Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mark Twain, Noah Webster ... Jim Calhoun. Some Notes and Quotes from Husky Day

It was Husky Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday. Members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams and football team were on-hand, along with coaches from all three teams. And before that, next door in the legislative offices building, Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma joined the likes of Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Noah Webster in the Connecticut Hall of Fame.

"I think Noah Webster would be very upset with me because I've bastardized so many of the words (in the dictionary)," Calhoun quipped. "Harriet Beecher Stowe probably wouldn't be pleased with the words I use all the time."

Yeah, but who's sold more books?

Anyway, here are some notes and quotes from the day:

*** Kevin Ollie on Enosch Wolf: “It’s a university process, we’re just going forward. We’re still evaluating him as a person. But I think he’s really turning it around, on and off the basketball court. He’s been working out on his own. Off the court, I’ve been hearing some great things about him. I’m not really concerned with basketball right now.”

“I want him to continue to get better, so when he’s in that situation again, he knows how to handle it a little bit better. That’s what he’s doing, and I’m very happy for him.”

Translation: If it was up to Ollie, I'm guessing Wolf will be back for his senior season. But ultimately, it's not Ollie's decision.

*** Regarding next year's schedule, Ollie said the Huskies are "trying to have the same RPI as we’ve had in recent years … That means, going out and getting some games. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

It looks like Stanford, Maryland and the 2K Classic (Indiana, Washington, Boston College) will be UConn's top non-conference matchups next season. The slated game at Washington will likely be pushed back a year, since the teams could meet at MSG in the 2K Classic, and continuing the series with Texas seems unlikely this season, as well.

And don't expect any former Big East mates on the docket, at least for next season, though there has been contact with Providence and Notre Dame.

Said Calhoun: “I think we can be very good next year … I can’t decide if it will be less difficult or more difficult. This year we played the bottom teams … and did a very good job."

*** Shabazz Napier's decision should come either Thursday or Friday.

“I’m in the same boat as you," Ollie joked with reporters. "I’ve got my tape recorder, too. I’m waiting for him, too, I’m right there with y’all. I know he’s reached out to a couple of people, I had him in my office … Hopefully, he makes the right decision at the end, with his heart, with his mind.”

On how Ollie has helped Napier with the process, he said: “The general managers call me, I give him feedback. I imagine other people in his circle know people in the NBA that he’s getting feedback from, too. Hopefully, he gets all the information and makes the right decision.”

Nothing's etched in stone with Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels, either, but both are leaning on returning.

*** Calhoun loves incoming freshmen Kentan Facey, Amida Brimah and Terrence Samuel.

“(Brimah's) got a chance to be really good. He’s dynamic, long. Facey’s just a machine – 100 MPH on every play. And Terrence Samuel is what Kevin really wants. He’s a point guard. Kevin has a viewpoint on point guards that others may not have … I think Terrence would be happy defending, playing the fast break, and he’s strong and tough.”

Calhoun also noted that Facey and Samuel both committed to him and really want to be Huskies. He noted that Samuel "called me while I was laying in bed in late August, saying, ‘Coach, I really want to come to Connecticut.’"

*** Don't be shocked if UConn shows interest in Alabama's Trevor Lacey, a 6-foot-3 guard who led the Crimson Tide in assists and 3-pointers this past season but announced today that he'll be transferring after two years with the team. 

*** Ollie is happy to get Ricky Moore on board to get on the road for the July recruiting period, and glad George Blaney is sticking around in an advisory role, as well.

"He's someone to lean on," Ollie said of Blaney. "He always has the right thing to say, so I’m glad he’s staying onboard, too.”

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