Wednesday, January 1, 2014

UConn Players, Coach Take Turns Accepting Blame for Loss to Houston

Give UConn credit for one thing: its players and coach are more than willing to accept responsibility for a loss. Maybe all too willing, as we learned after the Huskies' New Year's Eve loss at Houston.

A sampling:

Kevin Ollie: "We weren't ready to play. That's my fault ..."

Shabazz Napier:

"I didn't bring the energy. It starts with myself. I'm the captain, one of the veterans, and I didn't bring it. No clue why I wasn't playing up to my capabilities. That first half was because of what I was doing which was actually nothing."

He'll get no disagreement from Ollie on that. One of Ollie's more interesting postgame quotes: “Our best player’s got to set the tone. He’s got to come out and play. He can’t have two points. DeAndre (Daniels has) got to play, our starters got to play. That’s why I changed the starting lineup, with guys who want to play. We’ve got to figure out something. That’s my job as coach, to figure it out.”

Ollie also questioned his team's overall toughness.

Ryan Boatright on that issue:

“That’s something coach said, I’m not calling anybody out. All I’m going to do is encourage my teammates and try to get them better. But, if coach said that, he must see a lack of toughness in all of us. I think it needs to start with me and Shabazz. We need to come together and figure out how to get our team tougher.”

And Napier:

"We definitely have a lot of tough guys. He's (Ollie's) just upset and I can't blame him. Like I said, it starts with me. If I don't show my toughness then my teammates are not going to show their toughness. I think everybody on my team is tough. I'll take those guys any time."

"It starts with me and I didn't start the game off the right way."

And so, the Huskies' two best players (Boatright, with 19 points and nine assists, was no doubt UConn's best overall player on Tuesday night) and head coach are all accountable, which is commendable.

Now, they've got to stop tripping over themselves to accept the blame and start doing something about it. It starts in Dallas on Saturday in what could be a very tough game in a tough environment against a good team and a Hall of Fame head coach. We'll learn a little bit more about what the Huskies are made of at SMU.

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Blogger MikeMC said...

You're absolutely right Dave. Shabazz and Boatright are great motor-mouths but I wish they'd both do a better job of getting their team mates involved in the game; and Shabazz is doing exactly what he did too many times last year.....forgetting to play with heart in the first half of games. There is no real toughness displayed by any of the UCONN players over 6'8."
Their ability to rebound is downright pathetic. It could be a long season and UCONN's two "stellar" guards are not impressing any pro scouts these days.

January 1, 2014 at 7:50 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Rebounding is this team's biggest issue. Can't rebound, can't run. Even when UConn appears in position to grab a board, too often the ball bounces off their hands. Gotta be stronger, better hands ... want it more. In truth, Shabazz and Boatright aren't really the problems.

January 1, 2014 at 8:05 PM 

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