Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kevin Ollie on finally returning home; Phil Nolan on his struggles; Ryan Boatright on being "last four out"

So the media gets parking passes for all Gampel Pavilion home games. It took a while for me to find my pass for tomorrow's game, however, since it's been so long since I've had to use one.

Hard to believe it's been six weeks since the Huskies have played a home game in their on-campus arena. But it has -- since that Dec. 5 loss to Yale. UConn finally returns to Gampel on Thursday night against UCF. The Huskies even practiced in Gampel today, rather than the new basketball practice facility, to reacquaint themselves with the gym a little bit.

Here's some video and quotes from after practice:


“Hopefully our home crowd will bring the juice. I know we had it against Cincinnati, at the XL Center. It’s just good to be back home. We’ve been on the road. I think we came back from the Florida trip, seemed like we stayed about 12 hours and we were out again. It’s the schedule, you’ve got to play those games. We’re not making any excuses about how we played against Stanford, or Tulsa. We’ve got to play tough, with a sense of urgency. We didn’t have that at all. That’s my job as a coach, to get these guys prepared. And it’s their job as players to go out there and execute that toughness.”

(on UCF's Justin McBride)

“We knew about him after those first five minutes, because he changed the whole complexion of the game. He’s a big boy.”

(on Phil Nolan)

“I’m just trying to stay with him and believe in him. Our guys are putting him in great situations. He’s just got to finish the layups and have confidence with it. My job is not a psychiatrist, but I’m gonna try to help him and build him up. Because we need him. He’s organized on defense, he’s organized on offense. I’m very confident in him in our defensive rotations. But at the end of the day, when the ball is getting to you right at the rim, you’ve got to finish that. Because that helps our momentum. That keeps a run going, or it stops their run.”

(on whether Nolan's extra 30 pounds of bulk this season has affected his play)

“I have no idea. He looks good. He looks a little bigger. He still seems to be nimble, he’s still taking more charges than anybody, that means his feet are still moving. That means his feet are still moving and his mind is still there. You’ve got to finish plays.”

(on team's NCAA tourney hopes)

“We’ve got 14 games. We’ve got to start right now. If we want to be happy on Selection Sunday ... (that’s their) dreams and goals. When you get in there, everything is done. No more, ‘Oh, you barely got in.’ It’s a new season, a new life. But we’ve got to understand we have to take care of today and not worry about that. Because if you keep letting games slip, we’re not going to the NCAA tournament. We’ve got to start taking care of the small things.”

(on UConn's recent schedule)

“We’re a no-excuse team, but the schedule’s been tough. But everybody’s going through it. Everybody in our league is going through it. It is what it is. February is going to be a challenge, too, because we’ve got some long trips where we’re going back and forth, back and forth. Three straight weeks in February, we’re going back and forth. It is what it is. We’ve got to go out there and create a way.”

(on any possible tweaks to the starting lineup)

“I did like our start a little better than the other starts we’ve been having. Rodney (Purvis) played 32 minutes. He did a lot of good things off the bench, coming in and giving us some scoring options. It’s about who finishes the game.”


(on whether he's going through a lack of confidence)

“I wouldn’t even say that. I had all the confidence going into the season, I’ve just got to play better.”

(on his knack for taking charges)

“Something happened in the middle of last season. Coach Ollie said something about nobody on the team taking charges. I saw an opportunity one game, I took the charge, and it’s been history since.”

“If I see it, I’m definitely gonna take it. If I see somebody driving to the hole, as hard as they can, I know they’re not gonna stop, so I just try to step in front of them.”

(on how his extra bulk's affected him)

“At the beginning of the season, I kind of felt like I was a little less athletic. I’ve just been trying to figure it out.”


“I’ve been on teams where we’ve lost a few games, but I’ve never been in the talk of last four out, last four in. I was watching TV yesterday, seeing our name on there, something was burning inside of me. I didn’t like it. It’s frustrating. I’m putting it on my shoulders to get this team back on the winning side of things.”

“It’s been a while since we’ve played in here, man. It’s gonna be fun being back home. Hopefully, the crowd will come out and support. Either way, we’re gonna come out and take care of business. Because we’ve got to.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What current top 25 club, if any would give any players on roster other than Mr. Boatright meaningful minutes and which player(s) would be annointed? Did I see straight that Seton Hall is nationally ranked and the home team is 74th; is that possible?

January 22, 2015 at 2:16 AM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Daniel Hamilton, no doubt. Teams could use a shot-blocker like Amida Brimah. Facey, Purvis, Calhoun can do some things. You're selling these guys a little short.

January 22, 2015 at 10:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is precisely the problem. Some of the players can do SomE things & in many cases x or y player can only do 1 thing. UCONN is a massive contingent of non multidimensional men. One gent can dribble only but cannot shoot, assist, etc., one gentleman can rebound but not much else ad infinitum. The G-Men game versus Villanova the other evening highlighted what a winning team with unlimited potential looks like. Georgetown University is absolutely loaded across the board with multiskills players at each position on the floor. The Hoyas are so far advanced compared to UCONN it is unfathomable. Interestingly, the G-Men are enrolling players at Foggy Bottom that the home team coveted but FaileD to recruit to Storrs. What else is new?

January 24, 2015 at 6:41 AM 

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