Thursday, August 24, 2017

Some dates to look forward to for UConn fans

There may not be a First Night at UConn this year, but that doesn’t mean the school won’t be doing something to get students and fans revved up for the 2017-18 season.

What that will be remains to be seen, but the athletic department is in the early planning stages of putting together something – no one’s really sure what quite yet.
The main problem, of course, is the venue. While work on Gampel Pavilion’s roof is on schedule and will be completed by the time the schedule begins in early November, it likely won’t be done by the time First Night usually rolls around in mid-October. Hence, no First Night this year.

But be on the lookout for some type of announcement in the coming weeks. What that event will be, where it will be held, who will partake – all questions that remain to be answered.

Work on Gampel Pavilion's roof back in late-June. It's a lot better now.
Meanwhile, Tyler Polley and Eric Cobb, who had other things to take care of over the summer, have arrived on UConn’s campus. The rest of the team, including recent signee Kwintin Williams, who also hasn’t made it to campus yet, will arrive by this weekend. Classes start on Monday.

Here are some concrete dates for UConn fans to mark on their calendars:

Week of Sept. 4 – The AAC should release its schedule sometime this week. UConn's will likely follow a day or two after. The league met with officials from CBS and ESPN last Thursday to lock up some national games. Now, it’s just a matter of going over with athletic directors, coaches, etc. about whether those dates and times work, or if anything needs to be shifted. One complication this year is that Houston and Cincinnati will both be playing all their games away from home due to arena renovations. Houston will play most of its games on the Texas Southern campus but a few at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston, home of the Rockets. Cincy, meanwhile, will play all its games on the Northern Kentucky campus.

Also this week, UConn will be holding a "Meet the Newcomer" event for the press. This will give media types a chance to find out a bit about the new players and tell their stories to interested readers.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 – The annual Husky Run should take place on this date. This year’s route around campus may be a little different, due to construction.

Saturday, Sept. 30 – First practice. Teams begin practicing six weeks before their first game. That actually means the Huskies could start on Friday, Sept. 29, but Kevin Ollie typically likes to start that Saturday morning.

Monday, Oct. 16 – AAC Media Day. This will be held in Philadelphia for the second straight year. The general public probably doesn’t care, but it’s a good time for media to talk to players and coaches from around the league as the season approaches.

Monday, Oct. 30 – UConn’s first exhibition game. No, not against the University of St. Joseph. It’ll be against Merrimack, though not sure if it’ll be in Storrs or Hartford just yet.

Tuesday, Nov. 14 – The Huskies will play Stony Brook in their only previously-unannounced non-conference game. Again, not sure if it will be in Storrs or Hartford yet.

Meanwhile, on the recruiting front, UConn will be getting a visit from coveted point guard Jalen Carey out of New Jersey. The Huskies were in on Carey early so they should feel good about where they stand with him.

Other potential visits over the next few weeks include Tyron Brewer of Mississippi, Keyontae Johnson out of Oak Hill Academy and Andrew Nembhard out of Montverde Academy in Florida.

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