Friday, February 01, 2008

'Energetic' Wiggins is Back

An energetic, vocal Doug Wiggins practiced for the second straight day on Friday. It's still not a certainty that Wiggins will play tomorrow against Pittsburgh, however.

"He will dress and we'll go from there," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun. "It'll be how I sleep on it. I've been trying to decide over the last couple of days and I really haven't come up with a decision. I'll put his name in the book and make a decision whether he does play or not."

Jerome Dyson remains on indefinite suspension. The sophomore guard has tested positive on a drug test for the second time, according to sources. School policy dictates that athletes receive a 30-60-day suspension from the team for a second offense.

"I've seen people write that it's a (definite) number," Calhoun said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's indefinitely suspended. He's not allowed to practice. He can use the facilities, but he can't participate."

Wiggins was not made available to the media, since he is still technically on "game-suspension." His teammates were happy to have him back.

"It's great to have another guard back," said Craig Austrie. "It makes us deeper. He's been upbeat, the same old Dougie – always talkative on the court, energetic."

A.J. Price said Wiggins felt he let the team down after being suspended. Price said Wiggins sent a text message to UConn coaches after the team's upset win over Indiana on Saturday "to relay the message of how sorry he was and how apologetic he is. We know that this has hurt him, and I'm sure it's hurt Jerome, too. Guys just have to learn from their mistakes."

A couple of more notes looking forward to today's game with No. 18 Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. at the XL Center:

**UConn and Pitt have developed a bit of a rivalry in recent years. While Calhoun still considers Syracuse the Huskies' top rival, it's been the Panthers who have had some of the most riveting battles with UConn lately. The two schools met each other in three straight Big East Tournament finals, from 2002-04. Since 2001-02, Pitt (179-45 overall, 76-28 Big East) and UConn (167-60, 73-31) have been the two winningest programs in the conference.

**The Huskies have done a better job getting the ball inside to Hasheem Thabeet lately, and Thabeet has done a better job converting. According to associate head coach George Blaney, the key for UConn's guards is to pass the ball up high to Thabeet, the 7-foot-3 center. Otherwise, Thabeet often has trouble catching the ball.
Thabeet has made 24 of his last 32 field goal attempts (75 percent) over the last five games.


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