UConn Huskies

HARTFORD, CT - JANUARY 25:  Head coach Kevin Ollie of the Connecticut Huskies yells to his team in the second half against the South Florida Bulls during the game at the XL Center on January 25, 2015 in Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

UConn adds top-150 forward

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UConn and Kevin Ollie have added another piece to their 2017 recruiting class.

Tyler Polley, a 6-foot-7 power forward, pledged to the Huskies on Tuesday.

“My decision to play basketball on the next level was one of the toughest decision I’ve ever made,” Polley wrote, “but I’m elated to announce that I will be continuing my education and basketball career at UCONN with coach Ollie and his incredible coaching staff.”

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. prospect chose the Huskies over offers from Tennessee, Dayton, Oklahoma and TCU, among others. He officially visited UConn earlier this month and the Vols last week.

“After I took my Tennessee visit, I slept on it,” Polley told Scout. “They came to visit me yesterday and we talked about it for an hour. I just had a feeling that it was the right place so I committed.”

Polley, a consensus top-150 prospect, joins four-star point guard Makai Ashton-Langford and three-star center Josh Carlton in Ollie’s 2017 class.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

UConn snaps Texas’ six-game winning streak 71-66

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has a word with guard Rodney Purvis (44) during an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Paradise Island, Bahamas. (Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
Associated Press
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Rodney Purvis scored 16 points and led a second half rally as Connecticut beat Texas 71-66 Tuesday night, snapping the Longhorns’ six-game winning streak.

Shonn Miller and Daniel Hamilton added 13 points apiece for UConn (9-3) and former Longhorn Sterling Gibbs scored 12.

Freshman Tevin Mack led Texas (8-4) with a season-best 20 points, and Isaiah Taylor scored 19.

Texas led 53-52 after Mack made his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 8:18 remaining. Then Purvis asserted himself with two driving shots, an assist on a basket by Jalen Adams, and a 3-pointer that gave UConn a 61-55 lead with 4:27 left.

After Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3:49 remaining, Purvis made another basket.

Six straight points by Taylor pulled Texas within two, 65-63, with 33 seconds left, but UConn made six throws in the final 27 seconds, four by Gibbs.

Hamilton leads UConn over Central Connecticut 99-52

Connecticut's Daniel Hamilton (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Daniel Hamilton posted the 11th triple double in UConn history as the Huskies rolled to a 99-52 victory over Central Connecticut State Wednesday afternoon at the XL Center.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to become the 10th player in school history to accomplish the feat. Former UConn guard Shabazz Napier, who now plays for the Orlando Magic, is the lone Husky to do it twice.

Shonn Miller added a team-high 25 points to lead the Huskies (8-3), who head into the holiday break on a three-game win streak.

UConn was playing its second straight game without injured 7-foot center Amida Brimah.

Rodney Purvis added 16 points, Sterling Gibbs 12 and Kentan Facey 10. UConn shot over 60 percent from the field for the third straight time, finishing at 60.3 (38-for-63).

UConn played with a short bench minus Brimah (broken finger) and reserve guard Sam Cassell Jr. (sprained ankle). Brimah sat out Sunday’s win over UMass-Lowell with a testicular contusion, but returned to practice Monday where he broke his right middle finger. He was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday afternoon.

The Blue Devils (1-9) took advantage of Brimah, who ranks ninth in the nation with 3.0 blocks per game, being out in the first half. CCSU used a 15-6 run to pull within five, 30-25, with 4:46 to go in the first half.

UConn answered with a 16-1 run to close the half. Miller scored 14 points and the Huskies shot 58 percent from the field to grab a 46-26 lead. They also scored 15 points off 10 CCSU turnovers.

Miller stayed hot to open the second half and helped UConn pull away with an 18-8 opening run to lead 64-34 with 13:52 to play.

The fifth-year senior Miller sat the final 13:10 as UConn went to the bench.

Hamilton reached 10 assists and 10 rebounds early in the second half, but had only two points. He quickly caught up in the latter category before heading to the bench for the final 6:15.

The Blue Devils were led by 16 points from Austin Nehls.

The 47-point loss was the worst of the season for the Blue Devils, who are coached by former UConn assists Howie Dickenman.


Central Connecticut: The Blue Devils snapped an eight-game losing skid to open the season with a win over UMass-Lowell. … . The Blue Devils were just 4-for-17 from 3-point range.

UConn: The Huskies outscored CCSU 56-22 in the paint.


CCSU is home against Yale on Wednesday.

UConn plays at Texas on Tuesday.

Purvis leads No. 25 UConn over UMass-Lowell 88-79

Connecticut's Rodney Purvis, right, shoots over UMass-Lowell’s DJ Mlachnik, left,  in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Associated Press
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Rodney Purvis scored 28 points and No. 25 UConn beat UMass-Lowell 88-79 on Sunday.

The Huskies (7-3), who were playing without injured 7-foot center Amida Brimah, relied on their guards in the victory.

Daniel Hamilton had 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Sterling Gibbs scored 15 points and Omar Calhoun had 14.

The Huskies made 64 percent of their shots from the floor, while Lowell shot 50 percent.

Jahad Thomas led UMass-Lowell (4-7) with 19 points and Josh Gantz had 18. Matt Harris and Isaac White each scored 11.

The Huskies led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but had a tough time.

A 3-pointer by D.J. Mlachnik closed the gap to 81-75 with under 2 minutes left, but UConn hit seven of its eight foul shots down the stretch to hold off the River Hawks.

UConn has won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 25. UMass-Lowell has lost five of its last six games.

The Huskies led by six points at halftime and just 62-55 before a 7-0 run led mostly by Purvis’ jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions.

Brimah suffered a testicular contusion last week, and UConn clearly missed his defensive presence early on. The River Hawks’ Matt Harris hit two early 3-pointers, and the team used a 7-0 run to take a 20-13 lead and force UConn coach Kevin Ollie to take a timeout.

The Huskies went to a full-court press and took the lead back 26-25 when Hamilton found Phil Nolan under the basket for a layup.

UConn hit 67 percent of its shots in the first half yet had a 43-37 lead at halftime.

A 3-pointer from Purvis gave UConn its first double-digit lead at 51-41 early in the second half, but Ryan Jones responded with a 3-pointer for the River Hawks.

UConn outrebounded UMass-Lowell 30-18. The River Hawks have only three players taller than 6-foot-4 and none taller than 6-foot-8.

UMass-Lowell, which started the season 3-2, has lost five of its six games in December. The lone win came Dec. 6 over a Boston College team that was depleted by food poisoning. Lowell has eight first-year players on its roster.


UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks have lost two straight road games to teams from Connecticut, including an 83-79 loss Friday to Central Connecticut – UConn’s next opponent.

UConn: Brimah had played in a team-high 84 consecutive games dating back to his freshman season and had started 44 straight. The team says his injury is not serious and his absence was precautionary. Daniel Hamilton leads the team in consecutive games with 45.


UMass-Lowell: The River Hawks, who had seven of eight road games this month, will head to Piscataway, New Jersey, to face Rutgers on Dec. 28.

UConn: The Huskies host Central Connecticut on Wednesday before taking on the Texas Longhorns on Dec. 29 in Austin, Texas.

Deep UConn team looking for go-to player

Kevin Ollie
AP Photo
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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.