Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dyson Returns Tomorrow

Jerome Dyson has apparently passed his latest drug test and will return to practice with the UConn men's basketball team today. He could make his return to game action on Tuesday night at Rutgers.

"We'll have a new player at practice tomorrow, we'll see where he fits in," said coach Jim Calhoun. "I fully would expect that I'd start the same team, there's no reason why I wouldn't start the same team at Rutgers that I'm starting right now. We'll see how he gets in the mix. We had a very difficult time with our guards creating opportunities today. I don't know when and if he'll play, but we'll give him a look in practice."

The Huskies had won eight straight games without Dyson prior to Saturday's 67-65 loss to Villanova. But UConn will welcome Dyson and his 14.3 ppg back with open arms.

"He's another guy that will help us out tremendously," said Craig Austrie, who has taken over Dyson's spot in the starting lineup. "We're eager to have him back. He's only going to help us."

Added point guard A.J. Price: "He'll give us another option to score the basketball really well, put up a bunch of points in a short period of time. He's the type of player that will come in and understand what he needs to do. We can't wait to have him back."

Dyson and fellow guard Doug Wiggins were suspended back on Jan. 25 after the two were caught with two bottles of alcohol in Wiggins' parked car. A small amount of marijuana was found near the car, prompting drug tests on the two players. Wiggins passed his and was reinstated after missing two games; Dyson failed and has been on a 30-day suspension.

More Notes & Quotes from Saturday's game:

**Just as the Huskies get Dyson back, they lose Curtis Kelly for what could be 2-3 weeks. Kelly dislocated his left elbow late in the first half. He had played a grand total of 9 minutes in UConn's prior 6 games.

**Villanova guard Corey Stokes scored 18 off the bench and showed the Huskies what they could have had. UConn recruited him hard, but Stokes opted for Villanova.
"It came down to UConn and Villanova. I'm here now," Stokes said.
"He can state the obvious, man," 'Nova coach Jay Wright said with a laugh. "He is the best."

**Hasheem Thabeet was credited with just three blocked shots on Saturday, a number Calhoun believed was criminally low.
"Anybody who would have the audacity to write down three blocks in the game, that (person) should never take a stat sheet out for the rest of their life," the coach said. "Be that as it may, that doesn't change the outcome of the game."

**Stanley Robinson threw up an ill-advised 3-pointer in the game's opening seconds and was quickly yanked from the game and scolded by Calhoun. He returned about a minute later and played with renewed energy, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds.

**Jeff Adrien had a horrid first half, scoring just two points and playing just 11 minutes after incurring foul trouble. He rallied back with 13 points in the latter half. He also became the 40th player in UConn history to notch 1,000 career points and now has 1,013 for his career.

Friday, February 22, 2008

First DePaul, now De-Ice ...

For those interested in the play-by-play, the Huskies have yet to leave Bradley International Airport and are waiting for their chartered plane to be de-iced. Could be a while before they're in Philly ...

Snow Huskies

UConn was originally slated to fly out of Hartford on a charter after practice this afternoon around 4 p.m. but moved its practice up early in an effort to get out of Bradley around 12:30 p.m. or so. However, with Philly's airport closed, and with plenty of snow falling in Hartford, the Huskies may be waiting at the airport for a long while.

They should have done what I and the writers from the Journal-Inquirer and Post did this morning -- take the train to Philly.

More updates to come.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

DeFeating DePaul ... barely

Some notes & quotes from UConn's latest come-from-behind nail-biting win, this time a 65-60 job over DePaul.

**At this point, Jim Calhoun has no plans on changing his starting lineup once Jerome Dyson returns from suspension. Not with the way Craig Austrie has been playing lately.
"I don't know what's going to change that," said the coach. "We won 10 in a row, I'm not going to fool with it. If we went on a couple-game losing streak, I'd think about changing it. Otherwise, there's no sense in changing. We have a player coming back in one more game I think it is, two more, I'm not even sure … he'll have to get back in the rotation like everybody else."

**Hasheem Thabeet gave credit to assistant coach Patrick Sellers, who works with the team's big men, for his 16-point performance.
"Coach Sellers told us, the more you present yourself, the more touches you'll be able to get. I was presenting myself pretty well tonight and I got so many touches. I think I'm getting better every day, and I'm going to keep making those moves. I worked a lot in practice, I think I'm getting better making those moves."

**Speaking of Sellers, he'll be down in Atlanta on Tuesday to watch 6-foot-9 center Derrick Favors, the top-rated Class of 2009 center according to, and 6-7 Wesley Witherspoon, who is the web site's 12th-rated small forward in the Class of 2008.

**DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright referred to the Dyson situation: "Sometimes -- and I mean no disrespect to the kid who's suspended, all kids make mistakes – but there is addition through subtraction.
He also thinks A.J. Price is the MVP of the Big East.

**The last time UConn had come back from more than a 13-point deficit to win was on Jan. 7, 2006, when they rallied from 14 down to beat LSU 67-66 in Hartford.

**Jeff Adrien scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and is now two points short of 1,000 for his career.

Separated at Birth?

The late Paul Gleason of 'Breakfast Club' fame ("I will not be made a fool of") and DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stanley Steamer?

On a fast-break opportunity during Monday's practice, Stanley Robinson tried to fire a baseball-style pass thr0ugh a pair of defenders. It wasn't successful, as the ball got batted away, but it did elicit this response from Jim Calhoun: "Stanley, the Red Sox could use you."

After practice, Calhoun added: "I thought he was heading to Fort Myers. He said he threw it 65 MPH, which is really helpful to me to know that information. That's Stanley being Stanley."

Honors for A.J.

For the second straight week, UConn boasts the Big East's Player of the Week.

A.J. Price earned this week's honor after averaging 24.5 points and 8 assists in wins over Notre Dame and South Florida. He had a career-high 26 points and nine assists vs. the Irish and 23 points and seven dimes vs. USF. Price has averaged 20 points in seven games against ranked opponents this season.

USF's Dominique Jones -- who nearly had the game-winning hoop against UConn on Saturday -- earned his third Rookie of the Week honor.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There's No 'U' in Connecticut ...

... that is, no ESPNU, which is not carried anywhere in the state (unless you have DirecTV ... thanks ME). Like last week's game vs. Notre Dame, tomorrow's bout with DePaul at the XL Center will be broadcast only on ESPNU.

But there is another way Husky fans who don't have DirecTV to watch the game -- tickets are still available and accessible by visiting the online ticketing center on