Friday, November 28, 2014

Rick Barnes ruminates on UConn, Kevin Ollie

Rick Barnes spoke with the Connecticut media on a conference call Friday morning, in advance of Sunday's UConn-Texas battle at Gampel.

Here's some of what Barnes had to say:

(on how things have changed for the Longhorns with the loss of freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor, who broke his wrist last week and is out for a while)

“Not so much, with Javon (Felix) and DeMarcus Holland, they’be been here, they all do it a little bit different. We’ve tried to put a system in to help us when we have injuries, so it’s not built so much around one person. Isaiah's speed, his ability to get to the basket and create is a little different than how Javon does it. He moves the ball more than Isaiah ... The other night, DeMarcus did wonderful job running the system, staying in system. In terms of what we try to do, we haven’t changed that much."
(on what he thinks of UConn)


“You look at our team, we’re a big team, but we can play small if we have to. We’ve done a little bit of all of it. Look at our size, look at their guard play, perimeter play, we're gonna have to defend ball screens in halfcourt. We're gonna have to be able to guard the basketball. Ballscreen defense is very, very important. Handling their quickness, speed will be a major thing for us."

(on scheduling a tough non-conference slate each year)

"Dave Gavitt taught me a lot, and I'm very fortunate to have had him in my life. We played in the Big East tournament one year and he jumped on the bus and was riding back with us. I think at the time he was working with the (NCAA selection) committee. We're on the bus coming back, we had won a game in the Garden and were feeling pretty good. We were right on that bubble. Dave said to me, 'What are you prepared to tell your team if you don't get in the tournament.' I said, 'Are you telling me something I don't know or should know?' The next day, we didn't make the tournament."

"If you ever don't make it based on your non-league schedule, you have no one to blame but yourself. Since that day, we've tried to do that. There have been years I know we could've won more games. But playing against Connecticut, against Michigan State, North Carolina through the years, those games have helped us in more ways than you can imagine."

(his thoughts on Kevin Ollie)

"What I remember about him as a player: I was watching them on TV, they were in a tough game, and all I know is they inbounded the ball with eight, nine seconds on the clock and he took it the length of the floor, penetrated, drew the defense and kicked it out to Ray Allen, I think. Maybe it was Donny Marshall. I'm telling you, the very next game, we have a two-point lead, same situation I watched him just win a game. I said to Franklin Western, 'I know he's gonna push it,' and they did exactly what they did against the other tam. Franklin tried to stop him, he kicked it out and won the game."

(It should be noted that Barnes appears to have gotten the second half of the story wrong. Ollie made the last-second shot to beat PC in that game. I believe it was his only field goal of the game)



"Like all of Jim's teams back then, they fight, they compete. He was as a player the way he is as a coach. His personality, he's gonna compete and take care of business."

(on Daniel Hamilton, whose older brother, Jordan, played for Barnes at Texas)

"He's different, more athletic than Jordan. Just like Jordan, he's a competitor. He's gonna play. It'll be fun watching him grow. Kevin will do a great job with him. They're different players, Daniel and Jordan.

"I do remember on a home visit to Jordan, (Daniel) was on the top of the bunk bed, sleeping. Everybody told me he's gonna be a good one."

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