Friday, February 20, 2009

Walk This Way

We all know about Jim Calhoun, Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, A.J. Price and the rest of the frontline players at UConn. But there are unsung members of the Huskies – and, indeed, of virtually any other program in the country: the walk-ons.

UConn has five walk-ons (not including Stanley Robinson, who’s paying his own way this semester): John Lindner, Jim Veronick, Johnnie Bird, Alex Hornat and Kyle Bailey. Lindner and Veronick have dressed for every game this season; Bird, Hornat and Bailey rotate turns for the other one or two spots at the end of the bench each game.

Here’s a story from today’s Register about the two local boys, Lindner (from Cheshire) and Veronick (from Durham and a Coginchaug High graduate). Both are seniors who will be recognized – along with Adrien, Price and Craig Austrie – on Senior Day prior to UConn’s Feb. 28 game with Notre Dame at Gampel.

When it’s all said and done, Lindner will likely go down in the UConn record books with exactly one career point and one career rebound. Veronick will have played in exactly one game, failing to score or pull down a board. But both have made contributions to the program’s success, banging bodies nearly every day in practice with Thabeet and Adrien and helping to make them better players.

<------You may also know them as the guys who help their injured teammates off the floor. Both were there to carry Jerome Dyson off the court last week against Syracuse, while Lindner teamed with Thabeet in helping Price to the end of the bench last March after Price tore his ACL.

They’re both great kids and extremely popular with their more famous scholarship teammates. In fact, Lindner is even “the competition” – or at least he was. He started a blog this season chronicling the Huskies’ season. However, after it was linked to a popular UConn message board recently, Lindner was asked to take his blog down in order to avoid a Joe Torre-type situation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave: Your analysis of Ken Krayeske was right on. While working as a copy editor at the Torrington Register, I had the chance to work with Kryeske. I found him to be difficult and almost always spoiling for a fight. When I heard about his encounter with Coach Calhoun, I flipped out. I am sure he probably used his cocky manner to bate Calhoun until he lost it. However, the one question I have is where were the UCONN media relations people while the interview was in progress. While questions about Calhoun's 800th win should have been an easy-non-eventful question and answer, it seems to me that a UCONN media person should have been there to monintor and assist with the process. That person might have been able to save Calhoun from Krayeske's questioning. While I realize it is not on the same scale, imagine if the Yankees had let A-Rod meet the media a few weeks ago without someone to monitor the event.

2:10 PM 

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