Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drummond the Talk of Storrs


A few notes and quotes from the annual Husky Run, held today at UConn:

Plenty of Andre Drummond talk, naturally. Plenty of praise thrown his way:

"He’s just athletically, physically much different than what you normally bring in," said Jim Calhoun. "He’s 277 pounds, he’s 6-foot-10, 6-10 1/2, quick as a cat, he might be as good a runner as we have on our team. He’s got to learn how to do some more things, but God has certainly gifted him with a great deal of athletic ability. He’ll block shots, he can rebound, he’s rebounding against some of our pros that have come back.”

Added Alex Oriakhi: “His athleticism, that alone really helps. I think he has a chance to be a defensive presence, rebound, block shots and give teams a lot of headaches ... When we play pick-up on the same team, he’s a great passer."

With so much talent around him, Drummond isn't worried about feeling too much pressure on his shoulders.

"It’s a team game," he said. "I know I have my guys behind me and I’m behind them 100 percent. There’s not one person who can’t do anything better than another person. We’re going to be a great team, and we’re going to have a great year this year.”

And, of course, it can't be forgotten that Drummond wouldn't even be at UConn right now had teammate Michael Bradley not given up his scholarship for this season.

“I’m thankful for everything that he did," said Drummond. "Me and Mike have had a great relationship, I’ve known him since I was a sophomore, so, I’m really thankful for what he did.”

Added Calhoun: “We’ll later talk about that in a more structured form. Michael did a lot for the team. Michael stepped up when he didn’t have to and did a great job, utilizing his disadvantage into an advantage for us.”

(Check the post below for times and some other info about the actual 3.4-mile race)

*** Calhoun went several minutes on the Big East/ACC/conference realignment, etc. We'll condense it in one paragraph:

“I have never, ever and never will be anti-Big East. I’m pro-Big East. I would hope things would be worked out in the Big East. But, if they can’t be, and we can find a better place for ourselves, then we would do that.”

*** Like Kemba Walker last year, Shabazz Napier (along with fellow co-captain Alex Oriakhi) hopped up on a stump and addressed the crowd before the start of the race.

“Last year Kemba talked. It was my idea to go up there, say what I had to say," Napier said. "I feel great that a bunch of people who watch basketball are also here to run with us. Before I came here, I never saw that. I never realized how much love they have for us. We’re all Connecticut Huskies. It’s just tremendous how are fans are. We really have the best fans in the country.”

*** UConn commit Omar Calhoun is expected at First Night on Friday. Chris Obepka is a possibility, along with one or two others.

There will be a dunk contest, featuring Oriakhi, Drummond, Roscoe Smith, Ryan Boatright and Jeremy Lamb. Hasheem Thabeet says he might be a "prop" at the contest, but refused to offer any details.

(We'll have some video posted up here later. Stay tuned ...)

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