Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quotes, Video from UConn's Win Over USF

Real good job of coaching Wednesday night by Kevin Ollie. His second-half adjustments worked: starting Niels Giffey over Ryan Boatright to begin the latter half, going zone for a long stretch. Seemed to light a spark under Boatright, who had 11 points in an 18-0 Husky run.

Of course, didn't hurt that Shabazz Napier was up to his usual heroics, as well, including an inspirational halftime speech.

Here are some quotes and video from UConn's 61-56 win:


(on Terrence Samuel)

“For him to come in and get three steals in eight minutes and change the whole complexion of the game, I just needed some pace in the game. I thought it was a halfcourt game, and I wanted him to come in and wreak some havoc. That’s what he did.”

(on not starting Boatright in the latter half)

“Just shaking it up. You’ve got to do that as a coach sometimes. Nothing against Ryan, I just wanted to get some defense in there. I wanted to get a bigger lineup in there, so we could switch a lot of their downscreens with Rudd and a couple of other guys that they had.”

“Shabazz just took over the game like an All-American should. He was an All-American tonight. What he’s done in practice before this game tonight was unbelievable. He’s getting us ready, and I think everybody’s falling in line with his leadership.”

“It’s not the end of the world if we lost to USF, but it’s huge.”

(on Niels Giffey, who had 11 points and five boards)

“He’s been my rock the whole season. You know how much I love Niels. He earned every minute. I’ve got to play the guys that are going to be tough, that are going to give me those gritty rebounds. That guy gets dirty every night for me, and I appreciate him for that.”


“I feel like I always show him something in practice. But tonight, I feel I showed him I can play some ‘D,’ play with passion.”

(on Napier's speech)

"He told us we’ve got to play better than that. No matter how many shots you miss, you’ve got to shoot with confidence. He said he loved us and we’re going to make it to the championship. And we all believed him. We came out and got the victory.”

“He always says something a little here and there, but his emotions were into it today.”

“He said we’re going to go to the championship, we’ve just got to play the same way. If you’re missing shots, you’ve got to shoot it with confidence.”

(on his relationship with Napier)

“Me and Bazz, we spend a lot of time together. We come to the gym a lot at night, we go out to eat together. He’s like my mentor, I guess you could say.”

“He said don’t go home this summer, you’ve got to stay and get better. He said I’m a great player, but he said I’d be one of the best point guards to come out here.”

(on not getting a lot of playing time this season)

“I kinda put my head down for a couple of minutes, but I wake up and (realize) it’s not about myself, it’s about the team. I’m just learning. I see what ‘Bazz and Boat are doing out there in certain situations, so that when it’s my time, I know what to do.”


(did the second-half benching light a spark?)

“I don’t know, I just tried to keep my head in the game, not let that get me out of the game. When I did get back in the game, just do what I had to do to help my team win.”

(on the zone)

“We always practice it, just so we can have it in our back pocket. We needed it today. Thank K.O. for always making us do it when we don’t feel like it.”

(on the foul he was called on late in the game that appeared to be an awful call)

“Oh, God. I couldn’t believe he called that. I was, like, four feet away from him. I asked him, ‘What did you see?’ He said, ‘I didn’t see anything, I heard it.’ I said, ‘What did you hear.’ He said, ‘I heard a noise.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you heard the ball.’ I don’t know, it was just a bad call.”


(on what he said in his halftime speech)

“Right now, we’re in a little rough spot. We’re not playing to our capabilities, we’re missing shots. I just told the guys, we can’t allow that to hurt us defensively. We can’t allow that to affect us on the defensive end, where we’re letting guys get by us and letting guys go for shots. At the end of the day, we predicate ourselves on defense, and that helps us get our offense.”

“They understand, I’m just passionate. I just want to drive the guys, keep them getting better. I just wanted to let the guys know, we’ve got to keep it moving forward.”

(on Samuel)

“I see that from Terrence all the time. I tell him all the time how good he is, and if he continues to get better, he’s going to be one of the great point guards in UConn history. But today, he understood we needed a guy that’s going to come in, play defense and get some steals … That’s what he does. He creates a lot of havoc. I was definitely happy that he was excited to get in, no matter what. Even if coach put him in for two minutes. That’s what a lot of guys don’t understand: you might not get a lot of minutes, but if you get those two minutes, or even if it’s just 30 seconds, you’ve got to play like it’s your last 30 seconds.”

“He’s quite like me. He’s quite funny, he doesn’t take a lot of things seriously. As a freshman, I just wanted to enjoy the moment, enjoy what was going on. He’s giving me that option to mentor him. He’s definitely helped me out a lot, because I’m no perfect guy when it comes to that. I needed to work on that, as well. I do mess up. But he understands that I’m just doing it, and I have a lot of passion in it.”

“USF’s a good team, but at the end of the day, we’re capable of playing much better. The biggest thing was, guys were putting their heads down if they missed a shot. I told guys, ‘I don’t care if you miss 20 shots in a row, you’ve got to think the next one’s going in for sure. If you miss 20 shots in a row, you can’t come back on the defensive end and not play defense.’”

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