Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wiggins: All Apologies

An eventful day at UConn practice today. Some tidbits:

** Jim Calhoun was back (he had returned to practice yesterday) after missing Saturday's game and Monday's practice with what he termed a "gastric problem."

"I feel lousy," he reported. "I lost about eight pounds. I wouldn't recommend the way I did it to people. Right now I'm just run-down."

He added that he believes he's the "carrier" of the malady, since assistant coach Patrick Sellers and team trainer James Doran have both been out sick the past couple of days. Fortunately for the Huskies, no players have been affected.

** Doug Wiggins apologized to Calhoun after telling reporters following his season-high 16-point effort on Saturday vs. Georgetown that he felt more relaxed without Calhoun on the sidelines.

Calhoun said the apology was unnecessary.

"There isn't a kid that's ever played for me or for a lot of coaches that hasn't transferred, in his mind," the coach reasoned. "Dougie was trying to explain why he shot well and he said, 'Coach wasn't here' ... it didn't bother me a bit."

"I had to go to Coach and let him know I didn't mean anything by that," Wiggins explained, before adding, "I just meant that it was less worrying without him being there."

** Calhoun watched the Georgetown game from the coaches' locker room and had some company for a while from ex-UConn greats Ray Allen and Caron Butler, who were playing later that night at the Verizon Center in the Celtics-Wizards game.

Calhoun believed Patrick Ewing, Jr. should have been called for travelling on a key goaltending call against Hasheem Thabeet that allowed Georgetown to tie the game at 69 with 1:45 remaining.

"John Cahill's one of the best officials in the country, but you can't take three steps to the basket. But that's what happens in basketball. You've got to make judgment calls, that's how it goes. It's happened to us on the other end. Bottom line, if we were up by 9, it wouldn't have made any difference."

** As for tomorrow night's battle with Providence at the XL Center, Calhoun noted, "I don't remember an uninteresting Providence-UConn game." He even recalled the old feud between UConn's Tate George and PC's Eric Murdock some 20 years ago over a UConn cheerleader.

Calhoun didn't mention the marital aid that was tossed onto the floor at the Dunkin' Donuts Center by a PC fan a couple of years ago. Nor did he mention his infamous "I (bleeped) up rant" after Ryan Gomes and the Friars torched the eventual national-champ Huskies 66-56 in Hartford in 2004.

Indeed, in the last six games since 2002, neither home team has won in this rivalry.

"We don't seem to mind going into The Dunk, they don't seem to mind coming here. It's been a Helen of Troy series," Calhoun remarked.

** Ex-Husky star and current Celtics commentator Donny Marshall practice with UConn today.

** For what it's worth, seven NBA scouts (a season-high, so far) are slated to be at Sunday's 1 p.m. game with Marquette at Gampel Pavilion.

** Check out tomorrow's Register for an advance on the UConn-PC game (7 p.m. at XL Center).

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