Thursday, March 27, 2008

Calhoun's "State of UConn" Speech

Jim Calhoun met with UConn's beat writers for about 80 very candid minutes on Thursday. A.J. Price also met with us for about 10 minutes. Both had some interesting things to say, including:

  • There will be at least two current players who won't be on next year's team -- and that doesn't count Hasheem Thabeet, who could declare for the NBA draft. Obviously, Calhoun wouldn't name them by name, but said everything will likely go down within the next week or two. Said Calhoun: "One of the reasons kids have a love affair with playing here, is because they leave here knowing that their best in every aspect has been brought out. And there are occasionally kids who are going to fight that a little bit. And up to a particular point, that’s fine. There are a couple of situations we need to address to make sure everybody’s pulling the same way, in every aspect of our basketball program ... There won't be any wholesale changes. Nothing's going to be shocking to anybody, I don't think.” (Pure specualation: it appears Doug Wiggins and Curtis Kelly have played their final games in UConn uniforms).
  • Thabeet should make his decision within the next couple of weeks, according to Calhoun. He has until the end of April to enter his name into the draft and hopes to have things straightened out before that. He'll attend a Celtics game, and possibly a Celtics practice, soon at Ray Allen's invitation. Calhoun: “He’s very interested in helping Tanzania, and if he went into the draft now, he probably could. But he’s also interested in something called Basketball Without Borders, in Africa. Right now, the leading figure is (Dikimebe) Mutombo. The only way you’re going to be the leading figure is you’ve got to play ... I will give him my best advice on both sides of the issue. He has some weighing out to do.” He added that he has an inkling as to which way Thabeet is leaning right now, but wouldn't reveal it.
  • A.J. Price will have part of his patella tendon removed to replace his torn ACL in surgery today. Calhoun has been told that could cut down Price's rehab timetable by a few weeks. Calhoun: “We will get all the positives out of what is not a positive situation. He will come back stronger. He’ll be a stronger person next year. I’m not putting a question mark on A.J.”
  • Calhoun added that "there’s no question we would have won that (San Diego) game if A.J. had played. But we still should have won that game.”
  • Price agreed, and took it a step further: "If it weren't for my injury, we'd still be playing right now."
  • Price also believes Thabeet will be back in Storrs next season: "I'm expecting him to be back. I think he needs to do it one more time and give it one more shot next year."
  • Besides a trip to Seattle to play Gonzaga next year, UConn is trying to line up tough non-conference games with the likes of USC and Alabama.
  • UConn assistant coach Andre LaFleur has been contacted for the head coaching job at Mercer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right about doug for little reasons. I'm a uconn student and i've heard some speculation. That would suck tho, cuz doug can be so productive off the bench, while kelly has showed promise at times. YOu would have to think that some other major program would pick them both up without hesitation. Calhoun would be foolish to let them go. I don't understand why there isn't speculation about beverly and mandeldove. Beverly, while he is a solid defender, is a work in progress on offense. I don't think he would get play next year amidst all the incoming talent. Mandeldove doesn't have the footwork and sensibility to compete in the big east rite now, maybe ever. the prospect of losing legit contributors unnerves me as a uconn fan - I mean I'm not a hall of fame coach, but uconn would definitely have not done as well this year without doug wiggins and his versatility. While kelly and edwards are the only players to produce as backup centers.

10:32 PM 

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