Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Impressions of UConn's Exhibition Debut

Here are my impressions of UConn from its first exhibition game Thursday night, a 78-63 triumph over AIC:

Kevin Ollie: I liked what I saw here. Like his composure – never getting too theatrical but certainly being firm with his team at times. He didn’t have the quick hook of his predecessor that I was never a fan of. His substitution patterns and timeouts all seemed to have a good flow. Certainly seemed completely in control of this team, like he’s been a collegiate head coach for years as opposed to a few weeks.

DeAndre Daniels: Wound up with nearly a double-double (eight points, nine rebounds), but did it very quietly. Still needs to play a bit more aggressively. The numbers looked fine but a lot of his (and, indeed, all of UConn’s) rebounds came in the second half off AIC 3-point attempts with few if any AIC players crashing the boards.

Tyler Olander: Also nearly finished with a rather quiet double-double (nine points, eight boards). He’s 1-for-7 in his UConn career on 3-pointers but was 1-for-3 tonight. While some may question your top big man playing out on the perimeter, I think Olander has a good stroke and can be very effective from beyond the arc.

Niels Giffey: Typical GIffey – solid, if unspectacular.

Ryan Boatright: His defensive pressure made a big difference in UConn’s second-half comeback. Also scored 11 of his 14 points during a 16-0 UConn run early in the latter half that finally gave the Huskies their first lead. Overall a good game.

Shabazz Napier: Shot 3-for-8, got a little chippy with an AIC player and was called for an intentional foul on an AIC breakaway after a bad Boatright turnover. As usual, hit a couple of big shots – including a trey with eight seconds left in the first half that got UConn to within one.

Phil Nolan: Hard to have a rougher college debut, going scoreless and fouling out in just nine minutes. At one point, missed three straight inside hoops that would have given him his first (if unofficial) college basket. Just a bad night, but hardly enough of a sample get anyone worried just yet.

R.J. Evans: Lived up to his billing as a leader and a “glue” player, popping off the bench midway through the first half to score five straight Husky points a one point and provide good defense and tough, aggressive play. His veteran savvy and toughness will make him a very important player this season.

Omar Calhoun: Hard to have a better debut, with 24 points and six boards. Got a bit of an unorthodox shot, but he's not afraid to use it. Certainly doesn’t lack in confidence, hoisting up a team-high `14 shots in a variety of ways – drives to the hole, short jumpers, 3-pointers (3-for-6). Defensively, he’s got some learning to do, no doubt. And his confidence brimmed over with some muscle-flexing antics after a couple of nice hoops. Ollie warned him to cut that out, saying, “That’s not who we are.”

Leon Tolksdorf: Played just three minutes and didn’t score. Blocked a shot but didn’t get credit for it in the box score. I imagine he’ll get more run on Sunday so that Ollie can see more of what the freshman brings.

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