For years the UConn basketball program has held the Husky Run, a 3.1 mile race that not only shows what kind of condition the players are in just days before the start of practice but also has “regular” students taking part. On Wednesday the latest edition of the race was run, with the winner (amongst the players) not only being UConn’s tallest player but one whose production will have a significant impact on the team’s fortunes in 2014-15.
7-footer Amida Brimah clocked in with a time of 20:22, beating junior guard Omar Calhoun by 29 seconds. While winning the race is a positive sign for the sophomore from a conditioning standpoint, what was most important was the fact that head coach Kevin Ollie announced following the run that Brimah and senior point guard Ryan Boatright will be the captains this season.
Brimah struggled with foul trouble at times but proved to be a capable option in the middle, one reason why UConn was able to win the program’s fourth national title last spring. Now healthy, the captaincy represents another step forward for Brimah, who according to Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant is a player his teammates have encouraged to be more vocal.
Boatright, Purvis and others encouraged Brimah to be more vocal. He has been an enthusiastic player from day one. Now he has become more assertive.
“He embodies everything we want in a student-athlete,” Ollie said. “To be a captain, giving maximum effort, willing to help others are two things I would identify. Amida would be right there. It’s seldom we have a sophomore captain, but he’s going to be one of the captains.”
Brimah spent a good portion of the summer recovering from surgery to address a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he’s now 100 percent with the team scheduled to begin practice Saturday morning. While the focus with regards to leadership has been on Boatright, and rightfully so, there’s no rule stating that a team can only have one leader provided everyone’s pulling in the same direction.
Based upon the comments from teammates and his head coach’s actions, it’s clear UConn feels that Brimah has the ability to be a solid leader as they look to repeat as national champions.