Tag: Kevin Ollie

Kevin Ollie
AP Photo

Deep UConn team looking for go-to player

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One of the country’s most intriguing teams this season will be UConn, who returns a lot of talent and adds some interesting fifth-year transfers. The Huskies won their exhibition debut over the weekend with an 88-72 win over Division II Tampa and it was behind a balanced effort.

Cornell transfer Shonn Miller looked good in his UConn debut with 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals and four other Huskies finished in double-figures. Freshman guard Jalen Adams offered a speedy change-of-pace option off the bench for UConn and scored 14 points, the same amount as guard Rodney Purvis. Senior Omar Calhoun contributed 11 and Daniel Hamilton chipped in 10.

Ollie went 10 deep in the game and he clearly has a lot of talented pieces at his disposal — I didn’t even get to center Amida Brimah or Seton Hall transfer guard Sterling Gibbs, among others — and figuring out a rotation will be an on-going early-season process.

Also interesting to track with UConn is who will step up and take the lead early in the season. Ollie had a pretty revealing quote after the game and Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant mentioned it in his report.

“You can have a lot of guys contribute,” Ollie said to reporters, “but you have to have a guy that can be that alpha dog, too. That team we had [two years ago], we had options, but Shabazz [Napier] was that guy when everything got in disarray and tough, he was that guy to bring them together. That’s what I’m searching for right now, and I think I’m going to find it. Daniel didn’t have the game he’s supposed to have, but it was just the first game.”

That quote says a fair amount about the Huskies at this point and there is still uncertainty with who might take over down the stretch for a talented team. Hamilton could be in line for a big year as a sophomore and Ollie is expecting a lot on him, as he mentions him specifically in this quote. Even if Hamilton doesn’t have a huge scoring night, this Husky team probably has enough balance to win on some off nights. If Hamilton plays at a higher level, UConn could be a dangerous — and deep — team this season.

Vance Jackson commits to UConn

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UConn held its annual First Night on Friday, but the Huskies had another reason to celebrate. Vance Jackson, a 2016 small forward, announced he had committed to UConn for next fall.

“I would like to announce that I’m committing to the University Of Connecticut,” he tweeted.

Jackson, rated No. 72 overall by Rivals, joins a monster recruiting class for Kevin Ollie, one that includes fellow four-star prospects Alterique Gilbert and Juwan Durham, as well as three-star big man Mamadou Diarra. That incoming group also includes VCU transfer Terry Larrier, who is sitting out the 2015-16 season.

UConn prepares for start of practice with ‘Husky Run’


STORRS, Conn. (AP) The UConn’s men’s basketball team ended its summer workouts and unofficially began the new basketball season Wednesday by completing the annual “Husky Run” through campus.

Sophomore swingman Daniel Hamilton was the first member of the team to complete the annual 3.1-mile race. He jogged the last few yards backward, and finished in 20 minutes, 21 seconds – 10 seconds ahead of junior forward Kentan Facey.

Junior center Amida Brimah, who ran 20:22 a year ago, didn’t participate this year because of a sore ankle. Also sitting out the “Husky Run” was junior guard Sam Cassell Jr., who missed a significant portion of last season due to a stress fracture in his leg.

Hamilton says he’s in the best shape of his life, and believes his team has what it takes to be among the best in the nation.

The Huskies finished 20-15 and lost in the first round of the NIT last season, a year after winning the program’s fourth NCAA championship.

Jon Gill, a senior at Lyman Hall-Wallingford HS, won the “Husky Run” for a second consecutive year with a time of 17:45.

Video credit: WTNH News 8