We all know that UConn was banished from the postseason
play last season as a result of poor APR scores in the past. But while that was
the harshest penalty the program suffered, it wasn’t the only one.
The Huskies were also restricted on the practice floor
last season as part of their APR punishment. And they were limited on the recruiting
trail, too, a final remnant of the sanctions delivered from the Nate Miles
saga. Now, all of those punishments have been lifted – much to
the delight of Kevin Ollie and his coaching staff.
Last season, the Huskies were docked four hours of
practice time -- from 20 to 16 -- per week as part of their APR penalty. The extra time was
required to be spent instead on “academic activities.”
While having four fewer hours of practice time per week
would seem to put a team at a competitive disadvantage, it actually served as
somewhat of a benefit for UConn. For one, the team was able to concentrate more
on its studies, and by all accounts the Huskies are doing much better in the
On the court, the fewer hours of practice actually helped
keep UConn fresh during the grind of the regular season.
“We learned a lot from last year, where we couldn’t
practice all the time,” Ollie explained. “We had 16 hours where it allowed us
to take a couple of days off here and there. It really helped our guys be
energized and had their bodies in good shape to perform when it counts.”
Ollie will try to balance the lack of restrictions and
more practices overall with keeping his team fresh.
“I’m also going to work the guys hard and get them
prepared for a tough season,” he promised. “We’ve got an out-of-conference
season that’s second-to-none, and I’m very proud of that. We’re going to have
to perform on a big stage, and we’re going to have to perform right away, because
Maryland is no pushover team.”
The Huskies kick off their season on Nov. 8 against the
Terrapins at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. UConn will also face Florida,
Boston College, Stanford, Washington and possibly Indiana in non-conference
The Huskies’ staff has also been hampered by recruiting
restrictions over the past three seasons, stemming from the violations
involving Miles. The staff was limited by 40, from 130 to 90, in off-campus
recruiting days for the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 recruiting periods. The
Huskies had used up all their recruiting days by the time this past April’s “live
period” rolled around, and weren’t able to get out on the road.
And so, when July’s three live periods came along, the
Huskies were re-invigorated.
“It was hectic, but it was good,” Ollie said. “We saw
some great, great prospects. Now, we’re just trying to get some guys up on
campus to finish the deal. It was real good to be out on the road, because we
weren’t able to go out in April. Everybody else was a little lethargic, and we
were all energized because we weren’t able to go out in April.”
Freed from the shackles of any more APR or Nate
Miles-induced penalties, UConn will certainly be re-energized – on the practice
floor and the recruiting trail – moving forward.
Labels: Kevin Ollie, Nate Miles