Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kevin Ollie on Maine; Melvin Swift on UConn

Kevin Ollie spoke a little bit today about Friday night's opponent, Maine, which is 1-6 and lost to NJIT Wednesday night.

"They're gonna play with their backs against the wall. They need a good win, a good performance. They've got some capable players over there, four guys in double digits. We've got to guard the 3-point line."

Obviously, the possibility exists of a letdown for UConn, coming off Monday night's dramatic, emotional, one-point win over nationally-ranked Florida at Gampel.

"I've told (the team), 'Don’t get drunk off success, don’t start reading press clippings. You're a great team, but you're just that far from being a bad team. You've gotta keep working hard, prepare like you’re playing Florida again. I don’t care who’s coming in XL Center, you've gotta play against that imaginary champion every single day."

Maine coach Ted Woodward is a former UConn assistant under Jim Calhoun. He left UConn before Ollie arrived as a player, but the two have maintained a good friendship over the years.

"He's a great man, I spent a lot of time with him recruiting when I was an assistant. Coach (Calhoun) is very fond of him. Hearing stories of them together, it’s great. Anybody that’s been at this beautiful school, he’s part of the family. He’s on the other side now, but he's part of family, just like Coach Pikiell, Coach Moore. Hopefully he can turn this around -- after Friday, though."

*** Spoke briefly today with Melvin Swift, a Class of 2014 forward who cut his final list down to UConn, UMass and SMU today. The Houston native says he'll be visiting UConn (and the other schools) "real soon."

Asked what he likes about UConn, Swift said: "It's a good school and it has good people there ... and I know they have a great basketball team and coaches."

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December 9, 2013 at 6:29 AM 

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