Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From Vermont to Hawaii

A few notes 'n quotes from today's availability with UConn:

***Kevin Ollie will see a doctor tomorrow to determine whether he'll be able to make the trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. Ollie's wife and kids were planning to make the trip, so presumably the family's travel plans hinge on what the doctor says tomorrow.

***UConn will bus up to Boston and stay overnight on Thursday, then make the 11 1/2-hour flight to Hawaii out of Logan Airport on Friday.

Jim Calhoun doesn't want the Huskies leaving Wednesday night. Translation: UConn can't look past Vermont tomorrow at the XL Center (7 p.m.).

"You don't want to get on a plane facing the field that you're facing in Maui, coming off an 'L,'" Calhoun said. "That would not be a good thing. Once you get to Maui, I think the Wichita State game, for both teams, is pretty important."

Vermont is a bigger team than Stony Brook, and quite probably better. The Catamounts snapped Siena's 38-game home winning streak on Saturday night, 80-76.

"They've got some size, so it'll be a step up, at least physically, (from Stony Brook)," Calhoun said. "They went to Siena and beat them before 8,000 people, so they're a pretty good basketball team."

A victory tomorrow night would certainly help the Huskies enjoy their long flight to Hawaii a lot more.

"For them it'll be a lot better trip over, I can guarantee that," Calhoun quipped. "It'll be a lot easier to walk around the plane. And it's an 11 ½-hour flight. From a cordiality standpoint, it'll be a lot better, sociability, a lot better."

"Everybody says, 'you're real lucky, going to Hawaii.' Yeah, everybody else is going to enjoy themselves, I'm sure. But to me, it's trying to win three games. That's a difficult task, obviously."

***Starting lineup for tomorrow night: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, TBD and TBD.

***Niels Giffey isn't letting his scoreless debut get him down.

"I think he's been working even harder," Calhoun said. "He had a couple of good exhibition games but didn't have a very good first game. That's going to happen with these kids. It's going to be a roller-coaster ride. It's somewhat predictable, having so many young kids."

Giffey said the thing he needs to work on the most is "the ability to stay focused all game. That's a big thing. It's really necessary to keep your focus, having good balance of being aggressive and looking for your own shot, and being a team player. That's a big difference between U.S. and European basketball, which I have to get used to."

We'll have video of more of Giffey's interview up here in a couple of hours -- including his thoughts on American cuisine (he likes pancakes).

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