Saturday, February 8, 2014

DeAndre Daniels Feeling Good After Practice Today

Some notes 'n quotes from UConn today, after the Huskies practiced at UCF's practice facility:

DeAndre Daniels practiced at full-speed and felt fine. His ankle is "100 percent," and his back didn't bother him today, after getting treatment (and some medication) from trainer James Doran last night.

Of course, Daniels' back felt fine prior to the Cincinnati game and was slated to play -- until shortly before tip-off, when his back spasms flared up and he could barely move.

“We’ll see how it goes," Daniels said at the team hotel. "It’s day-to-day. But the back spasm, it comes and goes, so I have no control over it. I’m planning on getting back out there to compete with my team.”

It was tough for Daniels to have to sit and watch the loss to Cincy on Thursday.

“I feel I help in a lot of ways, defend Justin Jackson better, also rebounding, I think we got outrebounded in the second half, so I feel I could have helped with that.”

Added Shabazz Napier: “We did a lot of things well, but it was just the little mistakes ... Our best player didn’t play and we were down by two points with two minutes left. Even though we wanted to win that game badly, we understand that with DeAndre there, it’s a whole different game. I’m pretty if ended up going, we would have won that game.”

Napier's been calling Daniels the team's best player a lot lately. Daniels just smiles.

“That guy’s the best player, man," he said of Napier. "He’s a fantastic point guard, he does everything for the team, and he’s a great leader.”

Daniels noted that he had some back issues last season, but they weren't as frequent or severe.

"I’ve had it a lot more this year. Last game, I couldn’t really move, so I couldn’t really fight through it.”

*** Meanwhile, Napier was icing his left wrist after practice Saturday. It's a ligament issue, but no need to worry -- it's been bothering him for a week or two and hasn't really affected his play.

“He’s been dealing with that, but that doesn’t stop him from shooting 30-footers," Kevin Ollie joked.

As for Ryan Boatright, who's left shoulder got banged up in the Cincy game: “Boat is a warrior, you know he’s going to keep going out there fighting," said Ollie. "We need his mind and his heart in there together, especially on the defensive end … He’s learned from films, actually, and hopefully keeps going out there and getting better. That’s what we want to see. It’s about us growing, it’s about us growing and responding from that loss.”

*** As for that Cincy game, after which Ollie seemed particularly steamed: “It was just a lack of effort and communication. Those are things we can correct. I was pleased. It wasn’t like something we can’t correct. We let an opportunity slip away. That’s why I was a little snappy at the end of the game, because that was a great opportunity. I don’t care who was (playing), we let that slip away. But we’re going to get another one if we keep working and keep doing the different things that we have to do.”

Ollie on UCF's top player, Isaiah Sykes: “I know he’s going to look for different advantages. Lasan (Kromah) is going to start out on him, but we’re going to have to do it with all five guys. We’re going to have to have 10 eyes looking at him. And we’ve got to rebound.”

*** Amida Brimah had a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds in UConn's 84-61 win over UCF at Gampel on Jan. 11.

“He got on the offensive boards," said Ollie. "If you’re a real big-time rebounder and you see that ball going up, that’s a play for you and you go get it. But we have to reward him. The bigs gotta keep running, but we’ve got to reward him by getting them the basketball.”

“I’m not expecting (20 and eight) or whatever he had, but I’m expecting Level-5 and intensity.”

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