There was a teleconference today for the coaches of teams participating in next week's Puerto Rico Tip-Off. UConn faces College of Charleston in its first game on Thursday, Nov. 20, then will play either Dayton or Texas A&M the following day.
With most teams beginning their seasons this Friday (including UConn, against Bryant University), and some with two games to play before heading to Puerto Rico, most head coaches haven't extensively looked at tapes of their opponents for the upcoming tourney. Still, Kevin Ollie and first-year Charleston coach Earl Grant weighed in on a few things.
(on some things the Huskies need to improve on after their first two exhibition games)
"We shot free throws very, very well last year. The past two games, I think we missed nine in the second game and 11 in the first. We definitely want to correct that. When someone makes a mistake fouling us, we want to convert. We want to push the pace more, and continue to rebound."
They’re a good team. I know Coach Grant is coming in, he inherited a team and he's putting his imprint on them. We don't know what that imprint is yet, but I know they’re gonna be a defensive-minded team, the things he brought over there from Clemson. We’re gonna have to have all our hands on deck and be ready to play a full 40 minutes.”
(Ollie was asked to define one of his favorite new catchphrases, "Falling in love with the process")
So many people fall in love with the prize at the end. There’s always a process, some up’s and down’s, things you’ve got to tend to through season. But you can’t be distracted by the prize at the end. 'I’ve got to play my type of basketball, UConn type of basketball.' There’s gonna be some up’s and downs’, but if we fall in love with that, get better every day, improve and grow, and we're gonna be a successful team – not only on the floor but off it."
(on Jim Calhoun's new gig at ESPN)
"I know Coach likes to talk. He’s not a person that shies away from his opinion. That’s great for ESPN. He’s got a wealth of knowledge. Anybody that’s spent two minutes with him … I think he’s gonna do an excellent job."
(on Amida Brimah)
"He's a worker bee. You try to kick him out of the gym and he sneaks in the back door."
(on how things have been since taking over the program)
"It’s been great. It’s been a whirlwind. But I’ve enjoyed
it. A lot of my enjoyment is from having quality people to work with and
unbelievable kids that I deal with on a daily basis ... We're trying to implement a new system, but we've got to be patient."
"I know UConn is a really good team. Obviously, I respect what Kevin Ollie has been able to do. My assistant coaches are looking at UConn. I'm more concerned with our first game, Furman ... I really haven't had a chance to worry about UConn at this point."
Labels: Amida Brimah, Earl Grant, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie