Tag: UConn

DeAndre Daniels

DeAndre Daniels drops 24 as UConn fights off Boston University

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Through the first three games of the season, UConn junior forward DeAndre Daniels had scored a combined 19 points. On Sunday, Daniels surpassed his season scoring total with a game-high 24 points as the Huskies stayed undefeated with a 77-60 win over Boston University at Gampel Pavilion.

Daniels scored 12 points in each half. The first dozen came early, giving UConn a hot start offensively. The second dozen — along with 12 second half points from Shabazz Napier — helped UConn put an end to the upset bid by the Patriot League favorite.

UConn started the second half with a 37-32 lead as the Terriers were attempt to comeback from a double-digit deficit. Daniels had the first five points of the half for the Huskies, but even his best game of the season to date couldn’t stop BU from getting back into the game. Three minutes into the second half, D.J. Irving gave BU its first lead of the day, but it was a short-lived one after Ryan Boatright responded with a jumper on the ensuing possession.

That started a 13-4 UConn run, with the main highlight being Daniels’ emphatic dunk that gave UConn a seven-point edge. From there, Napier, with another stat-stuffing performance (12 points, 12 rebounds, six assists). guided UConn to the win and a 4-0 start to the season.

Daniels opened up the game with 12 of UConn’s first 17 points. Boston University didn’t surpass 12 points as a team until there was 7:26 remaining in the first half. Daniels’ offensive outburst sparked a first half lead that got to as large as 19 at one point. However, in the final five minutes of the first half, the Terriers climbed back in with a 19-5 run to head into halftime. That let up by the Huskies allowed BU to briefly pull ahead in the second half.

It’s a promising performance from Daniels, who scored zero points in 18 minutes against Yale just six days ago. But there’s a difference between getting open looks against BU and having to score against teams he and the Huskies will see in the American such as Louisville and Memphis.

Another concern for the Huskies, besides blowing the big lead, is on the glass. The frontline was UConn’s big question entering this season, and will likely continue to raise concerns. The Terriers matched the Huskies in the rebound department, 36-36, and came away with six more offensive rebounds. Napier — who is listed  6-foot-1 — grabbed 1/3 of the team’s total boards.

UConn’s next game is against Boston College, a team that is also questionable on the glass, on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. After BC, the Huskies have a game against Loyola (MD) before going head-to-head with No. 11 Florida and its improving frontline after Dorian Finney-Smith joined the Gator frontcourt on Saturday alongside Patric Young and Will Yeguete.

UConn senior forward Tyler Olander cleared to rejoin team

Tyler Olander, Justin Jackson
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Last month UConn senior power forward Tyler Olander was suspended indefinitely by head coach Kevin Ollie after the Mansfield, Conn. native was arrested on charges of driving under intoxication. Ultimately that charge was dropped when tests showed that Olander was below the legal limit, with the end result being that Olander was required to pay a $75 fine after pleading guilty to driving without a license.

But even with the legal matter resolved Olander remained suspended, with Ollie requiring his most experienced post player to show better judgement on a consistent basis.

“I hope he becomes a better young man from this latest distraction,” Ollie said in a story written by Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant in late September. “That’s the first thing — and the last thing. I just want him to learn, and hopefully he does that, with the different steps he’s taking. He’s doing a great job so far, but every day, you’ve got to win the day. All of us have our vices. Every day, I’ve got to sacrifice my vice — I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I have mine.”

Olander’s apparently done enough to convince the head coach that he’s learned from the situation, as the school announced on Thursday that Olander’s been cleared to rejoin the team. Olander, who averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game as a junior, did participate in practice.

Olander’s numbers last season weren’t eye-popping by any stretch of the imagination, but the Huskies will need him due to his experience and their depth. UConn is deeper inside this season than they were in 2012-13 thanks to the arrival of freshman Amida Brimah and the return of both Olander and Phil Nolan, but they’ve yet to hear from the NCAA regarding the status of freshman Kentan Facey.

Olander’s return is good news for UConn, and the hope is that they won’t have to wait much longer for the NCAA’s decision in regards to Facey.

UConn Board of Trustees approve final construction budget for basketball center

Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant
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Since the late-1990s, when television contracts began their steady climb to the astronomical levels they reside at today, sport-specific facilities have gained popularity amongst the nation’s richest college programs. In college basketball the need to have your own facility has become even more important, with the presence of such a setup becoming a selling point that has managed to sway many a recruit.

Despite having won three national titles in men’s basketball and a record-tying eight in women’s basketball, the UConn basketball program was without a basketball-specific facility until ground was broken adjacent to Gampel Pavilion back in April. On Wednesday the school’s Board of Trustees approved a final construction budget of $33.3 million for the basketball center.

With furniture, equipment and other interior needs having to be satisfied after the structure is completed, the cost of the project is expected to approach $40 million according to Patrick Eaton-Robb of the Associated Press. But regardless of the cost, this was a necessary step for UConn given the changing landscape of collegiate athletics.

The facility, which will give both basketball programs a home that its players can utilize 24/7, will also house a basketball Hall of Fame that will be open to the public. “It’s going to be one of the best, if not the best basketball practice facility in the country,” UConn AD Warde Manuel said according to the Associated Press. “It’s something our program has earned, whereas others have built theirs without the level of championship performances that our programs have had.”

After missing out on postseason play last year due to APR issues, Kevin Ollie’s Huskies are expected to be a contender in the American Athletic Conference along with defending national champion Louisville and former Conference USA power Memphis. Guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright will once again lead the way, with junior forward DeAndre Daniels having the potential to be a breakout player nationally. As for the women, with four starters returning from last season’s national title squad the Huskies are once again one of the favorites to win it all.