Monday, June 30, 2014

Jalen Adams commits to UConn

Less than a week after another talented, clutch guard from UConn via Roxbury was selected in the fist round of the NBA Draft, another has chosen to take his talents to Storrs.

Jalen Adams, a Class of 2015 guard, announced on Twitter on Monday that he'll be attending UConn.

Just got off the phone with Adams, and here's some of what he had to day:

(why UConn?)

"Just the style of play, the coaching staff. I felt like the coaching staff had my best interests at heart.
(on comparisons to Shabazz Napier)

"There's definitely a few similarities, but I think I need to incorporate some of the things he does into my game ... I need to become a better leader, like a floor general."

Adams said he's met Napier a few times, but it was before Napier was even at UConn, just in the gyms around Roxbury.

(his best attributes)

"Getting to the basket, scoring and creating for others."

Adams and his parents were at UConn on Sunday for an unofficial, and the decision was basically made on their drive back to Boston.

Adams' coach for the Mass Rivals AAU team, Vin Pastore, has nothing but great things to say about the kid.

"First of all, he's a dynamic guard that has many different gears of speed and athleticism that's off the charts. And he scores the basketball in a variety of ways, the way only the elite of the elite do. He can score from long range, he's got a pull-up jumper. But best of all, when he gets it in the lane, he can fly over the top of you or spin in any different way to get to the rim. And one way or another, the ball always seems to find its way to the basket."

Pastore said Adams is about 6-foot-2, but with a 6-6 1/2 wingspan.

"As a kid, he's a super kid. He's got great leadership qualities, great smile and personality. He's got that type of charm that makes you fall in love with him right away. A lot of personality. Just an exceptional kid with a great track record."

Pastore said Adams never visited Louisville or Kansas, the two other schools most interested in him.

"I think it's a childhood dream for him to go to UConn. The style of play, the speed of play, the way they play. Kevin Ollie playing in the NBA, his personality, the way he connected with Jalen. And the fact that he played in the NBA, he has a pretty good idea what it takes to get to the NBA. Shabazz would have been the cherry on top. He is from the same town, same place."

Barry Connors, Adams' coach at Cushing Academy, was similarly complimentary of him when I spoke with him a couple of months ago.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

A good visit to UConn for Steve Enoch; Huskies offer New Haven's Tremont Waters

Steve Enoch, Ray Smith and Tyus Battle were among a host of top-notch players at UConn on Thursday night, playing in an "open run" while Shabazz Napier was being drafted by the Miami Heat on the big screen TV in Gampel Pavilion.

"The visit was awesome," said Enoch's AAU coach, George Matthews. "He spent time with the coaches. Kevin's awesome, Coach Miller's awesome, and all the other coaches are awesome. Kevin Ollie sets the bar really high. Steve's gonna meet other coaches, and he's going to have to compare them to Kevin."

Enoch will make visits to URI, Providence and Boston College this weekend, then take a trip to Seton Hall on Monday. He's still very early in his recruiting process (he really only blew up on the scene a few weeks ago), so don't expect any collegiate decisions yet.

Matthews said Smith wowed some of the kids at Ollie's basketball camp with alley-oop dunks all over the place. Also in the house was New Haven's Tremont Waters, a Class of 2017 stud from South Kent Prep, as well as Torrington's Jordan Williams, the former Maryland standout. There were a bunch of talented juniors and seniors from Massachusetts and the local area, as well.

Waters was particularly impressive, according to those who were there, and he wound up picking up an offer from UConn. Don't be shocked if Waters makes a college decision soon to take the pressure off and allow him to enjoy his next three years of prep school.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shabazz Napier heading to Miami Heat, could be teammate of LeBron James

Shabazz Napier was selected by Charlotte with the 24th pick in the NBA Draft, then immediately traded to the Miami Heat.

He got a congratulatory hug from Isaiah Thomas, among others:

Here's some of what Napier had to say:

“I would love it,” Napier said. “Me and LeBron’s relationship, he’s a great guy. I’ve been to his camps. Me and him chatted a few time at his camps. He’s just a special (person).”

Asked if he had spoken with James recently, Napier said: “He doesn’t have my number.”

After Napier was selected, James said on Twitter: “My favorite player in the draft! #Napier.”

“My agent just told me that he tweeted something out about me just now,” Napier said. “It’s something special to know that one of the best players in the world thinks about you and appreciates your talent. That’s something that I’m humble for.”

With Mario Chalmers now a free agent and Norris Cole coming off a shaky postseason, Napier could step right into the starting point guard role with Miami.

“There’s always opportunity to do something great,” he said. “No matter if I was going to slide in as a starter or come off the bench, I’m going to work hard. I’m going to compete. That’s who I am.”

Despite two national championships and dozens of clutch shots on his resume, Napier was the last of the 20 or so players invited to the green room to be selected. Four point guards and several players whom Napier defeated during his college career were picked ahead of him. Some NBA personnel had questioned Napier’s athleticism heading into the draft.

Napier was asked if slipping to No. 24 would put a chip on his shoulder.

“The chip never leaves my shoulder,” he said. “It will never leave my shoudler. That’s what makes me who I am.”

Here's Shabazz entering the green room early in the evening:

Soon afterwards, DeAndre Daniels was selected by Toronto with the No. 37 overall pick.

Said Daniels: "This is a dream come true. I’m just excited right now. When I heard my name called, I started crying and hugging my family. I’m just so happy Toronto took the opportunity to draft me. I’ll show them it’s not a mistake, I’m going to work hard and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and I’m going to try to prove a point to everybody.”

(on Toronto)

“I loved it out there, man. It’s a great city, great organization, great team. I can’t wait to get out there and get started.”

(on watching the draft with his family in Manchester)

“It was tough. I was patient, I was walking around non-stop. When it got close to, like, 28, 29, I went to my room. I came out at the right time, and my whole family started going crazy.”

"I just got off the phone with Shabazz. He told me he was happy for me, I told him I was happy for him. He said, 'This is not the end, we're gonna keep working. This is what UConn does.'"

Couple of other quick notes:

*** By my count, the 20 players invited to the green room Thursday night went a combined 1-8 vs. UConn. Julius Randle, James Young and Noah Vonleh all went 0-1, Gary Harris went 0-2 and poor Adreian Payne went 0-3. NC State's T.J. Warren got the lone win.

I don't know what that says, but I guess it says something.

*** Steve Enoch had a good visit to UConn on Thursday. He watched the NBA Draft and was slated to play in pickup games afterwards. Don't know about the other visitors at this point.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kevin Ollie looks ahead to 2014-15 season

Daniel Hamilton and Rakim Lubin are on campus, joining Sam Cassell, Jr. as all three of UConn's newcomers are enrolled in (or about to enroll in) summer courses.

Here's a story I did on Cassell, Jr. and his father, shortly after he committed to UConn.

And here's a piece on Daniel Hamilton, after while he was in Springfield, Mass. at the Hoop Hall Classic in January.

*** Had a chance to sit down with Kevin Ollie and two other reporters in Ollie's office at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday afternoon to take a look ahead to the upcoming season. Here's some of what Ollie had to day:

(on Ryan Boatright taking over leadership role from Shabazz Napier)

“It’s a must. He has to do that. Not only for UConn, but for his basketball future. He has to take over that leadership role … I think Boat is going to do that. I see a lot of great qualities in Ryan. A lot of attention was given to Shabazz, but Ryan wants it. He has a great competitiveness about him. He competes at everything, and he wants to be great. He’s not going to settle for good. That’s the one thing I love about Boat. He’s never missed a practice. The guy just wants it. If a guy has a vision and he wants it that bad, yeah, we have to mold and change his approach sometimes, and he has to change his approach sometimes. But I think he’s going to get it. I think he’s already got it already. It’s for me to bring that out a little bit more, but it’s for him to give that gift away everyday – that leadership gift he’s got.”

(on how tough a decision it was for Boatright to return, rather than go pro)

“I know he reached out to a lot of people to get different advice for his decision. I know he and DeAndre are very, very close. It’s been well-documented, ‘We came in together, we’re leaving together.’ But I’m glad he thought about it and (realized), ‘What’s good for DeAndre, might not be good for me.’ DeAndre’s a different person. I’m glad he came back. I think he saw the model in Shabazz, who could have gone out last year and who knows if he would have been drafted, maybe in the second round. You just never know. Then he came in and won a national championship, now getting invited to the Green Room, got his degree, had a phenomenal year, Bob Cousy Award.”

(on some of the differences next year's team will have from this year's team)

“We’re not going to have DeAndre, Niels – that stretch forward we had last year. I think Amida’s going to be a tremendous asset for us. I think Kentan’s going to give us a different dynamic, where he can shoot the ball. Probably not off the 3 like Niels and DeAndre did – I know he’s working toward it, but those guys were exceptional shooters for us. Kentan brings us a guy running and jumping and getting rebounds. He’s working on his game very, very hard.”

“Phil is up to 230-235 lbs. now. That gives me the opportunity to play two bigs, that I haven’t been able to do the last two years … I’m excited to see Phil and Amida probably play together a little bit more.”

(on Omar Calhoun bouncing back)

“He’s a highly-motivated person before this happened. I think this is not going to destroy him, I think it’s going to open up room for him to get to the next level. I just believe in the kid, believe in the hard work he puts in. Results follow hard work. For him, last year was tough. But he grasped that, he embraced that, he was like a coach on the bench for me. That spoke volumes, because a lot of kids say, ‘I’m not in the spotlight,’ and they go away from team-oriented stuff. But he involved himself even more. I was like, ‘Wow.’ That shows me something, the growth in him. That’s what special people do.”

(on Brimah
’s rehab from shoulder surgery)

“Unbelievable. That kid is just working. This is no exaggeration – he’s in here at midnight, working on his game. He can’t do contact yet, but man, he is doing an unbelievable job, doing some things on the court with Coach (Glen) Miller … He’s just so self-motivated.”

Ollie noted that it will probably be another month or so before Brimah is cleared for contact.

(on Rodney Purvis)

“He’s working. Just having his leadership, too – I have to push him out of his comfort zone with that a little bit, and I’m willing to do that. Once he gets that aspect of being a more vocal leader, with his talents, I think he’s just going to explode. I needed him to be a leader last year, I wanted him to talk more. He started doing that. He resisted a little bit, he’d say, ‘I’m not playing.’ But you are playing. You’ve got to envision yourself in this role, because I knew losing Shabazz, we’re losing a lot. (He) has to step into that leadership role – him, Boat, all the guys that are going to have the ball in their hand.”

(on Purvis's role)

“Versatile player, being able to do multiple things on the basketball court. He can score on a high level. He definitely gives us a little different … he’s more explosive in transition, where he can go up and get over the rim. Power, big body, that we haven’t had. Terrence was kind of close to that, but Rodney has more explosiveness to the rim. He shot very well from the 3-point line at NC State, and I think he’s working towards improving that. I think he’s a good shooter, I think he can get better with his shot, get it off quicker. These are the different things we’re working on this summer to allow him to improve.”

(Is Sam Cassell, Jr. more a shooter, a ballhandler ... or both?)

“Sam can handle the basketball. I was very, very pleased with him. He’s been up here, working. His attitude, his leadership, he’s in phenomenal condition. He’s been around pros his whole life, so he knows how to conduct himself. He’s not afraid of competition. Actually, he relishes it. He can shoot the basketball. You want your two’s to dribble, shoot and pass. He does all that well. He’s going to be a player for us. Terrence (Samuel) is going to be a player for us. We’ve got some talent, we’ve got to pull it together.”

(on Samuel)

“You’ve got to take active steps to make your weaknesses your strengths. And shooting the ball is No. 1. He’s got to come in here and shoot the right way, and don’t be afraid to do it. Sometimes, you’ve got to take one step back and do it badly to get to that next level. I think he’s understanding that.”

(on Daniel Hamilton)

“I know he has great expectations for himself, which is great. I heard something that came out, somebody said he’s the eighth-rated small forward in the country already as a freshman. That don’t matter. You’ve really got to show, each and every day, that you can play on this level, that you compete on this level, and that you can be a separator on this level. We don’t want him to come and blend in. We want him to be an outstanding player on our team and make an impact. We’re going to need it, because we lost a lot.”

“He’s position-less. Even the four. There are situations this year where I’m going to have four guards … we might have five.”

(on Rakim Lubin)

“Just kind of like Amida last year. We found him. He’s definitely going to give us a different look running out the tunnel. He’s a little bit bigger than our guys … He’s not 7 feet, he’s 6-7, but we’ve got a guy walking around on our coaching staff who’s 6-7, 6-8, and he did pretty damn well. It’s all about heart. I think he’s got heart, he’s got a confidence about himself. He’s not shy or timid. He walks around and he knows he’s good. He knows he belongs. We’re going to have to temper that down a little bit, make him humble a little bit on that first day of practice. But I like that. I’d rather have that than have a guy that’s timid and not sure of himself. He has a lot of confidence. He has a chip on his shoulder. He wasn’t ranked in the Top-200, or whatever that stuff is. He’s going to come out here and prove that he belongs, and I think he’s going to give us a different dynamic that we didn’t have. One of those guys that can take a bump and also give a bump, too.”

(Will next year's team rebound better than last year's?)

“I hope so. I hope our point guard doesn’t lead us in rebounding, until the second half of the last game when DeAndre got those last two rebounds to beat him out. I hope that’s not the case. I hope Amida steps up, I hope Phil steps up … I think Daniel’s going to be a great rebounder. He’s had great rebounding games in high school. We’re going to have bigger guards out there – Rodney, Sam, Terrence, Omar. Hopefully, Rakim can come in and give us a life on the backboards.”

(on Shabazz)

“We sat at this table and we said, ‘These things can happen if you come back. This is where you’re putting yourself. You can do something that nobody else was ever able to do in the NCAA.’”

(on Shabazz's coursework this past season)

“He wasn’t taking electives, he was taking real required stories. He had big-time classes: labs, sciences, biology, chemistry. It was big-time stuff. And for him to do that, and lead his team … he is remarkable.”

“He’s doing great in every one of his workouts. Now, it’s what team needs a point guard. There are a couple of teams outside the lottery that need a point guard. He might slip into the lottery, who knows? I just know it takes one guy to love you. I think he has a lot of people that love him.”

“I was very fortunate, when I got the job, that he stood by my side. I wouldn’t be here without Shabazz.”

Ollie noted that DeAndre Daniels had a workout on Wednesday with Detroit, who supposedly like him a lot. It was one of 14 workouts Daniels had slated over the past two weeks.

(on next year's schedule)

“We’ve got a tough schedule. Which is fine, that’s how I like it. We’re playing some top-notch teams: going down to Florida, playing Duke. Texas is going to be top-10 … It’s going to get us prepared for a nice tournament run, hopefully. We wanted to keep our RPI the same. Losing Louisville hurts our RPI a little bit, but we’re playing a great out-of-conference schedule that’s going to boost our RPI up.”

(on the AAC)

“I like the conference, I like the coaches. Tulsa is going to be great – I know we lost Danny Manning, but Frank Haith has done a great job at Miami and Missouri. Getting Orlando Antigua … the conference as a whole is going to be great. We’ve got some great freshmen coming in, the No. 1 point guard coming into our conference, Emmanuel Mudiay down at SMU, so it’s going to be exciting.”

Ollie said the new basketball practice facility should be completed in another 1 1/2-2 months. Here's how it looks right now:

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels await their NBA Draft fates

Remember last year, when everyone was saying the 2014 NBA Draft was going to be really strong?

Turns out, that wasn't the case. In fact, if memory serves me correct, every draft in recent years that was supposed to be strong hasn't really turned out to be. And isn't that really to be expected these days?

Essentially, every draft is going to be filled with one-and-done guys, many of whom are talented but still question marks, and college juniors or seniors, who are often labeled as not having been good enough to go pro earlier. Sure, every now and then there's a Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant or Blake Griffin who is obviously going to be a star after a year or two of college. But these days, its seems, the NBA Draft -- almost by definition -- is filled with question marks.

That could help or hurt Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels. Napier's draft stock has certainly been rising lately, what with a second national title and several impressive NBA workouts under his belt. The mock drafts seem to have him in the No. 20-25 range. An NBA scout I talked to pegs him anywhere from No. 18-30 (which, of course, still means a first-round pick).

Although Napier isn't likely to be a lottery pick, he has enough star power to have been invited to do a media availability along with 19 other big names (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, etc.) at The Westin New York at Times Square, and he'll be in the "Green Room" for Thursday night's draft, as well.

DeAndre Daniels may be hurt by the weaker nature of this year's draft, however. Most feel he'll probably go somewhere in the middle of the second. Maybe a little higher, but not in the first round, it would appear.

Of course, as Kevin Ollie points out, it only takes one NBA GM to like you enough to pick you in the first round. But as another NBA scout told me, teams with late first-round picks this year are more likely to go with foreign players than with U.S.-born kids they're not exactly enamored with. At least they can stash the European kids overseas for a couple of years and hope they improve, rather than take a risk on a college kid who'd get guaranteed money.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Steve Enoch visiting UConn on Thursday

Steve Enoch, the 6-foot-9 power forward out of Norwalk who's been generating a lot of buzz on the recruiting trail lately, will be taking an unofficial visit to UConn on Thursday.

The plan for now is for Enoch to head up there early in the day and meet with the coaching staff, then possibly play with current members of the Husky squad during an open run later at night. Whether Enoch plays depends on how he's feeling -- he took a knee to the thigh recently, causing a contusion that kept him from playing at the NBA Top 100 camp this past week in Virginia.

"UConn is high on him," said his AAU coach, George Matthews. "Others that haven't officially offered are high on him. VCU is very high, Virginia has been high, Providence has been calling a lot, UCLA, Seton Hall ... it's been getting hectic."

Matthews added that Enoch "likes UConn, but he wants to know what the pluses and minuses are, how he'd fit in."

Enoch is Class of 2015 and only 16. There was thought about him re-classifying to '16, but that appears unlikely. He really burst on the scene a few weeks ago at the Pangos Camp out in Long Beach, California. Enoch went up against Steve Zimmerman, one of the top '15 big men in the nation, and more than held his own in two games, outscoring him and raising a lot of eyebrows.

Enoch stayed with Andre Drummond during his visit out there (Matthews has known and coached Drummond since he was 9 years old). Enoch played some pick-up games against Drummond and Shabazz Napier, who was also out there getting ready for the NBA Draft, as well as the Warriors' Klay Thompson and some other top D-1 players.

*** Also, highly touted, Class of 2015 power forward Chance Comanche is making an official visit to Storrs on Monday, per reports. Comanche, 6-10, hails from Los Angeles.

Comanche apparently likes what he's seen so far:

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

GHPA back in Waterbury this summer

The GHPA Summer Bball Showcase (formerly known as the Greater Hartford Pro-Am) is set to roll again this year -- and for the second straight year, it will be held at Crosby High in Waterbury.

The league will run from July 9 to Aug. 15 and has received certification from both the NCAA and NBA, according to league organizer Peter Higgins. As usual, the league should feature many of the top players in Connecticut, including several UConn players.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kevin Ollie tees it up at Travelers Championship

Kevin Ollie is playing in the Travelers Championship celebrity pro-am on Wednesday. With fellow "celebs" including George Lopez, Doug Flutie, Andre Tippett, Tim Wakefield and Ahmad Rashad, it's not a stretch to say that the national championship-winning coach was as big a name, at least to the hometown fans, as anyone. Or at least tied with Jim Calhoun.

That point was further driven home after Ollie's first drive, off the 10th tee, caught some overhanging branches.

"That's OK," a fan yelled, "you won the 'ship."

Prior to his round, Ollie talked a bit about what's going on with the program:

(on Daniel Hamilton, Rakim Lubin arriving on campus next week)

"I'm getting excited. Daniel Hamilton texted me his plane ticket, so I was real excited with that one. I was REAL, real excited when I saw that. I'm looking forward to it, seeing Rakim -- he likes to be called 'Rock,' but he's gonna have to get a couple of rebounds before I call him 'Rock.'"

(on whether UConn will add to its roster before the season starts)

"Probably not. I want to save those scholarships. There's always something that might happen, an Andre Drummond sighting. We'd be welcome with that. But I'm not really looking for that. We've always got our ears to the concrete, seeing what's shaking."

(on what he's hearing regarding Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniel entering next week's NBA Draft)

"I'm hearing a lot of good things. DeAndre's been on a world tour. Since he came back here, he went to 14 different workouts. I've been talking to Cleveland, I talked to Toronto after he went in there. He had a good workout at Charlotte. Hopefully, everything is going well for him. I heard he's shooting the ball real, real well. And Shabazz is doing pretty much everything."

(can they both be first-round picks?)

"You never know. I know Shabazz is pretty much a lock ... I wouldn't say lock, but that's what they're saying. And DeAndre maybe can sneak in there. You just need one. You don't need all 30, you just need one general manager or owner to fall in love with you."

Ollie, for his part, says he won't attend the draft next Thursday at the Barclays Center.

"I would, if one of our guys was going to be in, what do they call it, the Green Room, the Red Room? They should call it the Husky Blue Room."

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Monday, June 16, 2014

UConn-Duke set for Dec. 18 in Jersey

UConn and Duke will square off at the IZOD Center in New Jersey on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Here's the press release sent out by UConn:

The Duke Blue Devils will face the National Champion UConn Huskies December 18th at IZOD Center (Meadowlands Sports Complex) in East Rutherford, N.J. Game time is 8:00 pm (ET).

UConn and Duke have met just nine times on the basketball court with Duke leading the series 5-4, but the Huskies have won four of the last five. One of their most memorable games took place at the Meadowlands in the 1990 NCAA East Regional Final with Duke winning 79-78 in overtime. UConn defeated Duke, 77-74, to capture the 1999 National Championship and the Huskies nipped the Blue Devils, 79-78, in the 2004 National Semifinals on their way to their second national crown. UConn and Duke last met in the 2009 NIT Tip-Off Championship Game at Madison Square Garden which Duke won, 68-59. The Blue Devils are 20-1 all-time (10-0 in NCAA Tournament games) at the Meadowlands, while UConn is 12-8 at the venue, 1-1 in the 1990 NCAA East Regional and 11-7 vs. former Big East rival Seton Hall.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, June 20 at 10:00 am (ET) through Ticketmaster and can be purchased online at<> or by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets will be available at the IZOD Center Box Office beginning Monday, June 23 at 11:00 am. For more information, visit<>.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to play Connecticut at the IZOD Center next season," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We have a strong fan base in the New York / New Jersey area and I am sure Connecticut will have great fan support as well. It is always special to play in front of terrific crowds and it should be an outstanding game between two talented teams. Connecticut is obviously coming off a championship season and has excellent personnel returning. Coach Ollie has done a terrific job running the program and we look forward to the challenge."

Duke, coming off a 26-9 campaign last season, returns three players with extensive starting experience and seven letterwinners overall. Senior Quinn Cook and junior Rasheed Sulaimon provide a veteran presence in the backcourt, while Amile Jefferson is coming off a solid sophomore season in 2013-14. Cook and Sulaimon combined to average 21.5 points and 6.8 assists per game a year ago, while shooting 38.6 percent (108-of-280) from three-point range and 79.1 percent (163-of-206) from the charity stripe. Jefferson shot a team-best 64.4 percent (94-of-146) from the field and averaged 6.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Junior Marshall Plumlee (1.3 points / 2.2 rebounds per game) along with sophomores Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye are prepared to take on larger roles this season after gaining valuable experience a year ago.

Duke's veteran group will be complimented in 2014-15 by the top ranked recruiting class in the country. Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow were each named to the McDonald's All-America team with all four players ranking among the top 35 recruits in the country by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. Allen is a talented guard out of Florida that showcased his athleticism by winning the Powerade Jam Fest Dunk Contest. Jones, the top-rated point guard in the class, was a three-time Minnesota State Player of the Year and closed out his career with 2,909 points, 1,131 assists and 369 steals. Okafor, the No. 1 player overall by most recruiting outlets, was named the National High School Player of the Year after averaging 24.1 points and 11.3 rebounds while leading Whitney Young, to a 28-5 record and a 4A state title in Illinois. Winslow is a two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year out of Texas and one of the most versatile two-way players in the country. He averaged 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals per game as a senior at Saint John's [Houston]. Jones, Okafor and Winslow also have extensive USA Basketball experience with each player winning a pair of gold medals as well as participating in the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit.

The UConn men's basketball team won the national championship in 2014 - its fourth since 1999. The Huskies began the tournament as a No. 7 seed and along their NCAA run beat a who's who of programs including Florida and Kentucky in the Final Four. The Huskies became the first no. 7 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament to win the national championship.

The 2014-15 Huskies will be led by senior guard Ryan Boatright, who was named to the NCAA All-Final Four team and averaged 12.1 points per game last year to go along with 3.4 assists. Junior Phil Nolan started 19 games last year - including all six in the NCAA tournament - returns at center. Junior guard Terrence Samuel, a Brooklyn product, scored 11 points in UConn's NCAA third round win vs. Villanova and showed great improvement as the season went on. Sophomore center Amida Brimah led UConn with 92 blocks and was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie team.

The Huskies will be bolstered by the addition of former McDonald's All-American guard and North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year Rodney Purvis, eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from North Carolina State. Purvis averaged 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Wolfpack in 35 games in 2012-13 and was an ACC Rookie of the Week selection. Also joining the Huskies will be freshman forward Daniel Hamilton, who averaged 20.5 points, 9 rebounds and 5.2 assists as he led St. John Bosco High to the California Division II state championship; Junior College First Team All-American Sam Cassell Jr., who averaged 18.7 points and 3.7 assists for Chipola College (Florida); and Rakim Lubin, the Georgia 3A Player of the Year, who averaged 20.2 points and 12.1 rebounds at Buford High School.

"We are very much looking forward to playing against Duke at the IZOD Center this December," said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. "Our series against Duke includes some of the most exciting and most meaningful games in UConn basketball history and we have the utmost respect for Coach Krzyzewski and his program. Plus, it will be wonderful to return to the IZOD Center, where UConn has a long history. It not only gives our fans in the New York-New Jersey area a chance to watch us play, but is close enough to allow our great fans from Connecticut to come and support us."

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier expected to play in Jim Calhoun charity game

The annual Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game will be held on Friday, Aug. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Many of the stars from UConn's national championship teams are expected to attend, including Ray Allen, Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier. The only marquee name that might not be able to play as of now is Emeka Okafor, who is dealing with a neck injury.

Here's the press release:

NCAA Champion and Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun is hosting an NBA sanctioned alumni all-star basketball game this summer – the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game presented by Milestone Wines – as part of the Mohegan Sun / Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic.

Many of Coach Calhoun's greatest players will return for the seventh Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Basketball Game. It will be a special night in Connecticut basketball history when stars from four national championship teams take the floor and compete against each other. Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Kevin Ollie, Donyell Marshall, Khalid El-Amin, Doron Sheffer, and Rudy Gay among others, have played in past charity games at Mohegan Sun.

The game will be played at 7:30PM at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, August 8, 2014. Proceeds from the game and the entire Mohegan Sun / Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic will benefit The Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health.

“Once again, I'm excited about bringing the Connecticut Basketball family back together for this game. It is a great way for me to reconnect with many of my former players, and I know they look forward to gathering together and playing in front of their longtime fans. As important, I'm so pleased that proceeds from the game will go to fight America’s number #1 killer – heart disease,” said Basketball Hall of Famer and Three-Time National Champion Collegiate Coach Jim Calhoun.

Since 1999, the Mohegan Sun / Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic has raised more than $6.5 million for cardiology research and life-saving care at The Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health.

The charity game’s title sponsor is Mohegan Sun and it is presented by Milestone Wines in association with XFINITY.

Tickets are $12 to $25 and go on sale Friday, June 13th at 10:00AM. To purchase game tickets, call Ticketmaster at800.345.7000, go to, or visit the Mohegan Sun Box Office.

For more information about the 2014 Mohegan Sun / Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Basketball Game presented by Milestone Wines and the Mohegan Sun / Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic, please call the event’s organizers, Gold, Orluk & Partners, at 860.674.1500 or visit the event website at

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another special night for Kevin Ollie

One day after being honored by President Barack Obama at the White House, Kevin Ollie received another special honor Tuesday at the Aqua Turf Club.

Ollie was presented with the Saint Francis Award at the 29th annual Franciscan Sports Banquet and Silent Auction. The award is given annually to an individual who "honors Franciscan values while excelling on the playing field." The Franciscans are very near and dear to the heart of Jim Calhoun, a past Saint Francis Award winner, as well as Ollie.

"This is special," he said. "I come here every year. Just what the sisters do, the Franciscan life ... they mean so much to me. I always want to be a presence here. I thought all their prayers were all run up with Coach Calhoun, but I guess their prayers are still working. I'm glad they were praying for us and we got this fourth national championship."

Making the night even more special was the fact that Ollie was accompanied by his mother, Dorothy, who is on the road to recovery from breast cancer surgery back in March. It was only about the third time Dorothy has been out of her home since the surgery.

"She looks great," said Kevin. "That's where I get my toughness from. She had a couple of tough days, but she got through it. She's a tough lady, she's filled with faith, so it's great to have her getting back to her old self."

Last season was a tough one emotionally for Ollie. He lost his father-in-law shortly before the season began.

"It was difficult, but at the end of the day, life is not built on feelings ... it's built on principles. I made a commitment to UConn, and whatever I go through, I've got to continue to do my job. We ask our guys to do the same thing. They have a bad day, they've got to come into practice or play the right way. I try to live my life the same way. (Basketball) is kind of like my sanctuary, to get away from everything for 2-3 hours and concentrate on making them better basketball players and better people."

Ollie noted that Sam Cassell, Jr., who's been on campus for a couple of weeks now taking classes, is doing "excellent."

"He's a hard-worker, very mature kid. Loves to work, embracing coaching. From all things I've seen, on and off the court, he's gonna fit right in our program."

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Monday, June 9, 2014

UConn men, women honored by President Obama at White House

Here's a transcript, and some video from the UConn men's and women's teams visit to the White House on Monday:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Everybody, have a seat, have a seat. I’ve just got a few things to say here. Welcome to the White House, first of all.

AUDIENCE: Thank you. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: You’re pleased to be here, aren’t you? (Laughter.) I think we should give it up for the men’s and women’s national college basketball champions, the Connecticut Huskies! (Applause.) Now, I have to say that, as President, one of my goals has been to eliminate waste and cut out duplicative programs to make things a little more efficient, but this might be carrying things a little too far. (Laughter.)

We have, as you might expect, some big Huskies fans here today, including some outstanding members of Congress. I also want to recognize your university president, Susan Herbst -- (applause) -- your athletic director, Warde Manuel, and Larry McHugh, the chairman of your board of trustees. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And of course, you’ve got a couple of great coaches in what I called when we were meeting back there the grizzled veteran, Geno Auriemma -- (laughter) -- and the new blood, Kevin Ollie, both in the house. (Applause.) I can make that joke now that I’ve got gray hair. (Laughter.)

Only once before, in 2004, has one school won both the men’s and women’s Division I titles. And of course, that was who?


THE PRESIDENT: It was UConn. This is the women’s 9th national title, more than any other women’s basketball team in history. (Applause.) For the men, it is their fourth title in the last 16 years, which is twice as many as anybody else during that same span of time. (Applause.) Which makes me think, what’s up with you guys? Why aren’t you sharing? It is just a remarkable thing what these two programs have accomplished.

Of course, this season the women went a perfect 40-0, won their games by an average of 34 points -- so there was not a lot of suspense during their season. (Laughter.) In a championship game billed as one of the biggest in women’s basketball history, the Huskies routed the previously unbeaten Notre Dame -- and gave me bragging rights -- it gave me bragging rights to pick them in my bracket. This was not hard. (Laughter.) I mean, me and 95 percent of the country. And this marked the 5th time that UConn has finished a season as undefeated national champion.

Of course, a lot of this success belongs to Coach Geno, who has cemented his place as not only a legend in women’s basketball, but one of the best coaches that we’ve ever seen at any level and any sport, period. (Applause.) So we are grateful to have you. Congratulations. (Applause.)

But I think Coach Auriemma would be the first to tell you that the credit goes to the players. And these were just some outstanding young ladies. You’ve got Breanna Stewart named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player two years in a row. You’ve got Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who overcame injury and illness during the season, and came up big -- as she is prone to do -- during the tournament. You’ve got Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley, who went on to become top-10 picks in the WNBA draft.

And Stefanie, I did not forget that you challenged me to a dance-off last year. It is going to happen. It is going to happen. (Laughter and applause.) Don’t think that I -- don’t think that you’re going to beat me on that. (Laughter.) I also appreciate that you told the world about it after the title game. I have daughters in junior high and high school, and for their sake, I will not be dancing too much while the cameras are around. (Laughter.)

Now, I also have to confess, I did not pick the men to win in my bracket. (Laughter.) Of course, neither did anybody else unless you went to UConn. (Laughter.) Look at these guys, they’re all raising their hand. (Laughter.) Come on now, tell the truth. We were not counting on Shabazz Napier leading the way as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and hitting big shot after big shot and locking down the perimeter defensively. The Huskies also had huge contributions from guys like Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, and Neils Giffey, who’s not here because he’s playing overseas.

After the tournament wins over Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida, and Kentucky, UConn became the first seven-seed ever to win the title. (Applause.) And afterwards, Coach Ollie said, “Somebody told me we were Cinderellas” and I said, “no, we’re UConn” -- that’s “what we do, bred to cut down nets.” That’s Coach Ollie. He’s always confident and calm and collected. In fact, a sportswriter once referred to him as “our future President.” (Laughter.) I don’t know with a name like “Kevin” whether that’s possible. (Laughter and applause.) But who knows, anything could happen.

Now, Coach Ollie is doing one other important thing -- he’s making sure his team hits the books as hard as they hit the boards. And this season, both the men and the women ranked among the nation’s best academically and that’s worth applauding. (Applause.)

Both teams have also done tremendous work in the community. They’ve raised awareness for cancer and autism. They’ve volunteered at senior centers, spent time with underprivileged youth. Coach Ollie and Coach Auriemma spoke at the Pentagon last month as part of our Hoops for Troops program. And last year, after the tragedy in Newtown, the men put on a clinic for kids at a local rec center -- and they asked the media to keep it under wraps so the kids could just have a good time.

Finally, I want to take a moment to single out the women here, because I could not be more proud of the example that they present for my daughters. They’re showing that just like the boys, girls can be tough, athletic, beautiful, successful, competitive and make fun of me, which is what my daughters do all the time. (Laughter.) So thank you guys for the outstanding example. (Applause.)

Congratulations to your championship Huskies. (Applause.) And this really isn’t goodbye probably, because I suspect I’ll see some of these folks again before I leave office. So let’s strike the podium. We’ll take some good pictures. Come on. And I know we’ve got some jersey presentations here. Where’s my jersey? (Laughter.)

A few quotes from UConn players and coaches:

*** Napier on President Obama:

“He doesn’t present himself as somebody more powerful than you. He’s definitely well-respected. He doesn’t want to ‘wow’ you with how powerful he is. He’s just a well-respected guy, and someone that you respect because of the way he handles himself. I’m definitely honored and humbled, don’t get that wrong, because he is one of the most powerful men, if not the most powerful men in the world. Probably ten years down the line, it’s definitely something I’m gonna look back at.”

*** Ollie on Obama:

“He’s a person that always responds with courage. That’s the kind of things I tell the kids in practices -- being steady in games and responding to adversity. I think President Obama does those things. And his humility -- you see that each and every time he speaks. He’s always thanking others. That’s what we want our kid to understand each and every day they walk on our campus, or when we’re away visiting another team, what they represent. Hopefully, they do understand.”

*** Ollie will be honored at the Franciscan Sports Banquet on Tuesday night in Southington.

“Just being in that place, a feel like I’m a little holier. The grace of God is with me. Just to walk in there and feel the love of all the Franciscan nuns and everybody involved, it’s just a great night and I’m looking forward to it.”

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Diamond Stone visited UConn this past weekend

Diamond Stone, one of the top Class of 2015 big men in the nation, did indeed visit UConn this past weekend.

How did the visit go? We don't know. Stone is keeping his recruitment extremely close to the vest. But it's interesting to note, as Adam Zagoria points out, that Stone and fellow '15 blue-chipper Malik Newman are "100 percent" a package deal, according to Newman.

And the only two schools seemingly high on both players' wish lists are Kansas and UConn. In fact, those two schools could be in a battle to land '15 guard Jalen Adams out of Roxbury, too.

Friday, June 6, 2014

NCAA Really Must Come Down Hard on North Carolina

I'm not usually one to play the "double-standard" card. It's a bit too fan boyish to point to some apparently outlandish flouting of NCAA rules, like the North Carolina men's basketball team's sham classes that former player Rashad McCants admits to being a part of and says coach Roy Williams knew about it, too, and whine that UConn was punished for seemingly much more innocuous APR mistakes. UConn didn't do a good job educating some of its college basketball players in recent years past and, at the very least, was guilty of being negligent and not working the system like other schools do.

That said, this UNC stuff is ridiculous. And, well, it really would be a miscarriage of justice if the Tar Heels weren't properly punished. The NCAA complains and says it doesn't have enough staff to carry out extensive investigations into academic and other issues involving student-athletes. Typically, it has new organizations -- Yahoo ! Sports, for instance, as you all recall -- do the bulk of its legwork.

Well, ESPN (which I can't even watch anymore, but that's a different story) has done just about all the work here. It has served the NCAA both UNC and, perhaps, Roy Williams on a silver platter, and if all this is true, the organization must do something about it. Something pretty big.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Look at UConn targets Jalen Adams, Josh Sharma, Steve Enoch

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand basketball. Or basketball recruiting.

But Josh Sharma's dad just so happens to be a rocket scientist. Well, an aeronautical engineer, to be exact. And his mom's a psychiatrist. The point? Sharma comes from good, well-educated stock.

Oh, and the 7-footer from Lexington, Mass. isn't too bad at basketball, either.

Sharma, a Class of 2015 center who plays at Northfield Mount Hermon and with Mass Rivals AAU, took an unofficial visit to UConn on Tuesday. He accompanied his AAU teammate, guard Jalen Adams, but the two are not -- repeat, not -- a package deal.

"Absolutely not," said Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore. "It just so happened I was taking Jalen to Connecticut and I said (to Sharma), why don't you and your mom go down? It was more out of convenience than anything else. What's best for one might not be the best for the other."

Still, it seems both players are tailor-made for UConn. We've already chronicled just how perfect a fit it would appear Adams would be for the Huskies. The '15 guard from Roxbury is profoundly clutch and is a born leader, on top of his terrific talent. Sound like anyone we know?

"He's an electrifying guy," said Pastore. "He's super-talented and he's extremely athletic. That may be a potential separator from Shabazz (Napier)."

Pastore has grown up following UConn basketball. He's a Massachusetts guy, but former Mass Rival/UConn recruit Scott Hazelton grew up in his home.

"Jalen's a super athlete with great understanding of the game, and the kid's a winner," Pastore said. "He's a UConn type of guy. It would be pretty hard (for UConn) not to be high on his list. They're coming off a national championship, the freedom they give their guards to play, the fact Shabazz just graduated and is going to the NBA as a Boston kid himself. I think a lot of things make UConn look awfully good for a kid like Jalen."

Then there's Sharma.

"He's a 7-footer that can run and catch," Pastore said. "He's got a size-15 foot that's small compared to the size of his body. That's why he moves so gracefully and runs so nice. He plays above the rim and challenges you at the rim. A lot of people look at him as fitting the UConn style of play."

Sharma arrived at Northfield Mount Hermon two years ago after only playing a couple of minutes a game at Lexington High. Now, he's one of the top players in the country.

"I think that's part of the improvements he's made, but it also says that there's a lot of upside to his game, too," said Northfield Mount Hermon coach John Carroll. "He’s as athletic as it comes. We’ve coached 60 D-1 kids and he’s probably the most athletic kid we’ve coached at 7-foot.”

Carrolll continued: "When I really knew he was different was, early on, when he was going up for a layup, it looked like his only option, and he decided to try something else and went up on the other side reversing it. That was last thing we thought he’d wind up doing. I said to my assistant, he’s gonna show us stuff we’ve never seen before because of his athleticism. We have to keep an open mind, see what he's capable of and then coach, not coach restricting what his creativity is."

Carroll said he lets Sharma shoot 3's because he's proven he can hit them, and also has a good jump-hook in his repertoire and is studying great face-up guys like Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant to model his skills after them.

"The fun part about coaching him is that the conversation his brain has with his body is pretty elite," Carroll noted. "Give him instruction, he'll do it immediately."

And like his parents, who recently moved from Lexington to Hawaii, Sharma is smart, too. He recently scored a 31 on his ACT's, according to Carroll (the high score is 36).

Carroll said Sharma's visit to UConn was great and that he had visited Boston College the day before. This summer, he's planning a Midwest tour to see Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan. The only official he's made so far has been to Wisconsin, back in January.

*** Meanwhile, UConn offered an in-state kid on Tuesday: Steve Enoch, a 6-9 power forward out of Norwalk who's generated a lot of buzz lately.

“Steve has been playing competitive basketball for about two years," said Drew Gladstone, who coaches Enoch on the High Rise-Team Up AAU team. "He’s a late-bloomer. He's still coming into his body so he has tremendous upside, it’s really pretty scary. He’s still kind of defining his role as a player, he can shoot the ball probably better than anybody. He just has a really pure shot. He's incredibly skilled, he works out every single day, hitting the weights."

Gladstone added that Enoch sports a 3.3 GPA. He took an unofficial to UConn about a month ago, but it's still a bit too early for Enoch, who doesn't turn 17 until the end of September, to start narrowing down visits and lists.

*** Another Northefield Mount Hermon player, 6-8 Class of '16 forward A.J. Brodeur, is also on UConn's radar, though the Huskies haven't stepped up with an offer yet.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kevin Ollie on New Contract: "It Takes Time ... When Warde and I Sat Down, We Got it Done"

Kevin Ollie was at Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford on Tuesday for the Miracle League of Connecticut Golf Classic. Ollie and Jennifer Rizzotti are honorary co-chairs of the event this year, and it would be hard to find a more worthy charity. The Miracle League of Connecticut helps kids with disabilities play in an organized sports environment, with a baseball/softball field at the corner of Trout Brook Drive and Asylum Avenue in West Hartford.

Said Ollie: "It helps physically challenged people to have a chance to go out there and play organized sports. We want a lot of parks that are accessible for people confined to wheelchairs. For them to play a sport -- baseball now -- they do so many other things, I just jumped at the chance to be a part of this. Not only be a part of it, but put my money where my mouth is, also."

"This is a great event. If you've ever been to the park, you see what they do, you see the laughter of the kids, from boys and girls. You see the smiles and you understand what it's really about. It's not about hitting golf balls and this and that, it's about giving a kid a chance at playing organized sports that a lot of folks have said 'No' to."

Obviously, Ollie also talked about the recent five-year, $15 million contract he signed with the university. Here's his pretty funny response to questions about his new contract, and about why it took "so long" to get it done:

Ollie on some other issues:

(on how big a lure the NBA was)

"Not at all. I want to be here at UConn.

(on whether he'll head to the NBA in the future)

"I don't know about the future. The only thing I can do is take care of today. I've got a five-year contract, and I believe I'm going to be here all five years. That's my motto, that's where I want to be at. I want to be here with my family, see my daughter graduate from high school here in Connecticut. Whatever happens is gonna happen. There's gonna be speculation every year. The kids know that I have their best interests in mind and the university knows that I'm going to come out here and (do) as best as I can ... This is a great program, this is where I want to be, where I got my degree at, where I found my wife. There's a lot of great things that have happened to me at the University of Connecticut."

(on his advice to Shabazz Napier)

"Be willing to do something that another man is not willing to do. Every day, whatever that might be. Just get better at something. You've got to be willing to sacrifice and do something that somebody's not willing to do. That's what I wanted to tell him. When you open your mouth, it's an interview. You've got to understand, people are always watching. Work ethic first, professionalism second and humility third. And I think humility is the first out of all of them. He went through a great interview process at the Chicago combines, I think he had his first workout the other day with Phoenix ... The only thing he needs is prayers. 'Bazz is gonna handle everything else. He's a great basketball player, but more than anything else, he's a great leader."

(on avoiding a championship hangover)

"I always talk about hangovers after you have a big game. You've got to keep coming back. You can't get drunk off success. At the end of the day, we've got a lot of hungry guys. Some guys didn't play as much as they wanted to play. They're gonna stay hungry. You just try to motivate and drive guys, and at the end of the day, you want them to have the best chance possible. That's how I can screw it up, not giving every guy opportunity. Now, you can screw it up, if you don't work at the opportunity given. It's a clean slate. If you want to eat, pull up your chair to the table and eat."

(on Amida Brimah's rehab)

"He's doing good. He's growing an Afro, so I guess that's good. His shoulder looks good, he's out of his harness. Of course, he can't do anything physically right now, but we've got the best physical trainer, James Doran. He's gonna have Amida right at the right time, and he's gonna get back on the floor and dominate. I think he's gonna have a great sophomore season. I really believe that."

Also, it's official: the UConn men and women will visit the White House next Monday, June 9.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

No LOI, but No Worries: Daniel Hamilton Will Be in Storrs in a Few Weeks

The final signing date for Daniel Hamilton’s national letter of intent has come and gone, and UConn has not received Hamilton’s LOI.

Fear not, Husky fans. He’s coming to Storrs. In fact, we can give you just about an exact date: June 20.

Hamilton said he hopes to be on campus around June 20 so that he can take part in two summer sessions. He’ll likely be helping out at Kevin Ollie’s camp, as well.

“I feel real good about it,” said Hamilton. “I’m excited to come there, ready to work. I know Kevin Ollie likes hard-working dudes. I’m hoping to do both sessions of summer school, get my body right and get that hard-working mentality.”

While questions abounded over whether Ollie might head to the NBA over the past couple of months, Hamilton was never too worried.

“He told me he was thinking about staying, that he was going to be there for us, he’s not going to leave the kids he recruited,” the 6-foot-7 wing said. “I’m happy he’s there for the kids and stayed loyal to them.”

Hamilton famously didn’t sign a national letter of intentafter committing to UConn, precisely for that reason: if Ollie bolted, he wanted the flexibility to be able to go to another school, if he wanted. He didn’t want to wind up in a similar situation as his older brother, Isaac, who wasn’t released from his LOI by Tim Floyd at UTEP and had to sit out last season. He’ll play at UCLA this upcoming season.

And if Ollie had gone to the NBA?

“I would have had to talk to my family and with the coaches at UConn and see what my next best move would have been,” said Hamilton, who has signed financial aid papers with the school.

The deadline for men’s basketball players to have signed their national letter of intent for this upcoming season was May 21.

Hamilton, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard, is rated as the No. 14 recruit in the nation by He visited UConn back on Jan. 18 (taking in the Huskies’ home loss to Louisville), and was back on the East Coast for the Jordan Brand Classic game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 18, starting for the West Team and scoring 10 points in a 158-147 loss.

Hamilton sees himself as either a shooting guard or small forward, but says he’ll “play wherever coach puts me at, come in and fit in wherever.”

He added that he’s been texting frequently with soon-to-be teammate Rodney Purvis, getting updates on campus life, and believes UConn could be poised to repeat as national champs next season.

“I think we’ll do pretty well,” he said. “I think we can make a good run at the tournament again. We’ve got a lot of versatile guys, with Rodney Purvis, Ryan Boatright coming back, and with me coming there. I think Amida Brimah will be ready to play. He’s gonna put on some weight and be ready, be more ready his second year. I think we’re gonna make another run at it.”

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Shabazz Napier to Host Basketball Camp July 28-Aug. 1 in South Windsor

The fruits of winning a national championship and becoming a professional basketball player include ... running your own basketball camp!

Shabazz Napier will host the All Pro Sports Basketball Camp from July 28 to Aug. 1 at Nomad's Adventure Quest in South Windsor. The camp is for boys and girls ages 8-16 and will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The cost is $300 per camper.

The camp, which is co-sponsored by the South Windsor Recreation Department, is available to anyone, no matter where they're from. Each camper will receive a Shabazz Napier camp shooting shirt.

For more information, visit, or call 860-292-6311.