Friday, October 12, 2007

First Night tidbits

Couple of interesting tidbits so far from First Night:

Sophomore guard Doug Wiggins isn't here and, indeed, hasn't been allowed in the UConn locker room for the past few weeks because, in coach Jim Calhoun's words, "he hasn't lived up to my standards."

Wiggins isn't injured, and it's not an academic or behavioral issue, or the university would have taken action. Rather, it's been a "pattern of behavior that culminated in one incident," according to Calhoun.

Wiggins will practice with the team Saturday morning in its first official practice of the season, but he'll still have to dress in a separate locker room, with walk-ons, etc., until he gets back into Calhoun's good graces.

Also ...

7-footer Assane Sene, a senior at the South Kent School via Senegal, is in the house on an official visit. He's already visited the University of Virginia and says he loves both UConn and UVA. Although several other schools are wooing him (Syracuse, UCLA, Maryland, etc.), Sene isn't sure if he'll make any more visits.

He'd like to make his decision some time in November.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hartford Hall of Fame showcase tidbits

The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase, which will take place Dec. 1 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, was held today at the International Golf Club in Bolton, Mass. Some tidbits from today's press conference with Jim Calhoun, Boston College coach Al Skinner and Providence College coach Tim Welsh. (Gonzaga coach Mark Few also participated, via conference call):

  • Calhoun says he is not averse to playing Boston College again at some point, though not on a "regular basis." After BC bolted for the ACC a few years ago, Calhoun famously vowed he'd never play the Eagles again. He said he's still peeved about BC's move, but adds that it's obviously worked out for the Eagles' football and men's basketball programs.
    "I don't know about a regular basis," he said, "but for a one-game deal, I would consider it."
    It won't happen in this year's Hall of Fame Showcase, however. UConn will face Gonzaga in the 3:30 p.m. game, while BC faces Providence in the 6 p.m. contest.
  • All four coaches are looking forward to the Dec. 1 event as a good, early-season test with an NCAA Tournament-type feel. Currently, over 13,500 tickets have been sold to the event.
  • Calhoun admitted he didn't want to play Holy Cross in the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament's Storrs Regional on Nov. 7-8, but insists he didn't duck the Crusaders altogether.
    "You don't want to play a slowdown team the first game of the year," Calhoun said, "particularly with a team coming in not with a great deal of confidence."
    The coach said he eventually relented and agreed to play Holy Cross, but by then, Crusader coach Ralph Willard had pulled the team out of the regional.
  • Calhoun said last year the Huskies played a "Jim Boeheim schedule" -- meaning they didn't leave their home gym until after New Year's -- and paid dearly for it.
  • Stanley Robinson may be the last player UConn recruits from Alabama (just kidding). After Calhoun noted that his team featured three foreigners last season -- Ben Eaves from England, Hasheem Thabeet from Tanzania and Robinson from Alabama.
    "He got his passport into Connecticut," the coach quipped.
    Joked Welsh: "The days of us beating Connecticut for recruits are, well, never. But today, I found out we can beat him in Alabama."
  • Calhoun’s most telling quote of the day: “We have to get to the NCAA Tournament. There’s no if’s, and’s, but’s or maybe’s about it. That’s my goal, that’s our team’s goal, that’s what we’re thinking about.”

(Read tomorrow's New Haven Register for full story)

Monday, October 08, 2007

First Night info

Here are some details regarding First Night 2007, set for Friday at Gampel Pavilion:

The event is open to the public and there is no admission charge.

A fanfest on Stadium Road begins at 6 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and an autograph session with both the men’s and the women’s teams begins at that time. The autograph session ends at 7:10 p.m.

The women’s show begins at approximately 7:30 p.m. and the men’s show will follow at approximately 8:30 p.m.