Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rakim Lubin here for rebounds (and assists?); Steve Enoch here, too; Ryan Boatright gives history lesson



UConn's players were at the football game on Saturday morning, signing autographs prior to the game during FanFest festivities (yeah, those are my kids getting autographs and posing for a picture with Ryan Boatright above). Here's some of what we got.

*** Had a chance to speak with Rakim Lubin for the first time today. Impressive young man, and certainly an impressive physical specimen.

"I'm here to grab at least double-digit rebounds -- at least," he said. "If I don't do anything else, I've got to grab double-digit rebounds. That's all that matters right now, doing what the team needs."

"That's what I'm looking to bring, as far as my whole package right now. As of right now, I'm not looking to score the basketball or do anything else, but get rebounds and assists. That's all."

Assists?

"Yeah, I gotta get assists to my big men down low. But right now, just straight rebounding."

Lubin says he checks in at 6-foot-8, 265 pounds, which is where he's trying to stay for the season.

*** Steve Enoch was at the game and is in the midst of his official visit to UConn. He didn't want to speak with reporters, saying good-naturedly, "I'm just here to enjoy the game."

*** Wrote a Sunday feature on Daniel Hamilton, who had a tumultuous (and ultimately triumphant) senior season at St. John Bosco High in California that went through mass player and coach exodus and lots of controversy, but ended with a Division II state championship.

Asked Ryan Boatright how much of an impact Hamilton can have this season.

"Huge. Like I said, he's a natural-born scorer. He can score in all aspects of the game -- mid-range, he's tall, he can finish at the rim, he has a great 3-point shot. He's got to stay confident. He has some off days where he puts his head down. I just told him to stay confident, and we need him to be that scorer."

Boatright also talked about the basic tenor of practices and pick-up games so far.

"Extremely, extremely, extremely competitive," he said. "We probably fight almost every day. It's just real competitive, man. Everybody wants to win, everybody wants to get better, we're pushing each other."

"I tell them all the time, everybody's chasing us, we have a target on our backs. But we're chasing something bigger than us. We're chasing history. To win back-to-back, it's only been done one time, and that was Florida."

(OK, so his history lesson doesn't extend past the late 2000's and forgets UCLA. But you get the point)

Asked Boatright if he's ready to be our go-to guy this season -- meaning the media's go-to guys for quotes.

"You know I'm ready, I've been waiting on it for three years."

He may have thought I meant go-to guy, as in the guy to get the ball to in crunch time on the court. Either way, hope he remembers all that when we're still asking him questions come February.

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