Friday, January 31, 2014

Kevin Ollie: Houston Ruined My New Year's, We Ruined Their Chinese New Year's

Here's my column on Shabazz Napier going back to Charlestown High Friday night to get his number retired. His high school coach, Bridgeport product Steve Cassidy, tells us Napier's clutch, game-winning shot gene first germinated when he was a sophomore. And this column was in no way intended to resemble the one we did in December about Napier's clutchness dating back to his prep school days, either.

And here are a few notes and quotes from Gampel after UConn's dominating, 80-43 win over Houston.

Kevin Ollie:

"They ruined my New Year's, now we just ruined their Chinese New Year's."

We can pretty much stop right there, right? Pretty much the quote of the year right there. But we'll keep going:

(on shutting down TaShawn Thomas to four harmless points)

"They were clamping him from behind, forcing him to get it to the other side. And when he tried to get the ball again, we forced him to go left. We had four guys waiting for him. That's the kind of defense we want."

(on Phil Nolan, who had 10 points -- all in the first half -- and a team-high-tying seven rebounds):

"I think the dunk got him going in the beginning. That's what good point guards do -- Ryan (Boatright) was punching it, you get the big guys in it early, you get 'em a dunk, their whole world changes. Their energy goes up ... you take care of your bigs, especially when they're running like that, and the bigs will take care of you."

(on DeAndre Daniels sitting out)

"It was a little bit of both. DeAndre's a competitor, everybody saw that at The RAC when he came back in. He wanted to play. I listened to James Doran, he's a great athletic trainer. He was trying to get him right, but he just wasn't to the point where we thought he could be effective. We went with Niels (Giffey), give him another week to sit out, because we don't want it to linger. It's a high ankle sprain, so it was just precautionary ... Hopefully, he's ready for Cincinnati. If he's not ready, we've got enough in that locker room, no matter who's out."

"We've got a week off, and now we're going down to the best team in the American Conference, Cincinnati."

By the way, apparently Chinese New Year is on Friday.

Phil Nolan:



Shabazz Napier on needing Daniels back:

"It's super-important. DeAndre's the 'X' factor, he's the best player on our team. When he plays the way he's supposed to play, he makes it easier for everybody."



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