Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daniel Hamilton: Leaving UConn "never crossed my mind"

It was Husky Day at the State Capitol today. Most of the members of the UConn men's and women's basketball teams were there -- no Ryan Boatright, but just about everyone else there, including coaches Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma.

One reporter's daughter even got a whole bunch of autographs, including Geno's.

(Oh, and if you're in the Southington area tonight around 6:30, stop by the Southington Public Library, where I'll be doing a book signing and discussion of Rebound!).

Anyway, here's some of what Daniel Hamilton and Ollie had to say:


(on rumors he might be leaving the program)

“I never had any thoughts. I had a sitdown with Coach Ollie, and we talked about the season during the exit meeting. Everything was good. I’m excited to be coming back.”

“He said I’ve got to shoot the ball better, and just getting to where I wanted to go, not forcing shots, not taking ill-advised shots.”

“It never crossed my mind. I know there were some rumors out there saying I might leave, but there was no thought of me going. Especially after the year that we had, I want to come back and do even better things next year. I wasn’t satisfied with the year we had as a team. Next year, I want to come back and be better than we were this year.”

“I knew my grandma’s been sick the last couple of years. I was always talking to her, she was always watching my games. She was just proud of me throughout the whole year.”

(on watching his brother, Isaac, help UCLA make a run to the Sweet Sixteen)

“Them making the Sweet 16, it was definitely fun. I was supporting them the whole way.”

“Not jealous, I was happy for him. I was excited for him.”


(on Duke winning the title)

“They definitely deserved it. Coach K is a wonderful coach.”

(on recruiting focuses)

“We’ve got a couple of players that we’re looking (at). We’re just trying to add some spots. My job is to evaluate the program ... We have a couple that’s right on the brink, and hopefully we’ll get some good news here soon.”

(on any possible transfers)

“No one came in my office yet. It’s always an open door. I’m not telling them to come in the office. If they decide to come in and decide to go somewhere else, I can’t hold them back, I can just give my opinion on going forward. Hopefully, everybody stays and we can add on some compliments to these guys we’ve got now.”

“We just had our regular exit meetings. I gave them my expectations of them. went over the stats with them, just the standards that we uphold here at UConn. It was a character-building season for us, for me as a coach. We’ve got to get better. I think everybody has that desire, to get better.”

(on how Ollie can get better as a coach)

“Everything -- management of the team, getting them in better positions. I can always improve on everything. It’s not just one thing. I’ve got to get these guys better. We all fell short. We’re all UConn, and we’d like to get to the tournament. It’s a fine line between good and bad. We lost a lot of close games. You look back at those situations, I could have done things better, players could have made shots. We’re all in this together. It’s not one thing.”

(on recent college coaching changes)

“I was happy for Dave (Leitao), and to see Shaka (Smart) move to Texas. Some great acquisitions there, but also some great coaches that got their walking papers, which is unfortunate, too.”

(on Steve Enoch)

Every time I see Steve, he’s getting bigger, he’s getting better, he’s performing very well, he’s rebounding the ball. He’s got a chip on his shoulder every time I see him. I think he’s gonna be a phenomonal basketball player for us. He’s gonna be a serviceable big man coming in his freshman year, getting to lear from Amida, Kentan and Phil on how to conduct yourself as a UConn basketball player. I see a lot of potential in him. Now, that potential’s got to turn into skill. And that just depends on how hard he’s gonna work. What I see from him, I don’t see where that pattern’s gonna stop. Every time I see him, he’s adding something to his offensive repertoire, defensive rebounding -- doing things we lacked a little bit last year.”

(on Jalen Adams)

“Jalen Adams is gonna be an instant player for us that’s gonna really impact the game instantly. He can do so much stuff off the bounce, he’s very athletic. A lot of people don’t know how good a passer he is. I’m just gonna weigh on him to come in and do the different things we know he can do. But, athletically, ball-handling, pushing the ball -- those are his strengths. I’m gonna try to display that every single day, give him a platform where he can go out there and show his God-given talents. And God has given him a lot.”

Apparently, Adams may not play in Friday's Jordan Brand Classic regional game at Barclays Center. Nothing's official as of now, however. Doesn't sound like an injury or anything, just a possible conflict of some sort.

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