Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kevin Ollie: Niels Giffey Has Been My MVP All Year

It was Niels Giffey Appreciation Day in Storrs on Sunday. Giffey finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and a heaping of praise from Kevin Ollie after UConn's 73-62 win over Stony Brook.

“Niels Giffey was my MVP, and he’s been my MVP this whole year. Not just playing time, but doing all the things that epitomize UConn basketball – doing his thing academically, playing great basketball in practice. He got rewarded tonight.”

“He plays every possession," Ollie continued. "He goes through every drill. Every cut is hard. Every drill, there’s never any moaning, ‘Coach is practicing too long,’ never any of that stuff. It’s, ‘What do I need to do? Once I do it, what else you got for me, Coach? What assignments you got for me? Let me play the toughest offensive man.’ If it’s two minutes, if it’s 40 minutes, I get the same thing from him. I get the effort, the enthusiasm and the energy. That’s every day, whether we practice at 7 a.m. or after Thanksgiving, I get the same thing from him. That’s what I love about him … You get rewarded in life if you act like that.”

And here's what Giffey had to say for himself after his big day:

*** UConn missed 11 of its first 12 shots on Sunday. Then, midway through the latter half, it became the "Rainbow Coalition" at Gampel. UConn hit 8 of 9 3-pointers during one stretch starting midway through the second half to salt the game away. The Huskies hit 10 from Trey Land in the game, their most in a contest in almost exactly a year (Nov. 26, 2011 vs. Florida State in the Battle 4 Atlantis).

*** There was a also mutual admiration society between Kevin Ollie and Steve Pikiell on Sunday.

Pikiell on Ollie: “He’s first-class, he’s a UConn guy, he bleeds blue. He’s a good coach. Hopefully, he’ll have the opportunity to stay here and coach for a long time, continue the legacy here that’s been built. And he’s got a great staff – Karl Hobbs can coach anywhere, Glen Miller is one of my mentors, he can coach anywhere, I love Rickey Moore. You’ve got three point guards. Boy, if they don’t see what’s going on out on the floor, you’re really in trouble. Point guards see the game a little bit differently. Kevin’s a great person, first and foremost.”

Ollie on Pikiell: "I came in right when he left, I know how hard-nosed, I know how dedicated he is. Steve Pikiell is his own man. He’s a hell of a damn coach, and I respect those guys very much for giving us a hard game.”

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