Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jerome Dyson Selected in D-League Expansion Draft

Jerome Dyson was selected by the Delaware 87ers in the 2013 NBA Developmental League expansion draft.

All returning 2012-13 NBA D-League teams were able to protect the rights of up to 12 players each. The player rights available to Delaware in the expansion draft were comprised of unprotected players from 2012-13 NBA D-League team rosters. Delaware was able to select up to 16 unprotected players, with no more than two selections from any NBA D-League team.
 The 87ers, owned and operated by the Philadelphia 76ers, will debut this season in the NBA Development League and play their home games at the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware.
Following are the complete results of Delaware’s 2013 NBA D-League Expansion Draft:

Josh Akognon                            5-11              185                  Cal State Fullerton
Chris Cooper                              6-10              245                  Old Dominion
Jerome Dyson                            6-3                180                  Connecticut
Frank Hassell                             6-8                235                  Old Dominion
Darrington Hobson                    6-7                210                  New Mexico
Kyle Fogg                                  6-3                188                  Arizona
Jeremy Green                             6-4                195                  Stanford
Leo Lyons                                  6-9                235                  Missouri
Ramone Moore                          6-4                190                  Temple
Hamady N’Diaye                       7-0                240                  Rutgers
Reeves Nelson                           6-8                235                  UCLA
Jerome Randle                           5-9                170                  California
Ish Smith                                    6-0                175                  Wake Forest
Willie Warren                             6-4                200                  Oklahoma    
Tyler Wilkerson                          6-8                240                  Marshall
Sean Williams                            6-10              235                  Boston College

Oh yes, and this happened:

But then, it's looked for the past week or so like Chukwu wasn't going to choose UConn, anyway.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bonzie Colson: "UConn Hasn't Really Been Contacting Me"

Terry Larrier enjoyed his visit to UConn on Tuesday. He got to talk to Kemba Walker for a while, too, reports Adam Zagoria.

Also, coveted power forward Devin Robinson will visit UConn on Oct. 19, according to reports.

Finally, UConn has made Bonzie Colson, Jr.'s final list of nine schools. However, it didn't make Colson's first three official visits -- those will go to Pittsburgh (starting Thursday), Notre Dame (late September) and Miami (Oct. 4). Colson did say he'd like to make all five of his allowed official visits, and noted that Florida State has been coming hard after him lately, as well.

The Huskies seem to be biding their time with Colson, an undersized (6-foot-5) power forward -- perhaps waiting until other options like Larrier, Robinson or Abdul Malik Abu make their decisions.

"UConn really hasn't been contacting me," Colson, who made an unofficial to Storrs earlyl in the summer, said on Wednesday evening. "They wanted me to go on an official, but I haven't heard from them. I'm trying to contact Coach (Kevin) Ollie and Coach (Glen) Miller, but they're waiting for the right time, I guess."

It remains to be seen if that time may become too late at some point.

"I always wanted to go to UConn, it was always one of my dream schools," Colson said. "The two other (visits) are still open. I'm going to have to sit down and decide which ones to take."

Waiting until my visits are done, still talking to coaches now. I want to do my five visits, just for experience.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Former UConn Recruit Xavier Rathan-Mayes Ineligible This Year at Florida State

A little over a year ago, UConn fans were dismayed that Xavier Rathan-Mayes chose to go to Florida State rather than UConn. The talented Class of 2013 guard had cancelled a slated visit to Storrs in order to study for his SAT's, he told me, and soon afterwards chose FSU, alma mater of his father, Tharon (a New Haven product).

Turns out, Rathan-Mayes' rejection of UConn may have been a blessing in disguise. Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton announced on Monday that Rathan-Mayes will be ineligible for this entire season. Citing a source, Jeff Borzello of says that the NCAA did not accept an entire year of credits from a school Rathan-Mayes attended in North Carolina.

Tough break for the kid and for Florida State, but for UConn, perhaps a bullet dodged.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

The Top 15 Plays from This Year's Greater Hartford Pro-Am

I don't normally get too into this kind of stuff, but this was sent to me on Twitter, and it's pretty cool.

Personally, I think No. 2 (the dunks by Lamonte Ulmer and the alley-oop between the Saunders brothers) should have been No. 1. Also thought Bobby Moore's great move at No. 7 should have been higher, but maybe that's some New Haven bias.

Anyway, here are the top 15 plays of the Greater Hartford Pro-Am this summer, in a well-done video:

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Breaking Down UConn's 2013-14 Schedule

UConn's full 2013-14 schedule was released today. Kevin Ollie called his out-of-conference schedule "second-to-none," and while that's open for debate, there's no doubt UConn will face plenty of quality opponents, both in and out of conference, this season. By my count, five opponents (Indiana -- assuming they meet in the 2K Sports Classic -- Florida, Louisville twice, Memphis twice and Cincinnati twice) could be preseason Top 25 picks this year.

Anyway, here's UConn's regular-seson schedule, with breakdowns of each opponent (the Huskies will also host exhibitions with Southern Connecticut on Oct. 30 and Concordia University on Nov. 4):


  • 8 -- Maryland (6:30 p.m. at Barclays Center, Brooklyn): Terps were NIT semifinalists last year behind 7-foot-1 center Alex Len, who was No. 5 overall pick in draft. Now led by Dez Wells, who's suing Xavier for wrongful expulsion after a bogus July, 2012 sexual assault charge led him to be kicked out of school.
  • 11 -- Yale: First time Huskies face Bulldogs in 10 years (Nov. 17, 2003). Watch for Stratford's Brandon Sherrod, who led Greater Hartford Pro-Am in scoring this summer.
  • 14 -- Detroit (7 p.m.): First game of 2K Sports Classic. Detroit has won only prior meeting (67-61 in second-round NIT game). Titans were 20-13 and an NIT team last year and are led by guard Jason Calliste.
  • 17 -- Boston University (noon): Second 2K Sports Classic game. Terriers return all five starters and top seven scorers from last year's 17-13 team, including first-team all-America East guard D.J. Irving.
  • 21 -- Boston College (7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden): First meeting since BC's departure from Big East to ACC led to nastiness between Jim Calhoun and ex-BC AD Gene DeFilippo. Huskies own 54-35 all-time advantage and have won 28 of last 31 meetings, including 23 in a row at one point.
  •  22 -- Indiana or Washington (5 p.m. or 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden): Hoosiers lost a lot but still have sophomore Yogi Ferrell and a terrific incoming freshman class, led by big man Noah Vonleh.
  • 26 -- Loyola (Md.) (7 p.m.): Greyhounds went 23-8 overall last season and earned second straight postseason berth (to Tournament).

  • 2 -- Florida (7 p.m.): Billy Donovan's Gators lost top three scorers from Elite Eight team but have plenty of talent returning, led by Patric Young. Just second time schools will ever meet and first time in Connecticut (though Florida did play at Yale last season!).
  • 6 -- Maine (7 p.m.): Black Bears are coached by former Calhoun assistant Ted Woodward.
  • 18 -- Stanford: (9 p.m.): Cardinal went 19-15 and were an NIT team last year.
  • 22 -- Washington (at Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle): Could be the second Battle of Huskies in less than a month, as teams could meet in 2K Sports Classic. Washington features Mike Anderson, a 6-5 junior guard out of Hartford's Weaver High.
  • 28 -- Eastern Washington (1 p.m.): Craig Ehlo, the former NBA guard best known for being constantly posterized by Michael Jordan, is an assistant coach
  • 31 -- at Houston (9 p.m., Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston): Huskies first-ever American Athletic Conference game is New Year's Eve in Houston.

  • 4 -- SMU (2 p.m., Moody Coliseum, Dallas): Larry Brown may have a sleeper team on his hands in the Mustangs, who return all five starters from last year's 15-17 overall team.
  • 8 -- Harvard (7 p.m.):  Crimson won third straight Ivy League title last season and again appear to be the team to beat in league.
  • 11 -- Central Florida: Like UConn, Knights were barred from last year's postseason, though not due to low APR scores but rather for recruiting violations.
  • 16 -- at Memphis (7 p.m. at FedExForum, Memphis): Tigers could give Louisville, UConn run for their money for AAC title. Led by point guard Joe Jackson, who averaged 13.6 points per game last season.
  • 18 -- Louisville (9 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion): An ESPN College GameDay presentation and certainly the Huskies' marquee home game of the season, as Rick Pitino's defending national champions invade Storrs.
  • 21 -- Temple (7 p.m.): Owls could be a bit down after last year's 24-10, NCAA tourney third-round season. But don't ever count a Fran Dunphy-coached team out.
  • 25 -- at Rutgers (7 p.m., RAC, Piscataway, N.J.): New coach (Eddie Jordan), new AD (Julie Hermann) as Scarlet Knights try to undo stain of Mike Rice before heading off to Big 10.
  • 30 -- Houston (9 p.m.): UConn is 2-0 all-time against the Cougars.

  • 6 -- at Cincinnati (7 p.m., Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati):  Bearcats could be a Top 25 team, and Sean Kilpatrick should be in the running for AAC Player of the Year.
  • 9 -- at UCF (6 p.m. at CFE Arena, Orlando, Fla.): Huskies lost to Knights on Nov. 25, 2011 in Bahamas.
  • 12 -- USF (7 p.m.): Big East holdover boasts tough guard Anthony Collins, who plays as low to the floor as anyone you'll see.
  • 15 -- Memphis (noon): UConn's played Tigers just once before, losing on Nov. 16, 2007.
  • 20 -- at Temple (9 p.m., Liacouras Center, Philadelphia): UConn hasn't played Owls since 1965.
  • 23 -- SMU (2 p.m.): UConn's only prior game against Mustangs was also in 1965 (an 80-68 Husky loss).
  • 26 -- at USF (7 p.m.): Huskies' loss last season in Tampa was just second time Bulls have beaten them in 12 tries.

  • 1 -- Cincinnati (noon): Bearcats have beaten UConn two of the last three and four of the last seven times they've played.
  • 5 -- Rutgers (7 p.m.): UConn has beaten Scarlet Knights 20 of the last 22 times they've played.
  • 8 -- at Louisville (2 p.m. at KFC Yum Center, Louisville): A tremendous way to end the American Athletic Conference's first regular season. Could be battle for conference player of the year (Shabazz Napier vs. Russ Smith), too.
  • 12-15 -- American Athletic Conference Championship (FedExForum, Memphis): After a one-year break, Huskies return to postseason play.

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Source: Terrence Samuel is Good to Go at UConn

Nothing's official yet, but according to a source, Terrence Samuel has been cleared to enroll at UConn.

The point guard out of Brooklyn's South Shore High School was set to take courses this summer, but wasn't able to after the NCAA Eligibility Center had some questions about a class he took. So Samuel took a different one this summer, and apparently everything is fine.

As for Kentan Facey, that could take a little longer. Since basketball is a winter sport, the NCAA is largely taking up eligibility cases for fall sports (Johnny Manziell, anyone?) right now, meaning Facey's could be put on the back-burner. He can enroll at UConn for fall courses, however. Samuel wasn't able to enroll until taking this summer's course.

Meanwhile, UConn's entire 2013-14 schedule should be released this afternoon. All opponents and dates will be final, though some times and sites are still to be determined.

The American Athletic Conference is releasing its league schedule today at 3 p.m.

Abdul Malik Abu is Visiting UConn Today

Abdul Malik Abu, the highly-touted Class of 2014 power forward from Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, is visiting UConn today. He was originally slated to visit this weekend.

The 6-foot-8, 235 pound Abu has listed UConn, Providence, Florida and NC State as his final four schools. He had already visited the other three. There is thought that he could be a package deal with AAU teammate Jared Terrell, who has not listed UConn as one of his finalists. PC is the only school to make both players' lists, but there are some who feel a package deal is becoming less likely.

UConn also made Terry Larrier's final six and he is reportedly set to visit Storrs next week. Point guard Quentin Snider will be making an official Sept. 20-22, and Paul White, a 6-8 forward out of Chicago, will visit the following weekend.

UConn is also reportedly making an in-home visit to White on Sept. 11.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Kevin Ollie Could "Get the Dog Out" of Quentin Snider if he Chooses UConn, Says Snider's Dad

Quentin Snider had a phone conversation with Kevin Ollie last night, and he liked what he heard, according to his father, Scott.

"We both like Coach Ollie," Scott Snider said by phone on Monday. "We watched (UConn) last year a couple of times on TV, he really lets his guards go. That's kind of what we're looking for."

Snider added that his son got to know Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier at a couple of camps (CP3 and LeBron James) this summer.

Quentin will make an official visit to UConn on Sept. 21. He'll also take an official to UCLA on Labor Day Weekend and make unofficials to Memphis (Sept. 7) and Illinois (Sept. 28). Basically, the family is saving their officials for visits that require a bit more travel from their Louisville home.

Quentin Snider de-committed from Louisville a few weeks ago. He had committed to the Cardinals as a high school freshman, but since then Louisville had added a bunch of other guard recruits. So, Snider felt it was better to look elsewhere.

Should Snider, a Class of 2014 point guard, elect UConn, he knows he may not see a lot of minutes right off the bat, with Rodney Purvis and possibly Terrence Samuel and even Boatright still there for the 2014-15 season.

"There's gonna be some guys to compete with," Scott said. "It was a little different at Louisville, where he'd have to compete with five or six guys. At UConn, Rodney Purvis will be eligible, Boatright and Terrence Samuel -- if he makes it he'll be there, we don't know what's going on with that. We know there'll be some competition. Hopefully he'll be able to play by his sophomore year. We think he can get a few minutes as a freshman, if he works hard."

(According to a source, Samuel should find out over the next day or two whether he can enroll in classes at UConn next week.)

And hard work is a cornerstone of Ollie's program, something Scott Snider noted in saying Ollie should be able to "get the dog out of him."

That doesn't mean Quentin dogs it or coasts from time to time.

"Quentin doesn't coast," Scott said, "but he won't start off real aggressive. He'll feel the game out and get more aggressive as the game goes on. I think Coach Ollie can bring the dog out of him on the defensive end of the floor and make him a great defensive player."

Scott said Quentin will definitely make all his visits before deciding, and will save his three other officials for now, though he may not use any of them. He's talked to Indiana but hasn't received an offer from them yet. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, who's known Quentin since working with him at Louisville basketball camps several years ago, has suggested Quentin visit campus when the team gets back. Michigan State has also shown interest, but hasn't offered.

"There are a lot of schools that have called, and maybe 7-8 that he likes," Scott said. "There's no favorite. I know we both really like Coach Ollie. He's the kind of coach that can get the most out of Quentin."

*** UConn got some more good news on the recruiting front Monday: Terry Larrier has UConn as one of his final six schools, and is reportedly set to visit Storrs next week.

And UConn has also made the top five of Paul White, a 6-8 forward out of Chicago who broke his arm in July at the Peach Jam. White will make an official visit to UConn Sept. 27-28, the weekend after Snider's visit.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quentin Snider to Visit UConn on Sept. 20

Quentin Snider, a Class of 2014 point guard who recently pulled out of his commitment to Lousiville, will make an official visit to UConn on Sept. 20, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. He'll also visit UCLA on Aug. 31, Memphis on Sept. 7 (unofficial) and Illinois on Sept. 28 (also unofficial).

Here's what Snider's father, Scott, told the Courier-Journal about his son's interest in the Huskies:

"Quentin has always liked UConn. He was a big Kemba Walker fan when he was there. It's just another one where he just hit it off on the phone with coach (Kevin) Ollie. He said he wanted to go visit. Quentin has talked to them mostly (about the Huskies' point-guard needs). I know they run a lot of three-guard offenses."

Snider had committed to Louisville as a freshman. Since then, Rick Pitino & Co. have recruited numerous other top-notch guards, so Snider apparently figured it was best to search elsewhere.

Elsewhere, Adam Zagoria reports that UConn will get a visit soon from 6-foot-8 Class of 2014 forward Terry Larrier. He'll also visit Florida, Florida State, Miami (Sept. 7) and VCU (Sept. 13). No date was given on the UConn visit.

And according to the Hartford Courant, UConn will also be getting a visit from Abdul Malik-Abu on Aug. 24.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UConn Will Host Detroit, BU in 2K Sports Classic

As part of the 2K Sports Classic, UConn will host Detroit on Nov. 14 and Boston University on Nov. 17. Win or lose those games, the Huskies will then face Boston College on Nov. 21 at Madison Square Garden, followed by either Indiana or Washington on Nov. 22 at MSG.

Here's the press release sent out by UConn:

An opponent that the UConn men’s basketball team has met just once and another that has a history with UConn which dates back 83 years will be on the Huskies’ schedule in 2013-14 as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
The University of Detroit and Boston University will be UConn’s first two opponents in the Classic, visiting UConn on Nov. 14 and 17, respectively, as the entire 12-team field was announced Tuesday afternoon.
It was previously announced that UConn will meet Boston College, while Indiana will challenge Washington in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The third-place and championship games will be held Friday night, Nov. 22, at Madison Square Garden.
Detroit and UConn will meet on Thursday, Nov. 14, at either Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center, with a starting time and television coverage to be determined. The teams have only met once before, with Detroit defeating UConn, 67-61, at Gampel Pavilion on March 18, 2001, in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Titans are coming off a 20-13 record and an NIT berth last season. They return two starters, led by guard Jason Calliste.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, the Huskies will play host to Boston University, also with the venue and starting time to be determined. That game will be televised by ESPNU. In contrast to its history with Detroit, UConn has played Boston University, a former Yankee Conference colleague, 53 times, with UConn holding a 41-12 edge, in a series that dates back to the 1930-31 season. The teams have only played once in the last 16 years, however, a 92-64 UConn win on Dec. 2, 2009, in Hartford.
The Terriers have high expectations for 2013-14, with all five starters and their top seven scorers returning from last season’s 17-13 team. Guard D.J. Irving was a first team all-conference selection, while swingman Dom Morris was a third-team pick.
Regardless of the outcome of the two games, UConn will move on to Madison Square Garden the following week. The Huskies will take on Boston College on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., with Indiana and Washington meeting in the second half of the doubleheader. Both games will be televised by ESPN2.
On the following night, the consolation game will begin at 5 p.m. (ESPNU), with the championship game immediately afterward (ESPN2).
The remainder of the field for the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project includes Toledo and Florida Atlantic at the Boston College regional, LIU Brooklyn and Stony Brook at the Indiana regional, and UC Irvine and Eastern Washington at the Washington regional.
Tickets for the championship round games in Madison Square Garden are on sale now and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through

Monday, August 12, 2013

Roy Williams: "I Can't Even Fathom" Job Jim Calhoun Did at UConn

Jim Calhoun's Charity Golf Classic was held Monday at The Golf Club of Avon, and it brought out plenty of sports celebrities.

Roy Williams, Billy Packer, Kevin Ollie, Scott Burrell, Sterling Sharpe, Mark Schlereth, Glen Miller, Karl Hobbs, Tom Moore, Travis Knight and Patrick Sellers were among those playing. Caught up with Williams for a few moments before he teed off, and here's what he had to say.

"We do go back a long ways. Jimmy and his staff from Northeastern came to visit with Coach (Dean) Smith when I was an assistant at North Carolina about 100 years ago, it seems like. I got to know him then, then followed his career. We've been great friends when I was at Kansas and at North Carolina. We did a tour of duty for USA Basketball in Argentina one time. I just wanted to come up here and honor him and help him do what he wants to do."

(on if Calhoun appears happy in retirement)

"You never know with Jimmy. I thought it would take a forklift to get him off that bench. I think it's great. He had health concerns, but right now he appears to be great. He still talks a different language. I can't understand most things he says, he can't understand most things that I say, so we're OK."

(on the job Ollie did this past season)

"I recruited Kevin when coaching at Kansas. Kevin really did a nice job. He's gonna be fine."

(on how Calhoun built a program from nothing to national prominence at UConn)

"I can't speak to it. I've been very fortunate. I've coached at Kansas and at North Carolina. When I got to Kansas, we were on probation, when I got to North Carolina, they had had some problems, lost 37 games the two previous years. But ... Jimmy came to Connecticut, people knew where the state was but they didn't know if they played basketball or not. The job he's done at Connecticut -- and he did well at Northeastern, too -- to put this program where it went, to win three national championships ... I can't even fathom what he did."

(on scheduling UConn in the future)

"I've played everybody. We played UConn my first two years at North Carolina, we played UConn while I was at Kansas. I'll schedule anybody and everybody."

*** Ollie remembers being recruited by Williams. He cancelled that a recruiting visit to Kansas back in the early 1990's, however, and took trips to UConn and Arizona instead. Kansas wound up with another pretty good point guard out of L.A.: Jacque Vaughn.

“He’s always been a great friend of mine," Ollie said of Williams. "When I got my first assistant coaching job, he was right there on the recruiting trails, helping me out. He’s always had a special place in my heart. Great coach, and I can learn a lot from him.”

*** Calhoun just had knee replacement surgery six weeks ago. He wanted to play the tournament, but wound up deciding to only hit shots from 150 yards and in, not wanting to put any extra torque on his new right knee. (Calhoun's no longer bow-legged with his right leg; his left still is).

Calhoun noted that it's the respect he gets from opposing coaches that he treasures as much as anything (he also dropped hints that John Thompson, Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski may have some sort of contributions to the Sept. 22 event at Gampel Pavilion that will honor Calhoun).

“I never try to get love from a lot of other coaches, I try to get respect," Calhoun said. "If you can get friendship, that’s great. I have a lot of respect for Roy Williams. I think he’d probably want that from me. You don’t go into this to make friends. You make friends with your players -- eventually -- but you go in to get respect from people that you respect. That’s the most important thing.”

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Doug Wiggins with a Monster Dunk at Greater Hartford Pro-Am

Former UConn guard Doug Wiggins had the highlight-reel dunk of the day on Saturday at the Greater Hartford Pro-Am, throwing one down over two-time Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year Tim Abromaitis, the Farmington resident who played professionally in France last year.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

UConn is Finally Free of APR, Nate Miles-Induced Penalties

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 classroom.

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.”

He’ll take that into consideration this season as the Huskies – and all men’s college basketball teams – will actually have more days to practice this season. New NCAA rules allow men’s teams to begin practice 42days prior to the official start of the regular season (which is Friday, Nov. 8). Teams can hold 30 practices over those 42 days, beginning on Sept. 27. (UConn is still expected to hold its First Night festivities in mid-October as usual, though nothing's official yet).

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 games.

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.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kentan Facey Could Face Stiff Penalty for Being a Good Student Who 'Graduated' Twice

In the eyes of the NCAA, Kentan Facey may have graduated from high school twice. Instead of that being a positive (if somewhat odd) thing, it could be a negative.

According to this blog, which is written by a man who used to be a compliance officer at NCAA Division 1 schools, Facey could have to sit out two years, plus one year as a redshirt, because he may have graduated from high school in Jamaica before moving to Long Island. Jamaica utilizes a British-style education system in which kids graduate earlier than in America via an exam.

According to the NCAA's delayed enrollment rule, athletes are given a one-year grace period after their actual or expected graduation to continue competing without penalty. After that, they are charged one season of competition for each year they competed, plus they must serve a year in "residence" (i.e., as a redshirt).

By the letter of the law, that could mean Facey -- who attended Long Island Lutheran after graduating in Jamaica -- could have to sit out two years, plus one as a redshirt.

But UConn appears to be working with the NCAA on negotiating a much lesser penalty, most likely one that allows him to play right away and have three years of eligibility. That would still seem a bit unfair to Facey, a good student and good kid, but it would be much better than the alternative.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Ollie Concerned, but not Overly Worried, About Eligibility Issues with Kentan Facey, Terrence Samuel

Kevin Ollie hosted the Kevin Ollie Charity Golf Classic on Monday at Glastonbury Hills Country Club. The 27th annual event benefits the Tolland Fund, which helps people with disabilities.

Ollie was asked about the eligibility questions currently surrounding incoming freshmen Kentan Facey, who is at UConn taking summer courses, and Terrence Samuel, who just completed two summer courses back home in Brooklyn and is hoping to be in Storrs in a few weeks.

On Facey:

"There are some eligibility issues with his coming over from Jamaica and going to Long Island. We've just got to discuss things with the NCAA. I don't see it being a problem once he's able to tell his side, why he decided to come over when he did, what was the formality of him being placed in a certain grade, and we're going to go forward."

"I think we've got a great case on our side. I think we'll see him with a UConn jersey on in the fall ... But if we don't, we've got to move on like we always do, take the good with the bad and learn from it, and rally around him and rally around our team."

On Samuel:

"I think he'll be on campus. There are still some NCAA issues going on. I think he's providing the NCAA with some great tools to go forward. He's doing a great job. He had to take a couple of summer courses over. I think he's completed those, and we're going to send those to the Eligibility Center next week, and hopefully we get a good outcome from that."

"I don't feel that he's not going to be here in the fall. I really feel he's going to be here and everythying is going to work itself out, because of the dedication he's done. We'll do our part, but he's really done the dedication and putting a situation behind him and going forward, thinking positively. Sometimes you've got to duplicate some things to satisfy the other partners, and that's what he had to do. He accepted that challenge, and I think he's going to move on from it and be a better person."

Ollie talked about the coaching staff's recent recruiting trips during three "live" periods in July:

"It was hectic, but it was good. 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."

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Friday, August 2, 2013

UConn Looking into Possible Eligibility Issues with Kentan Facey

When Terrence Samuel had to stay back in Brooklyn rather than attend summer classes at UConn due to some apparent questions about a high school class or two, it raised some eyebrows.

Now, UConn is working on an eligibility situation with another one of its incoming freshmen from New York.

Apparently, Kentan Facey's eligibility has come into question due to an issue that's been labeled by multiple sources as "international." The problem doesn't appear to have anything to do with Facey's academics or the like, but rather is a "bureaucratic" snafu of some sort. 

Facey was born in Jamaica and came to America about three years ago.

Impossible to tell how much (if at all) this threatens Facey's availability to play this season, but obviously it's a situation to monitor. 

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Tyler Olander Explains Spring-Break Arrest, "Disappointing" Junior Season

Tyler Olander's a good kid, a good basketball player ... and not a very good rapper.

Not all of that may have been apparent last season, when he struggled through what he termed a "disappointing" junior campaign, then compounded things by being arrested down in Florida on spring break. Oh, and then there was that rap video (a little more on that later).

On Friday, Olander, DeAndre Daniels and new teammate Lasan Kromah were down at the Madison Hoop Dreams Basketball Camp, taking questions from campers and signing autographs. Afterwards, I asked Olander about the spring break incident.

"Wrong place, wrong time," he said. "Basically, all the UConn people were staying in two hotels at the same time. You needed a wrist band to get in the hotel. My girlfriend was in the hotel, I wanted to get up there with her and it was past the hour, so they wouldn't let me up."

Olander was arrested on trespassing charges. He was allowed to enter a pretrial diversionary program, and the charges were dropped.

The punishment from coach Kevin Ollie probably stung more. Olander was barred form the UConn locker room and from team activities for a month. He was also stripped of his captaincy, though Ollie told him that he could win it back.

Olander, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright served as team captains last season.

Olander is still recovering from surgery on his broken left foot. He's been doing a lot of poolwork and was cleared a couple of weeks ago to do agility work on the basketball floor. He's probably still a few weeks away from being cleared for basketball activities, but is 100-percent confident he'll be ready once practice starts in mid-October.

As for last season: "Disappointing. Myself and the coaching staff expected a lot more of me, to have a bigger year. But that stuff happens. Sometimes, hard work doesn't pay off right away. I've just got to stick to it, hopefully my senior year will be a lot better. I really just want us to be successful. Maybe it'll be something like what we did in my freshman year. It doesn't really matter how I do, as long as our team has success like that, that would be special to me."

Olander is more of a face-up four man than a five, and perhaps he'll get to do more of that this season.

"I'd prefer that, I feel more comfortable. But, whatever the team needs. If I need to play the five, four, whatever, it's no problem. I think Amida (Brimah) will come in and help us. He's a tremendous shot-blocker, Kentan (Facey) is coming along in the weight room, getting stronger. Phil (Nolan) also will be good. I think with me and Phil in there, we can alternate between the four and the five, and depending who gets down the court first, who's in what position. We've got a lot of options."

Oh yes -- as for that video of Olander rapping that went viral (but no longer appears available anywhere, much to his delight, no doubt)? Seems he and Enosch Wolf were just having some fun on their last day in the Virgin Islands after the Paradise Jam last November, recorded the video and, somehow, it went viral.

He's caught some predictable flak from teammates.

"They just tell me, I should look for a different career option," Olander said with a smile, "and that (rapping) probably not the right path for me to take."

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The American's Schedule Still Being Formulated; Changes in NCAA Bracketing Guidelines

Don't expect the American Athletic Conference to release its men's basketball league schedule any time before the end of August, at the earliest.

The league's TV partners are in the process of determining which games it wants to televise and when, so until that is completed, there will be no publicly released AAC schedule. Plus, as the Big East used to do, the conference is waiting for the NBA schedule to come out before it can book certain games. Granted, there is only one NBA arena in this league (Memphis) as opposed to several in the Big East, but it still has to be taken into account.

So don't expect UConn to release its schedule much before September -- which is pretty much the same timeframe as in years past.

*** Elsewhere, the NCAA men's basketball committee announced some changes to its bracketing procedures today. Nothing major. It mostly has to do with teams from the same conference being able to meet earlier in the tournament than in the past, in certain situations:

INDIANAPOLIS — The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has altered the guidelines for placing teams in the bracket of the men’s basketball tournament. The change is based on feedback from NCAA schools, conferences and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), along with a desire to protect the integrity of the overall seed list.
One of the changes addresses how soon teams from the same conference can play each other in the tournament, which will be based on the frequency with which they met during the regular season and postseason conference tournament.
This means that teams from the same conference that played only once during the season can now face each other as early as the third round of the championship. Subsequently, teams from the same league that met twice during the year will not potentially play each other until the regional semifinals. Also, teams from the same league that played each other three times during the course of the season cannot play until the regional championship game.
The previous guidelines did not allow more than two teams from a league to be in the same region unless nine or more teams were selected from one conference. This has only occurred twice in the history of the championship (Big East with 11 teams in 2011 and nine in 2012).Under the new principles, each of the top four teams selected from a conference will be placed in separate regions, only if they are seeded on the first four lines. This replaces the principle that separated the top three teams from a league regardless of the teams’ placement within the bracket.
“It is important we avoid the top teams from leagues receiving multiple bids to the tournament from playing one another when they are seeded in the first quadrant,” said Ron Wellman, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Wake Forest University. “But after those first four lines are seeded, we want to remain as true to the seed lines as possible. Too often we have had to move teams up and down a line because we have been limited by our principles on teams from the same league. These changes will give us permissions we have not had previously.”
There have been 18 instances in championship history of a conference placing seven or more teams in the tournament, with 12 of those coming since 2007. During the same timeframe, an average of ten teams per year have moved up or down at least one line on the bracket.
“Some of the movement has been a result of trying to place teams in the First Four the past three years but much of it has been caused by conference-related restrictions,” said Wellman. “We have seen teams go from 8-line to the 6-line and we have had several brackets that saw as many as 13 teams move up or down one line. This has an impact on a number of teams, not just the teams that are moved. Now we have given ourselves added flexibility and permissions. We’ll certainly attempt to avoid league matchups, but we are going to honor the overall seed list and keep more teams on the lines they belong based on the committee’s evaluation and voting. Our research included reconstructing brackets from the last few years and the new principles have significantly reduced, and in some cases completely eliminated, teams moving from their seed.”
The committee also altered an additional consideration for rematches of non-conference regular-season games. Those will be avoided in the First Four and in the second round, if possible. To give itself even more flexibility, the committee may relax any principle in the event that two or more teams from the same league are among the last four at-large teams selected to the field and thus will participate in the First Four.
“As part of our mission, this committee will always try to improve the process,” Wellman said. “We believe these changes do just that.”