Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jim Calhoun Fired-Up Today at Practice

Despite his in-game histrionics, Jim Calhoun is usually pretty reserved during practices. Not today.

Calhoun, quite simply, was as vocal and animated as I've ever seen him in a practice in my five years on the UConn beat. The F-bombs flowed like wine, and while he was as hands-on and engaged as I've ever seen him in terms of individual instruction, he was equally as critical.

At times, the team's effort was questioned, it's "softness" pointed out. At other times, poor execution was the focus.

No one was spared -- not even little-used Michael Bradley and Enosch Wolf, the latter of whom Calhoun chastised for essentially getting the perks of traveling with and being on the team while hurting the team in practice.

“Why would I come out dead-ass, if I expect them to respond?” Calhoun asked, rhetorically. “Life’s all about getting up in the morning,” Calhoun said afterwards. “Hopefully it’s a good morning … other times you get knocked on your ass. It’s now how you get knocked on your ass, it’s how you get up and what you do after that. We got knocked on our ass the last couple of games a little bit, and we’ve got to get back on.”

And then, the strangest thing happened. When the 90-minute practice was over, Calhoun seemed happy with the team's overall effort.

“I thought they worked incredibly hard today … we really went hard," he said. "Today it was very good, effort-wise."

But Coach, what about all those F-bombs and ... ah, never mind.

Was today the worst Andre Drummond has seen Calhoun in his brief UConn career? No.

“I’ve been to games before, I’ve seen worse," Drummond said. "He wants to win, you can’t blame him. Who doesn’t like to win?

*** Ryan Boatright won't find it awkward tomorrow night playing against West Virginia, the school from which he de-committed.

“I don’t even think about it, especially coming off two losses," he said. "Just thinking about winning, I don’t even think about that stuff.”

Boatright committed to the Mountaineers, but a few days later fellow point guard Jabarie Hinds did, as well, miffing Boatright and his family. Boatright re-opened his recruitement and soon settled on UConn.

He said he doesn't know Hinds and hasn't talked to him about it.

“It’s in the past," Boatright said. "I’m where I want to be, it’s just the way it went. I’m here. I’m where I wanted to be the whole time. It worked out best for both parties.”

*** Jeremy Lamb is finding that being a preseason first team All-American leads to special attention by opponents. Lamb seems to be getting grabbed and bumped a lot during games to keep him from getting the ball, but Jim Calhoun says he must adjust to it,“because I can guarantee the officials aren’t going to adjust to us.”

*** Niels Giffey gets another start despite going scoreless in 22 minutes vs. Rutgers. Roscoe Smith continues to struggle for playing time as Calhoun searches for a position for him. The coach would like Smith to play more at power forward.

*** Shabazz Napier is still banged up. He practiced Sunday and participated in most drills (though was on the stationary bike at times, as well), but had to be helped back to the locker room by trainer James Doran when practice was over.

*** Drummond was asked how the bus ride home from Pisacataway was last night.

“You heard a lot of crickets," he said. "You couldn’t really hear any talking at all. Everybody was pretty quiet.”

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