Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's My Name?

Little more than a rumor at the end of the bench for much of this season, freshman guard Donnell Beverly had fallen so far out of Jim Calhoun's mind that the University of Connecticut men's basketball coach had practically forgotten his name.

Not that Calhoun isn't known to botch a name or two, but the few times he has referred to Beverly this season, he's often called him "Donyell" – or variations thereof.

"(On Friday) in scouting report, he called me, 'Yell,'" Beverly reported. "He was talking about who was going to switch off and guard (Eric) Gordon, and he called me 'Yell.' It was funny. I know he's so used to Donyell (Marshall). Donyell's a great player, but …"

Thrust into serious minutes for the first time in his collegiate career on Saturday at Assembly Hall, Beverly came through. He scored just three points on 1-for-5 shooting – a 3-pointer midway through the first half – but applied sticky defense on Big 10 scoring leader Gordon and ran the point with aplomb for stretches of his 16 minutes of action.

Prior to Saturday, Beverly had seen action in just half of the Huskies' first 18 games. He had seen exactly two minutes of action in Big East play.

But, with fellow guards Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins left back in Storrs for violating team rules, the Huskies needed some solid minutes from Beverly against No. 7 Indiana.

"He did something you can't ask a kid to do – never play in a big game and come in and give significant minutes," Calhoun said. "(We told him), 'O.K., Donnell, you've been sitting for 2 ½ months on the (second) team. We'd like you to go to Bloomington, Ind., get to Assembly Hall, play the seventh-ranked team in the country …"

"And guard Gordon," associate coach George Blaney chimed in.

"'And we think you'll be good, by the way,'" Calhoun continued. "And he was."

And Calhoun didn't even call him "Donyell" afterwards, something he may never do again after Saturday.

"Hopefully not," Beverly said, with a smile.


Anonymous SaxManNate said...

One thing that stuck out to me was the aggressiveness with which Beverly played--something UCONN players seem to lack sometimes. Stanley Robinson, Charlie Villanueva, Rudy Gay, even my man Ben Gordon seemed to take plays/games off. With Stanley and Rudy, it seemed like a lack of confidence sometimes. But Donnell jumped right in. I think it helped set the fire under our Huskies!

1:11 AM 

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