, so I'm not going to make any kind of proclamation. But, I saw some things today. George (Blaney) keeps preaching patience. If George and I live another 10 years, I think in that 10th year, he'll still be preaching patience to me. I just want it all at once, obviously. That's who we are, and the way I'm built."

Did any particular player surprise Calhoun?

"No. I can't say anybody shocked me, one way or another … You don't know if a kid is just trying to please you when you get on him. Anytime somebody plays to please you, it never works out. They've got to play within what you're trying to do, as opposed to pleasing you personally."

"Kevin's a little impatient, too," the coach added, "which I kind of like about him. There are a lot of things I like about Kevin Ollie, and I like the impatience."

***The Huskies will be back at practice today at 9 a.m. Wednesday is the annual Big East media day at Madison Square Garden. Kemba Walker, Donnell Beverly and Alex Oriakhi are expected to join Calhoun for the trip.

***Oh, Calhoun did add this to reporters about missing First Night on Friday for the first time in his career: "I know you missed me last night, but I have to tell you, I can't reciprocate that feeling."

***Walker didn't think Calhoun was any feistier today than normal.

"He was intense, though," Walker said. "He was very intense today. I don't think it was more than any other time. He was just Coach."

Alex Oriakhi saw a little bit of a difference -- through the eyes of the team's six freshmen.

"I wanted to see how the freshmen react, because now they're getting to see the real coach," Oriakhi said. "He's not the nice guy they saw in the summer and preseason. Now, he's yelling a lot at the freshmen for making little mistakes. Hopefully, they'll learn from that, don't take it personal and just try to get you better."

***Walker on how the freshmen reacted to first practice.

"It's kind of what I expected. First day, a lot of guys were 'The Man' on their high school teams, did whatever they want, just like any other guy coming into college. It's different coming into college."

Freshman Tyler Olander definitely seemed a bit gassed by the end of practice.

"I'm not in high school anymore," he noted. "This is college, you've got to step up and be a man now."

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1 Comments:

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