Sunday, November 25, 2007

'The Hacker' & Hasheem

UConn coach Jim Calhoun said the two things he'd most like to see in the Huskies' 7 p.m. game with Florida A&M at the Hartford Civic Center Monday night are a good, full game from Jerome Dyson and the continued offensive progression of Hasheem Thabeet.

* Dyson has earned the nickname "The Hacker" among his teammates after fouling out of two of the Huskies' first five games and committing 21 personal fouls overall. He's reaching in a bit too much, not moving his feet enough and, by his own admission, "falling asleep" at times on defense after the ball has been rotated once through.

"I think he's reaching more," said Calhoun. "His mindset's the same."

"I've just got to do a better job of moving my feet – not reaching, going for loose balls," Dyson admitted.

Dyson has also been nicked up a bit. He said he's been bothered by both tightness in both his right and left groins, and now has a hip pointer on his left side.

Point guard A.J. Price sat out of Saturday's practice with an ankle sprain, and both he and Dyson sat out a few defensive drills on Sunday. At one point, while the rest of the team participated in a drill, Calhoun had Price and Dyson run laps around the court.

"I don't want you feeling guilty that you can't do this drill," the coach said.

* Thabeet, meanwhile, has scored 33 points in his last two games (including a career-high 22 last Tuesday vs. Gardner-Webb), and has hit 13 of his last 14 foul shots. Strangely, the 7-foot-3 center who led the Big East and was third in the nation in blocked shots a year ago has just seven blocked shots this season – and, stunningly, not one in his past two games. It's the first time in his career Thabeet has gone consecutive games without a block.

Read more about Thabeet's improvements on offense (and regression on defense) in Monday's New Haven Register.

* Florida A&M fired its football coach and accepted the resignation of its athletic director over the past week, so it's been a hectic time for the school's sports information department. In fact, the pregame notes made available to the media on Sunday were simply printed straight off the team's web site.

With that, UConn doesn't have a lot of info on the Rattlers' team, other than that they just brought aboard a 6-6, 230-pound JUCO transfer named Oliver Prince, who had 15 points and eight boards off the bench Saturday night against Kennesaw State.

"Otherwise, we have no idea," Calhoun said.

David Borges may be reached at dborges@nhregister.com

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