Caught up with Rodney Purvis this morning at Gampel
. He arrived in Storrs with his mother, Shanda McNair, on Sunday, and already feels at home.
"Based off when me and my mom were driving around the
campus, once we first got here, I could tell it was definitely a great
family-oriented place," he said.
Purvis, who started taking summer courses today, met with Jim Calhoun this morning in Calhoun's office.
“Just being in his presence is a great thing for me," Purvis said. "He
couldn’t believe it was me at first. When he first saw my face, he was like, ‘Holy
smokes!’ That was pretty cool."
Purvis very nearly committed to Calhoun after making an official visit to UConn in September, 2011. But the Raleigh, N.C. native wound up choosing his hometown school, NC State.
“I was kind of leaning towards UConn once I left
here. But once I got back home, things kind of switched up a little bit. It’s
just a learning experience for me, that’s how it is. God’s just making my steps
for me as I go along. I feel like this is the place I deserve to be at.”
At the time, rumors were rampant that Calhoun might be retiring. But Purvis said Calhoun's potential departure played no role in his decision 20 months ago.
“This is a great place, no matter what. Coach Calhoun
built this, I knew for a fact he’d still be around. I knew Coach Ollie would be
next in line. Coaching didn’t really have anything to do with it. It was just
me being young-minded, me being a kid, a 17-, 18-year-old kid, and not wanting
to leave my mama, that’s it.”
Purvis's freshman year at NC State didn't quite pan out the way he envisioned.
“There were a lot of distractions, with me being from Raleigh, and just trying my best to adapt to the offense, things like that, that was really it," he said.
As a transfer, he must sit out this season. But he'll be the consummate teammate.
“(I'll) just bring a lot of energy. Basketball’s a lot of fun,
just being around guys who love the game, sharing the same passion as these
guys, because that’s the type of university that Connecticut is. I just can’t
wait to get in the gym with my teammates.”
“Coach Ollie told me he can see me playing 1, 2 and 3. I’m
just going to do whatever I can to help the team win. I just can’t wait until
it’s my turn to play. And while I can’t play, I’m going to cheer my teammates
on and be the best cheerleader for the team."
*** Also ran into Andre Drummond, who will be on campus for the next couple of months to work on finishing his degree. His first class, a health class, began today, and he'll be taking communications classes starting in June's summer class period. He also hopes to take online courses during the season.
Here's the funny thing: if and when Drummond does get his degree, UConn won't benefit from it from an APR standpoint. Why? Because he was a walk-on his freshman year with the Huskies.
Drummond was very happy with his rookie season, despite missing 22 games late in the year due to a fractured tailbone.
“My main goal was to come in, play as hard as I can, let
things come to me and not try to outdo myself," he said. "When my time came, I did what I
needed to do, played with a lot of effort and energy. That’s what Detroit
Drummond returned to play the final 11 games of the season with the Pistons and reports no ill effects from the injury.
“Everything’s great. It was just a freak accident.”
*** We can also report that Tony Robertson has recently earned his degree. And Taliek Brown is close, too. Neither will help UConn's APR either, however, since they left school so long ago.
*** Oh, and don't completely discount the possibility of UConn still playing at Washington this season.
Labels: Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Rodney Purvis