Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier on Taking Charge; Phil Nolan on Taking Charges

Some notes, quotes and video from today at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, where UConn will face St. Joesph's in a "second-round" NCAA tournament game on Thursday at 6:55 p.m. (TBS).

DeAndre Daniels has been a lot more assertive lately. That could bode very well for the Huskies moving forward.

Ryan Boatright:

"We're confident. We know how good we can be. We know that we've got veteran leaders, on and off the floor. We've been practicing well, and we're just getting mentally and physically prepared to go to war. We know they're not going to go down easy. But we're prepared to take the challenge."

(lessons from 2012 tourney)

"Just refuse to let it happen again, man. Losing in the first round, then not being able to play last year, it sticks with you. We're going into this tournament hungry, as a collective group. We're looking forward to getting out there."

(more on '12)

"We were probably the most talented team in the country. The chemistry just wasn't there."

(were guys thinking more about the NBA at the end of that season?)

"Maybe. I was a young guy. I was best friends with (Jeremy) Lamb and (Andre) Drummond. They thought about it, but they really wanted to win the national championship. It just wasn't there, man. I think everybody was just worried about individual goals."

*** Talked to Phil Nolan a little bit on the art of taking a charge:

"I wouldn't say I worked hard on it. It just kind of comes naturally, because I know at the beginning of the year, coach was talking about how no one on the team takes charges and stuff. I was getting in foul trouble. Instead of jumping and trying to block everything, I was just going to stand in the way of somebody and let them run into me."

"Earlier, they were definitely calling them way more. But now, in the last couple of games, they were calling blocking fouls. I will continue to do it, though."

*** Shabazz Napier on that 2012 team:

"It was a team trying to find our way. I wouldn't say it was broken. I wasn't as capable a leader as I thought I would be, and that was one of the biggest reasons why. I don't blame anything on anybody besides myself. That team was talented as any other team you had in America. With me not being a great leader, with Coach Calhoun being out so many weeks, it was too tough for me to handle. But at the end of the day, I'm thankful for that. I learned from it a lot."

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