Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Husky Run Notes on Calhoun, Olander, Purvis, Facey, Boatright, etc.

Unlike last season, UConn actually has a finish line to cross this season. Here's a few of what I found to be some of the more interesting notes and quotes from today's Husky Run:

*** Omar Calhoun was the only scholarship player not to run (other than Tyler Olander ... more on that later). Calhoun had offseason surgery on both hips, but he's in "good condition," according to Kevin Ollie, and was cleared to start playing again about a week ago. He played in some 5-on-5 games with some of the pros who were on campus over the weekend for Jim Calhoun's tribute.

"Kemba, all our pros told me he's playing with confidence," Ollie said. "He got a couple of dunks in the run, so that was good to hear. Just hearing from James (Doran, the team trainer), he's doing everything possible to be ready for that first practice. I think he's a full-go."

*** Olander is still suspended from the team indefinitely. Ollie has no timetable for when he might return.

"I hope that he becomes a better young man from this distraction," the coach said. "That's the first thing and the last thing. I just want him to learn, and hopefully he does that, with the different steps he's taking. He's doing a great job so far, but every day, you've got to win the day. All of us have our vices. Every day, I've got to sacrifice my vice -- I'm not gonna tell you what it is, but I have mine."

Said Ryan Boatright: "Tyler’s gonna be Tyler. We tell him, and Coach told him the decisions he makes are selfish decisions because they hurt the team, not only himself. Because we’re gonna need Tyler to be good. I think him not being able to be around us as much since being suspended, I think it got through to him this time. Personally, I live with him, so I tell him to keep his head and keep working, because we’re gonna need him to win a national championship.”

Niels Giffey on Olander: "I'm just trying to keep him motivated, I go to the gym at night with him a lot and we take a lot of shots. I’m just trying to be there for him, be a good friend to him. He’s still with the team a lot. You’ve got to keep him focused on basketball, even though he’s going through hard times."

"I also told him, you’ve got to see the situation you’re in. You get a lot of media attention. If things like that happened back in Germany, where I grew up, nobody would care about it, to be honest. So, you’ve got to put these things into perspective. He’s not a bad kid, he just made a couple of poor decisions, and he’s got to live with the consequences.”

*** NC State transfer Rodney Purvis finished dead-last in the Husky Run with a time of 29:36 (nearly 10 minutes after DeAndre Daniels' crossed the finish line). He admitted he was dragging afterwards, and Ollie noted that it's been an adjustment for Purvis to get acclimated to the Husky Way.
 
"I’m telling him: ‘Rodney, you’re not playing this year, but you’ve got to make sure you think you’re playing this year, so when 2014 comes on and those curtains open, people are like, ‘Man, this is a whole different guy.’ That’s what I want them to see. But if you wait until 2014, you’ll never be that guy. That’s an important message I’m giving him: You’ve got to play like you’re starting every game. That’s how you’ve got to prepare.”

Purvis admitted things are "way different" in Storrs than they were in Raleigh, N.C.
"I kinda feel like I’m starting back over, getting in shape and things like that. Just getting used to everything. I was never used to waking up at 8 a.m. and having to lift, then getting to class and stuff like that. I was used to lifting after I was done with classes, things like that. No excuses, I’ve just got to get used to everything.”

“I’ve got to challenge myself. In practice and things like that, even the little things – I’m in the gym just about every night, I’ll grab a manager and get him to rebound – I’m just focused on being a good teammate, getting guys better, and when it’s my time to play, I’ll definitely be better.”
Don't take any of Purvis's early struggles as a sign he's not happy here, however.
"I love it here," he said. "I love everything about this school."

 *** Ollie said he hopes to hear from the NCAA on Facey within the next few days, before UConn's first official practice on Saturday. Facey hasn't spoken with the NCAA; all communication with the NCAA has been done through UConn's compliance office.
“It’s difficult," Ollie said. "The same thing I’m saying to Rodney, I’m saying to him: you don’t control this (situation), but you’ve got to think positive about it. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that. It’s tough telling him that.”
*** Asked how he's improved the most over the summer, Ryan Boatright said: “I became a point guard. I think my point guard skills are at an all-time high since I’ve been playing basketball, because all my life I’ve been told to score. Now, I think I’ve got that balance of distributing and getting everybody involved, and getting mine at the same time.”

It's assumed by most that this is Boatright's final season in Storrs, though he's hardly a sure-fire NBA draft pick next June.

“I’ll be a liar if I said I’m not thinking about the NBA," Boatright confessed. "It’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve my whole life, and I’m so close to it … But that’s individual. Right now, my main focus is this team. I know for me to go to the next level, we’re going to have to be good and win games. I tell my teammates all the time, for me to get to where I’m going, I need y’all.”









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