Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Pragmatic Jim Calhoun

The wireless situation here at the media workroom at St. Pete Times Forum is less than ideal. Those who are able to log on (for $15.95 per day) are frequently booted off. Others aren't able to log on at all, despite paying the fee.

Better get some blogging in before I get booted.

UConn just wrapped up a perfunctory 40-minute practice, during which it went through a variety of shooting drills. The team had to make five shots in a row from a variety of different spots on the court, from short bank shots to 3-pointers.

Jim Calhoun, A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien addressed the media beforehand. Some highlights:

(On UConn's stunning Elite Eight loss to George Mason two years ago, when Adrien was a freshman)
"We should have been in the Final Four, but George Mason had the better day. It still sticks with me. I thought about that the other day."

(On San Diego, tomorrow's opponent)
"I just think that we are physically better than them as far as our talents. But you know, anything could happen. I think we match up a lot better."

(On how intimidating teammate Hasheem Thabeet can be)
"He's not just a 7-foot-3 stiff, he's a 7-3 guy who is mobile, agile and can get up and down the court."

(On Gyno Pomare, San Diego's bruising 6-8 forwards)
"Pomaro, the big kid up front … there's probably not an "O" in (his name). It's Pomare, I think … I'm Irish, what do you expect. Bottom line, whether he's Pomaro or Pomare, it really is not important. He's good, and he's very effective."

(On San Diego, which beat Gonzaga to win the WCC tournament)
"They play a great deal lilke Gonzaga, except they out-Gonzagaed Gonzaga this year."

(On how it feels to be the "glamour" team in Tampa)
"I looked in the mirror and there was nothing really glamorous this morning that I saw. I was called crusty three or four times by local newspapers. I don't know, crusty and glamorous don't seem to go together."

(On what his team's mood is like coming into the tournament)
"This is a shock to some of you that I actually lied the other night to the media when a writer from New York asked me, 'It appears that you don't have a great handle on your team.' And I said, 'No, that's wrong. I have a great handle on my team.' That was a lie. So I'm not admitting that because it is Lenten season, and I think I should come up with some form of confession."

(On whether Jerome Dyson is back to where he was before his 30-day suspension)
"I think physically he is. We're making him the back-up 3-man, and at 6-3, 200 pounds, we think he can handle that. We're trying to create a little different role for him now because Dougie (Wiggins) has played well, and Craig (Austrie) has averaged 12 points a game since he's become a starter. Occasionally, we've moved Stanley (Robinso) to the 4 to get more offense into the game. That is something tough a little bit when Hasheem or Jeff has been on the bench … and Stanley is a good enough rebounder at 6-8.

(On what opponents shouldn't do against 7-3 shot-blocker Hasheem Thabeet)
"If he gets there and blocks a couple, you're going to be very careful. If you try to shoot a second one, then you're competitive. If you try to shoot the third one as (a Cincinnati) kid did, shot three in a row, then he was very stupid. I don't mind the competitive part, I don't mind the ill-advised part. It was the stupid part that probably would have bothered their coach."

More to come …


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