Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some UConn-Duke nostalgia

A few quotes on the UConn-Duke rivalry. (Or is it a rivalry?)

NATE JAMES (a sophomore on the 1999 Duke team that lost to UConn in the national championship game, and now a Blue Devil assistant):

"If you play that game 10 times, I truly believe we’ll win nine out of 10 times. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way. You get one time to show up, and they did. I think for the rest of our lives -- Elton Brand, my good friend, Trajon Langdon -- we’ll forever regret not bring our best to the table that night.”

“Whenever you have one of the best teams ever assembled, you get the opportunity to do something truly special, and for that night, it didn’t happen for us,” James recalled. “Like all kids and players, you let any type of distraction into your group and you face a team that was together -- Coach Calhoun had his guys together and obviously had some outstanding players on that team as well, Rip Hamilton, Khalid El-Amin, (Jake) Voskuhl. He had a terrific game plan, and it all came together.”

(is it a rivalry?)

“We don’t really use that term. They’re a team we definitely respect and has had some outstanding teams, won national championships, defeated us before. It’s a program you have a high level of respect for, and you know you have to bring your ‘A’ game against.”

KEVIN FREEMAN (a junior on the 1999 UConn title team and now the Huskies' director of basketball administration):

(responding to Nate James' comments)

“All we had to do is win the one. So, I don’t know about the next 10 times. I don’t think you play anybody in college 10 times in four years. I’ll take my one.”

“It was a tough, gritty game. Sort of like on Thursday, we were an underdog, everybody picking to beat us. We had the confidence in our locker room to go out there and know we were gonna win the game and try to win the game.”

“I think it’s a great rivalry, in the sense that every time we play it’s been a great game. The early 90’s games, the game we beat them and also in the 2000’s -- it’s gonna be a great game, it’s gonna be fun for the fans, and it’s fun for us overall.”

“It was called the Duke Invitational that year (1999), because of that team. It was definitely sweet for us to play the No. 1 team. It was us and them, and it was a great game.”

“It’s funny to fast-forward now. Because we beat them, a lot of people don’t know how great that Duke team really was. They don’t get the credit. But they were a great team, and it does give you a lot of satisfaction beating that team.”


(on UConn's 90-86 win over Duke in a Great 8 game in 1994, in which Ollie poured in 24 points)

“It was a good game. We came out with fire and passion. I think that was the first time we beat Duke."

“We kind of had a chip on our shoulder. We wanted to get Duke. It’s always been a good rivalry. They’re a great program. I have the utmost respect for Coach K and what he’s done. I look at him and marvel at the success he’s had, the sustained success. That’s what you want in your program. I think he’s done a great job. And what he’s done with USA Basketball and with his teams over the years, it’s a noble job by him.”

“It’s always a rivalry. Our first national championship was over Duke. It’s always gonna be a rivalry between us. We have more historic rivalries with Syracuse and Georgetown, of course. But whenever UConn and Duke goes, you go back and relive the past, the Christian Laettner incident, all the different things that happened during our past when those two teams got together -- Christian Laettner’s shot. A lot of memorable things in NCAA basketball history that came between these two teams when they got on the court.”

“These programs have been built with toughness, hard work and character. I think they kind of mirror themselves in those aspects.”

RODNEY PURVIS (a Raleigh, N.C. native who played at NC State as a frosh):

“I’m 1-1 against Duke, so it’ll be good to get another win.”

“I liked Duke. I had the chance to talk to Coach K and things like that. I’m not really a fan of blue. I like navy blue better than that color blue, so ... it was great. He recruited me growing up. I definitely don’t like Carolina blue. He’s definitely a great guy, a great coach. There’s nothing bad I can say about him.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, can you do a post about updating us on the recruiting trail? Also are there any rumor around Storrs about getting out of AAC? I imagine it has to be hurting the recruit pitch.

December 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM 

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