Kevin Ollie on Ryan Boatright: "Of course he wanted to win player of the year. I'd be lying right in your face (to say) he didn't."
Both, of course, are well-deserved. Here's what they had to say:
"It's truly a blessing. I just want to continue to keep improving from this day on and keep getting better."
(on Kevin Ollie being a "second father")
"I can just talk to him about anything, his door is open 24 hours. Being to be able to talk to him about anything, on and off the court."
"It's truly an honor to be able to play for him, as well."
"This award means a lot. There were a lot of expectations coming into it, but when you've got coaches and teammates believing in you, it's not that tough."
Hamilton noted that his grandmother, Lucine Noble, passed away recently. The funeral is on Tuesday, and he will try to fly out to California on Monday to attend.
Added Kevin Ollie:
"You've got to take in consideration, he's from L.A., coming all the way across the country. Dealing with the academics, the time management we put on their lives -- it's tough. For him to continue to work and to have that on his back throughout the whole season, being named preseason rookie of the year, it's great. His expectations of himself are more than we expect of him. He's going to continue to do a good job, hopefully throughout this new season that we have, he'll continue his great play."
"It was completely unexpected. I didn't really think I'd be up for it. I know the scholar part, but the scholar-athlete part. It's an honor to receive the award. I think it says a lot about the University of Connecticut and the basketball program, really what coach Ollie stands for. I'm happy to be a representative of what coach Ollie wants us to do on and off the court."
*** Meanwhile, Temple's Fran Dunphy won coach of the year and SMU's Nic Moore was named player of the year. Obviously, Ryan Boatright could have won player of the year, as well, but Moore was the best player on the best team.
Here's what Ollie said about it:
"Anybody who's a competitor, you want to win player of the year. He had some great numbers, he led our conference in scoring, in assists he was right up in the top five. He did a wonderful job. He was unanimous first team, that's a great honor for him. Of course he wanted to win player of the year. I'd be lying right in your face if he didn't. But, at the end of the day, he doesn't have any control over that. What he has control over is getting our team ready to play, being a leader, being the point guard of our team. I think that's where his mindset is."