Saturday, December 31, 2011

Giffey Finally Gets Some Run

It seems there's always a player that gets a little more run than normal when George Blaney takes over for Jim Calhoun, and it appears that player this season is Niels Giffey.

Although Giffey played nary a second in UConn's Big East-opening win over South Florida on Wednesday, he got 14 minutes of run today and made the most of it with seven points and some effective overall play.

“He probably thought he was going to play (vs. USF) with me coaching, because I’ve always liked Niels, I like his game," Blaney said. "I just didn’t get a chance to get him in the last game. He had a good opportunity tonight. He gave us two 3’s, he gave us two steals, he even gave us a steal that he kicked the ball on that they didn’t call. He had a great box-out on another play and just played very, very well.”

"I was just happy that I had the chance to get involved, without playing down in Florida," the German sophomore said. "I used my minutes (well).”

Giffey had played exactly one total minute in UConn's prior two games and 12 total in the prior four contests. But you're not going to hear him complaining about PT.

"I don’t want to talk about minutes and stuff like that, that’s just not me," he said. "I would not complain about minutes or talk to coach about minutes. If the coaches think I deserve it, then I’ll be happy.”

Still, Giffey admitted he's been a bit disappointed with his playing time recently.

“Sure, because I was working hard over the whole summer. I had a great summer. That injury in the beginning of the season, that really threw me back. Now, I’ve got to just keep on sticking to it and keep working hard. Everybody’s supporting me.”

“I’m always working hard, working on my shots. It’s not always what’s on the court, but it’s what you do after the games, what you do in practice. That gave me a lot of confidence, and I could translate it to the court.”

Giffey figured to get some run today, not only because Blaney likes him but because Roscoe Smith was limited to just four minutes with a sprained wrist. DeAndre Daniels got the start and did some nice things with six points, three assists and decent defense on Red Storm leading scorer Moe Harkless.

Giffey also helped tag-team on Harkless.

“I think he’s a good matchup for me," he said. "I think he’s a harder matchup for some of the bigger guys.”

Giffey has another supporter in Shabazz Napier.

“Niels played well, which is a great deal for us, because we’ve got to fill that 3-spot," Napier said. "DeAndre, Roscoe and Niels, we’re tyring to figure out which one’s better to fit our offense. They’re all great players, but we’ve got to find out that one player. I think Niels got in there and played well.”

*** Napier's favorite baseball player must be Roy Halladay.

"A complete game is the best game for me," he said.

That's why he wasn't overly happy with UConn's 83-69 win over St. John's.

"I’m picky about how good we can play," Napier said. "If we had played 40 minutes straight and won by 25, I’d have been happy. But we played about 32 minutes good and eight minutes terrible."

One thing not lacking in UConn's game was the alley-oop. Napier connected with Andre Drummond for three dunks on lobs that no one else in the building (or the country) could have caught.

“The alley-oop is very important," Napier said. "It not only gets your team going, but it gets your crowd going. That sixth man, the crowd – that’s no joke. That gets you hyped. It gets you that second wind you’ve been dying for. It makes you want to work and work harder.”

Said Drummond: “We noticed in their zone, they put their shortest guy in the back, that’s going to be good for us. Me and Alex, they just throw the ball up, we’re going to get it, because that’s a 6-3 dude guarding a 6-10 and 6-9 power forward. There’s not much they can really do about that.”

Blaney was disappointed Drummond only had three alley-oop dunks.

“I would like to see them do it about 15 more times. I would like to see Andre get in position to do it about 15 more times. He’s still learning how to get in position. We’re trying to teach him how to offensive box out. That’s what he needs to do a little bit more, because he is so effortless about how he can rise up and catch it. He catches everything, he doesn’t miss anything when his hands are around it.”

*** Drummond's New Year's Eve plans? "Sleep."

That's all I've got for now.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

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