Saturday, December 01, 2007

Who Are You?

Some homecoming for Jeff Adrien. The Brookline, Mass. native didn't any respect during the pregame player introductions. After the P.A. man introduced "No. 5, Hasheem Thabeet" (Thabeet actuallyl wears No. 34), he introduced Gonzaga's fifth and final starter ... and that was it. Adrien ran out on the floor and got high fives from his teammates with no proper introduction.

Just before the opening tap, Adrien's name was finally announced.

As for the game itself -- UConn shot the ball very well in the first half (7-for-16 from 3-point land), paced by 13 points from A.J. Price, nine from Jerome Dyson and eight from Stanley Robinson. The Huskies jumped out to a 6-0 start and owned a 36-27 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half.

However, Gonzaga finished off the half with an 8-2 flurry, capped by a fallway away treey by Micah Downs just inside the final minute and a trey by David Pendergraft with one tick left on the clock to give the Zags their first and only lead of the half, 45-44.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Honoring Reggie

Here's a story from today's New Haven Register about how Jim Calhoun and Andre LaFleur plan to honor former Northeastern teammate Reggie Lewis with a youth basketball clinic today (Friday) at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.;jsessionid=z51KHQGfk79CdLtkXXW8fQQcRvTy72zcYJBfhsWXfGpyLh10rZTT!-1290892734?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men%2FTopStoryList_Story_1190313

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Sort of Homecoming

Jim Calhoun returns to his roots when the UConn Huskies drive up to Boston on Friday to take part in Saturday's Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase doubleheader at TD Banknorth Garden. UConn faces No. 19 Gonzaga at 3:30 p.m., followed by Providence-Boston College at 6.

Calhoun grew up about 1 ½ miles from the old Boston Garden before moving to Braintree at age 7. He also coached at nearby Dedham High for two seasons and, of course, at Northeastern University for 14 years before coming to UConn in 1986.

Calhoun will have four sisters and a brother at the game, along with several nephews and nieces. Players he coached at both Dedham High and at Northeastern will also be there.

* Perhaps the most special part of the weekend, however, will be on Friday, when Calhoun and the Huskies hold a 1 ½-hour youth clinic at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. Calhoun coached Lewis at Northeastern and still holds the late Celtic great near and dear to his heart. It’s also worth nothing that UConn assistant coach Andre Lafleur played with Lewis for four years at Northeastern and were college roommates.

* The three regional teams (UConn, Providence and BC) were given an allotment of 3,200 tickets each. Gonzaga was given 800. UConn and PC have sold out their allotment and have been asking for more. With the BC football team playing Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship on Saturday, about 800 tickets have been returned by BC fans.

As it stands, of the approximately 18,500 tickets available for the doubleheader, only about 1,000 remain. Some of the returned BC tickets are in the lower bowl and go for $77.50 apiece. Tickets available in the upper arena are priced at $27.50.

Tickets can be purchased at, or in person at TD Banknorth ticket offices.

* Apparently, there have been some ticket requests from some major celebrities, including members of the Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron, anyone?) who will face the Celtics at the Garden on Sunday afternoon.

Numerous Hall of Famers will be in attendance as well, including Walt Bellamy, Wayne Embree, Marcus Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, Norwalk native Calvin Murphy and Dolph Schayes. Organizers tried hard to get ex-Celtic greats Bob Cousy and John Havileck to come, but both had prior commitments in Florida.

* Speaking of Florida, Calhoun jokingly said he tried to set up Gonzaga with a game in the Sunshine State tomorrow night to further tire out the already road-wear ‘Zags.

“If they had nothing better to do Friday night, I’d have had them play in Miami and have them drive up Saturday for the game,” Calhoun quipped.

Gonzaga played in the Great Alaska Shootout Nov. 22-24 and plays St. Joseph’s tonight in Philadelphia before heading to Boston for Saturday’s game.

“It hasn’t line up as well as I’d like,” ‘Zags coach Mark Few admitted. “We had delays from Alaska on Sunday. But it is what it is. We need to step up and play.”

Of course, Gonzaga will already be playing without All-America candidate Josh Heytvelt and freshman point guard Steven Gray.

* Incidentally, UConn has agreed to face Gonzaga at a neutral site next season out in Washington.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scouting the Opposition

For those interested, UConn's two post-New Year's, non-conference opponents (Indiana and Georgia Tech) are playing right now on ESPN.

Recruits & Ruminations

UConn is still hoping Nate Miles will be in a Husky uniform in another couple of months.

Although the school never mailed Miles a national letter of intent, it is hoping that the well-traveled, 6-foot-6 swingman will qualify academically and be accepted into the university for the spring semester, which begins on Jan. 22.

Right now, it’s a two-part process for Miles to enroll at the school. First, the NCAA Clearinghouse must approve all of his academic information – grades, SAT scores, etc. That process could take several weeks. Miles’ coach at The Patterson (N.C.) School has said that the player has been working hard on his academics lately.

And, as one university source pointed out, the Huskies wouldn’t have pursued Miles or gone this far with him if it didn’t feel like he had a legitimate shot to qualify.

If Miles does qualify, like all prospective UConn student-athletes, he must then pass the university’s muster.

Miles has been enrolled at six different high schools in the past four-plus years and is now considered a postgraduate student at the Patterson School. He has had disciplinary problems throughout his high school tenure and was suspended from an early-season scrimmage at Patterson and also held back from the team’s recent trip to the National Prep Showcase at UMass-Lowell.

However, Miles has also had a tough upbringing. According to sources, Miles has never really known his father, and his mother has been in and out of prison.

“He has had some circumstances in his life that have made for what wouldn’t be called a ‘normal’ academic road,” said a university source. “He’s had some hardships. He’s a kid that’s been let down, too, by adults – not purposely. To continue to penalize him just because you look at just his papers … every kid is an individual case.”

Can They Snare Snaer?

Add Michael Snaer’s name to the list of Class of 2009 recruits in whom the Huskies are interested.

Snaer is a 6-4, 170-pound shooting guard from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif. He’s an above-average athlete with good length and good three-point range, and can handle and pass well for a shooting guard. He’s also a good defender with the capacity to be an even better one.

Snaer is the 64th-rated prospect in the Class of ’09, according to

UConn is still hoping to land top-rated shooting guard Tyreke Evans, a senior who may wait for the spring signing period to decide, and is also looking into some junior-college and foreign players.

Ruminations from Monday Night:

* Expect Doug Wiggins to start seeing more playing time, and start seeing more plays designed for him, as he continues to impress coach Jim Calhoun with his hustle, attitude and offensive moxy.

"We’ve got to do more for him, to set him up offensively," the coach said, "because he is so quick.”

Check out an article on Wiggins in Wednesday's New Haven Register (again, here's the link to the Register's new web site :;jsessionid=Ns7JHMhbYyXrfDZ18rdvj5nPXdQsyVzQFdSTL2MJrg0hJNWTJxmJ!434813543?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_section&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FSports

* Calhoun has also been happy with the play of Gavin Edwards off the bench. Edwards had six points in 12 minutes Monday night as he continues to steal minutes from slumping fellow forward Curtis Kelly.

Calhoun likes Edwards' play on the Huskies' zone press.

"With Hasheem (Thabeet) deep and Gavin on the second line, we're much better. He covers the middle, creates turnovers. He's very smart, very flexible. (But) I would like to see him more assertive offensively."

* A.J. Price pulled a groin in Monday night’s game with Florida A&M and was limited to just nine minutes in the second half. He scored a season-low three points.

* Next up for UConn is a date with No. 19 Gonzaga on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. Only 1,500 tickets out of approximately 17,200 remain for the Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase doubleheader (Providence and Boston College clash in the nightcap). More than 25 NBA teams have requested scouting passes for the two games.

* Saturday's game will be a sort of homecoming for Brookline (Mass.) native Jeff Adrien. The last time he played at TD Banknorth Garden, it was still called the Fleet Center. It was in the Class A Championship Game, and Adrien's Brookline High fell to Springfield-Commerce.

“I remember it like yesterday," Adrien said. "It was a real sad moment. But I have a chance to get a ‘W’ there again.”

Game story

There seems to be some confusion about the Register's new web site. Those who have the old site linked as a bookmark can't seem to access the new site. Here's the new URL address to the Register's web site, and in particular the story from Monday night's UConn win over Florida A&M:;jsessionid=ppTmHMwDJfG69pRxQkmBrN1zqrn5fFSy2S4YfnT1FNWjfR2xQrPy!-1290892734?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men&r21.content=%2FNHR%2FSports%2FUConn+Men%2FContentTab_Feature_1166187

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