Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shabazz Napier on Kevin Ollie: "He's Not Going Anywhere." Ollie Essentially Agrees

Some quotes and video from today's parade, where we learned that Kevin Ollie "isn't going anywhere," but DeAndre Daniels, Ryan Boatright could be.

Shabazz Napier talked about his "hungry Huskies" comment and what he really meant by it:

(on appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated)

“Man, that’s surreal. My stepfather had bought a couple of magazines. I just saw it first glance, that’s just so surreal. I can’t believe that.”

(on now getting ready for NBA workouts)

“I knew, going into the tournament, before the first game, I’ve got to be prepared for anything, whether we lose or win. I’ve been preparing myself since then. I played well in the tournament, so it kind of showed how much I was prepared. But I”ve got a lot more to prepare for, a lot more to work on, because that’s a big jump.”

(on LeBron James saying on Twitter that Napier should be the first point guard taken in the 2014 draft):

“I don’t social network. But that is definitely cool. It’s just so surreal to see guys who you look up to shout you out and say stuff like that. I want people to know that, at the end of the day, they’re not picking. I wish they were. But at the end of the day, I’m going to go out there and treat every opportunity I have like an interview, like it is, and hopefully their words can get inside people’s heads. Maybe it’ll work. But I’m gonna work, no matter what.”

(on rumors of Kevin Ollie leaving for the NBA)

“He’s not going anywhere. He loves this university. When you love this university with the passion he has, he’s gonna stay here until they tell him he’s got to leave.”

“I doubt that he will leave. But, at the end of the day, I state what I believe.”

*** Incidentally, if you were wondering whether or not Jim Calhoun was at the parade, he wasn't. Calhoun was vacationing in Hilton Head, S.C.

*** Ryan Boatright said he'll talk to Kevin Ollie on Monday and his family this week regarding his future, and if he wants to turn pro or not.

(Boatright on paying attention to what scouts, critics, etc. say about his game translating to the NBA)

“You do a little bit. You take the good with the bad. Everybody ain’t gonna believe in you or think you’re a pro. So, you’ve just got to take the good with the bad and have firm belief in yourself, firm confidence.”

(on whether the idea of being "The Man" next year would help lead him to decide to return to UConn for his senior season)L

“It ain’t even about being the man. It’s just getting to put on the UConn uniform again, just having another chance to do this again. These type of experiences drive you to want to do it again. This is something special. It felt good to be a part of this.”

*** Ollie said nothing's really changed over the past week after winning a national title.

"I have to walk my dog and pick up the poop, all that stuff. Dogs don’t really care. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just amazing. I know their lives are going to change.”

“It’s great to be the fourth African-American head coach to win a national championship, to be with those names, mention my name with them, it means the world to be. Hopefully, it creates the path for other African-Americans that can get these jobs and perform very, very well.

He said he talked with John Thompson and Nolan Richardson at the Final Four, and plans to reach out to Tubby Smith, as well.

(on if anything would shake him to leave UConn for the NBA):

“No. Nothing will shake me. I love this place. Like anything else, I evaluate it each and every year. I want the conditions right around my student-athletes. You just never know where the NCAA is going in years to come. I want to make sure the university is doing everything possible for our student-athletes to succeed. If I don’t see that, maybe it’s an opportunity for me to leave. But I’m going to evaluate that each and every year, and it’s perfect right now. We’re doing everything it takes for our student-athletes to get their grades and do certain things on the road and have a great experience at this university.”

(on a possible contract re-negotiation with Warde Manuel)

"We’re going to sit down. Whatever it takes, I want to be here at the University of Connecticut. Hopefully, we can come up with a great solution that benefits not only me, but benefits the university going forward.”

(on what he'll tell Boatright and DeAndre Daniels about leaving for the pros)

“I’m just going to give them information that I’ve received from general managers, and then they’re going to have to make their own decisions. I don’t want to make any decisions for them. I want them to be committed, if they’re gonna come back. They’ve got to have the right attitude. If they decide to go to the pros, they’re gonna have to have the right attitude. I’m gonna give them information, and they’re gonna have to make the decision that’s best for their family. Not what’s best for UConn. What’s best for them and their family. And hopefully, they make the right decision and be committed to it. If you decide to go the NBA, you’d better be in the best shape of your life. If you decide to come back to UConn, you’d better be in the best shape of your life. I know they will.”

(It's worth noting that Daniels, one of the most congenial guys on the team, didn't want to talk to the media on Sunday)

Ollie has been out recruiting the past few days and said he hasn't heard anything yet about anyone possibly transferring from the program, but will start meeting individually with players on Monday.

"From what I hear now, they’re working, they’re in the weight room already. When they come to my office, I’m going to be all ears and all heart opened to them. Because they gave me so much. Even the guys that weren’t playing, they were great teammates. Whatever it takes for them to be better – if that’s moving on or if that’s staying at the University of Connecticut – I’m gonna be there for them.”

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