Saturday, January 24, 2009

Irish Curse

(Just a couple of notes & quotes from tonight's stirring, 69-61 UConn win that ended Notre Dame's home winning streak at 45 games overall and 20 in Big East play. Read tomorrow's Register for the rest)

"It feels so good," said Jeff Adrien, who tore down a career-high 19 rebounds. "I think, really, just getting a win … it was a great team effort, that's what feels great. Adding that (we) beat a winning streak, that makes it even better. We finally snapped something they cherish. They defended it for 45 games. At 46, it (ended)."

When it was over, Hasheem Thabeet – treated harshly much of the night by the partisan crowd for his "dis" of Luke Harangody two months ago – and Adrien – who a week earlier openly stated how much he craved to end Notre Dame's home streak – strutted around the court with their chests out.

"(We stuck our chests) out a little bit," Adrien said, "(to) let them know we're here, it's our gym right now."

***Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame's sharpshooter who averages over 17 points per game, hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first 5 ½ minutes but didn't score again the rest of the way, finishing 3-for-15 from the floor. Craig Austrie held him in check for most of the night, with Kemba Walker and Dyson contributing, as well.

***Even some atrocious foul shooting (15-for-30 for the game, 7-for-15 over the final three minutes) couldn't keep the Huskies from victory.

"If we could have shot fouls, (the second half) would have been as good a half as we've played this year," said Calhoun. "If you combine defense, sticking to a game plan and running it every single time, and just great contributions from the entire team."

***During a timeout at one point in the game, ex-Notre Dame coach (and current ESPN analyst) Digger Phelps, sporting a green carnation, was honored for the Irish's win over UCLA in 1974 that ended the Bruins' long winning streak.

Calhoun didn't miss a chance to take a good-natured, postgame jab at his fellow Irishman.

"Jay Bilas said something very interesting – you notice I didn't say it was Digger that said something interesting. Green carnation? How can I say he said something good when he's got a green carnation on? And, wasn't he honored and making his speech when we were trying to get the game going? And he's the guy who's going to be objective … OK, I missed something there, but that's alright."

By the way, Bilas had said that in the Villanova game, UConn showed just how good they can be.

***Thabeet finally (we hope) put an end to the Harangody controvery (you know, "he's not tough" on the cover of ESPN The Magazine ...)

"The question was, 'Is Luke Harangody the toughest player you played last year?' The answer was, 'No, he was not the toughest. He was more experienced than me.' If you say the toughest, last year I played against Roy Hibbert, all those guys that left … I think he understood what I was saying, nothing personal."

Thabeet and Harangody (and virtually every other player) embraced in the postgame handshake line.

"We talked," Thabeet said. "He asked me who we play next, I asked him who they play next. He told me 'good game,' I told him 'good game.' The talk is just talk, off the court. You've got to step on the court and play the game."

Said Calhoun: "I told (Harangody) in the line, he's as tough and as good as everybody's always said he was, as Hasheem and all of us at Connecticut think he is. He's a terrific competitor. I mean, one of his 3's was McAlarney range."

Not tonight's McAlarney range.

***Harangody shot 10-for-23 from the floor. The rest of the Irish shot a combined 15-for-53.

***Tomorrow will be the Huskies' first day off in 11 days, per Calhoun.

Scenes from the Joyce

Pretty lively environment inside the Joyce Center right now. Bob Knight, Dickie V, Jay Bilas … the whole nine. Fans are rowdy. ESPN broadcast its GameDay here both this evening and earlier today.

Some signs seen included: "What was the Price of the Laptops?" (let it go, people) and the unfunny and borderline racist "Thabeet Can't Spell ESPN." Sort of similar to the "Ewing Can't Read This" signs that dotted many Big East arenas in the early 1980's. Apparently, the moron(s) who made the sign don't realize that Thabeet is an expert Scrabble player. Of course, I don't believe ESPN is a usable word in Scrabble.

Anyway, looking forward to a good one tonight. Got the feeling the Huskies are going to pull this one out. They play well on the road and have responded well to adversity. Plus, I'm not convinced Notre Dame is all that good.

UConn 75, Notre Dame 73. Just a hunch.
Oh yes, and the Republican-American's Ed Daigneault and I are sitting right behind ESPN's Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale, so our mugs should be on TV throughout the night. Sorry for viewers that Erin Andrews couldn't be sitting here instead.
Just asked Vitale, the noted Rays fan, how he feels about Rocco Baldelli going to the Red Sox.
"Great for the clubhouse," he said of his fellow paisan.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Re-Hashing Thabeet ... and Other UConn Stuff

Greetings from South Bend, home of … well, Notre Dame. And the College Football Hall of Fame. That's about it, as far as I can tell, though I'm told there are some good restaurants and bars in the area. Might have to check that out a little later.

As for tomorrow's much-anticipated UConn-Notre Dame battle:

Jim Calhoun is eagerly anticipating how Hasheem Thabeet handles what promises to be a very unfriendly Joyce Center crowd (you all know why, not going to "re-Hash" the Harangody story, as it were).

"Every day, he's been given a little bit of license – by all of us, for all the right reasons ... he's making strides. Now, he's kind of been called up, for something that he foolishly said or he misspoke – the significance of it isn’t anything … I had called him up before (a game last week), and he did a good job. Myself, (ESPN's) Gameday and the crowd are going to call him up, too. This will be a big test for his maturation. I don't know if he's ever, truly, in three years been called up. You don't have to have 24 points, but you've got to be good. You've got to be able to handle Harangody, get some points for us, control the middle. If you can do that, you'll be in pretty good shape."

(We're assuming Jim meant "called out" rather than "called up," but you get the point.)

Thabeet seems to be handling the whole situation well. When we jokingly promised him we wouldn't ask any questions about Harangody, he smiled and said, "Then you're not doing your jobs."

"Luke is a great player, and they've also got (Kyle) McAlarney," Thabeet said. "I'm pretty sure Luke won't be taking all the shots, so … we're looking for a great matchup tomorrow."

***Calhoun acknowledged that Thabeet "may be treated a tad differently," but also pointed out that the Joyce Center is always a raucous place. He compared it to The RAC, home court of Rutgers.

"You're a little more used to the RAC, in some ways, because you've heard those words before," Calhoun quipped. "It's truly Eastern (as in East Coast, we presume). This is a little different. It's national-type attacks. But it makes for quite an atmosphere."

***As for the Huskies' need to keep some composure, Calhoun has been dropping a quote from Paul Brown on them: "The worst thing you can do to your enemy is beat them."

***, Mike Anthony? Really?

*** Ater Majok was late for his first practice on Thursday, since he had to finish up some paperwork. He got to Gampel and teamed with Charles Okwandu (more on him later), walk-on Jim Veronick, Donnell Beverly and Scottie Haralson against the Huskies' starting five and, according to Calhoun, had 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Today, he was playing the role of Harangody in practice and hitting fallaway jumpers and making nice spin moves.

"It helped Hasheem, because he said he was going to be the best African on the court," Calhoun noted. "And we had plenty of Africans on the court."

While Calhoun is simply happy to get Majok cleared by the NCAA, even though he can't play until next December, the coach knows that Majok could be a difference-maker. Right now.

"He's terrific. I'm not gonna tell you he's great yet, but he's got some things … he gets off his feet like Stanley (Robinson) does, to some degree – not as high, but his quickness."

After only about 1 ½ days of practice, Majok would make the Huskies "a different team, even tomorrow night after two practices, because he does things instinctively, and he's very, very talented."

Calhoun said at one point, the NCAA offered to award Majok just a scholarship, with no association with the team. It was flatly rejected by the coach.

"I said, 'this kid hasn't had a home since he was 6. It can't work that way. You've got to believe in our support system.' The compromise was a hard one to get, but we got it, and I'm very happy."

Between now and the end of the first semester next December, Majok must attain 18 hours of credits within the academic year and 24 overall (he'll take summer courses) in order to be eligible.

***The news on Okwandu isn't as good. The 7-foot sophomore center, isn't with the team on this trip due to an academic issue. He also wasn't at Wednesday's Villanova game, though he has practiced with the team the past two days. Calhoun said there will be an announcement on Okwandu next week, as to whether or not he'll have to sit out the rest of this semester.

"If he doesn't show us, and a professor, something next week, he'll sit out," Calhoun said, adding that Okwandu's grade in an intersession course "hasn’t been turned in yet."

***Flew into Chicago's Midway Airport, which is in the Central time zone, this afternoon and drove to South Bend, which is on Eastern Standard Time. Not a bad drive at all, but it's a little odd that you fly into Chicago at 9:15 a.m., make a 90-minute drive to South Bend, get there and it's almost noon.

Kinda reminds me of the classic Marvin Barnes story that goes something like this: When he was in the NBA with the St. Louis Spirit, Barnes apparently still hadn't grasped the concept of time zones. The team had a flight scheduled to leave Louisville at 8 am and arrive in St Louis at 7:59 am. This totally freaked Marvin out, and he said that he did not want to board the flight because "I ain't goin' on no time machine."

Must admit, however, my Honda Civic rental car didn't feel like a time machine.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Harangody: 'I'm the Toughest Player in the Big East'

I spoke with Notre Dame's Luke Harangody by phone yesterday afternoon. Good kid, and obviously a very good player.

Believe it or not, the subject of Hasheem Thabeet’s comments from the Nov. 17 ESPN The Magazine college basketball preview issue came up. Harangody may not be overly concerned with Thabeet’s disparaging comments about him, but … let’s just say he hasn’t forgotten them, either.

“It’s going to motivate me a little more, I can say that,” Harangody admitted.

First, a review. Here’s what Thabeet said in the issue (the quotes were printed on the magazine’s front cover, to the left of a full-page photo of Hasheem):

I played Luke Harangody and he was not tough. Tyler Hansbrough? I don’t see nothing.”

The Huskies don’t play Hansbrough’s North Carolina Tar Heels, at least in the regular season, but they’ve got two bouts with Harangody and the Fighting Irish, beginning on Saturday night at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind. (Where, by the way, Notre Dame will try to win its 46th straight home game Saturday night).

“When it came out, my initial reaction was to laugh at it,” Harangody said. “But at the same time, it’s on the cover of a national magazine, and it’s saying I’m not tough. I heard he was joking around, this and that. I know Hasheem, I know he’s a good guy, I’m not going to take it too seriously.”

Still, the fact that Thabeet questioned Harangody’s toughness irked the reigning Big East Player of the Year – and still does.

“Because he pretty much called me out for something other than basketball,” Harangody explained. “Because I think I’m the toughest player in the Big East.”

While Pitt’s DeJuan Blair or UConn’s own Jeff Adrien may beg to differ, it’s tough to argue that the 6-foot-8, 255-pound Harangody isn’t on the short list. After leading the Big East in scoring and rebounding and winning conference Player of the Year honors a year ago, he leads the league in scoring and rebounding once again this season.

To his credit, Thabeet knows he’s going to have to deal with plenty of abuse from the Joyce Center crowd on Saturday night.

“I’m going to have to take it,” he shrugged. “I can’t run away from it. He’s a great player. It’s part of the game that I have to go through, and I’m looking forward to the match-up.”

Thabeet wouldn’t talk about the article shortly after it ran and, in fact, has backed off commenting on any other player (Harangody, Greg Monroe, Mike Rosario … anybody) ever since. Until Wednesday night, that is. When asked about the entire situation after the Huskies’ win over Villanova, Thabeet seemed to go out of his way to compliment Harangody. He also said he didn’t like the article at all, and even sent Notre Dame coach Mike Brey a letter of apology shortly after it hit the newsstands.

“It ended up making me look like I don’t respect other players,” Thabeet said. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Brey and his team. In the letter, I just told him the way they quoted it wasn’t the way I meant. Maybe the dialect wasn’t right. I respect him as a great player and I’m looking forward to a great match-up.”

Brey said he sent Thabeet an e-mail response.

“I understand how guys can be led astray with questioning,” Brey said. “I don’t know if that’s what he meant to say. He’s kind of a playful kid. Luke is ready to compete, whether it’s against Thabeet or Tim Andree in practice. I think it was probably something where he was led astray.”

Harangody said he hasn’t talked to Thabeet about the article yet.

“I’m sure I will on Saturday,” he noted.

Game on!

(Read more on this in tomorrow’s Register)

In other UConn-related notes:

***The Huskies are currently ranked sixth nationally in the RPI. The Big East has seven teams in the RPI Top 25: Pitt (2), UConn (6), Georgetown (7), Louisville (11), Syracuse (12), Marquette (15) and West Virginia (25).

***Thabeet is currently seventh on the Big East’s all-time shot block list (in league play) with 179. Next on the list is Dikembe Motombo, with 184. With 11 league games left, Thabeet also has a good chance of passing Emeka Okafor (207), Jason Lawson (216) and perhaps Alonzo Mourning (224). He’d have to average about 4.8 per game to catch Syracuse’s Etan Thomas, who had 232. Thabeet is currently averaging 3.66 per game this season.

***Saturday night’s UConn-Notre Dame game will be ESPN’s GameDay feature. Should be a fun one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


After months of waiting, Ater Majok was finally cleared by the NCAA tonight as a partial-qualifier. That means that he'll be eligible to start practicing once he enrolls in classes tomorrow.

Majok, a 6-foot-10 forward from The Sudan via Australia, won't be able to play until the conclusion of finals in the fall of 2009.

"Our first game next year is Dec. 15," Jim Calhoun quipped.

Majok learned of his clearance about a half-hour before tonight's game with Villanova via a text message from UConn assistant coach Andre LaFleur that read "Get up here, right now."

He arrived at the XL Center and "everybody was smiling, I was stressed out … it was supposed to be yesterday. Everyone was hugging me. I thought I was about to suit up, so I was looking for my uniform. It's great."

Majok said he's not overly disappointed about not being able to play this season.

"It's good that I get to fit in first," he said. "The season's almost over, so it's good for me just to come in and practice and help them be a better team in practice."

He'll wear No. 5 next season.

Majok added: "Don't worry ... nobody's going to get a shot off on me. It's going to be a fight every practice. I'm going to make them a better team. I've got to contribute somehow. If I'm not going to do it on the court, I'm going to have to do it in practice."

It's been a long wait for Majok -- and he doesn't want to know why.

"Nobody told me, and I don't really want to know," he said. "It's been so long, I just want to practice. I was stressed out and worried that I'm going to miss a lot of schoolwork, but I wasn't worried about playing or practicing. That's secondary to what I'm here for. I'm here to get a university education."

"Given what happened to him in refugee camps, his sister is still in camps in Egypt, and the fact that his family is spread out all over the world, what happened today … I couldn't be happier, on a personal (level)," said Calhoun. "The SAT scores he achieved … it's a great human-interest story. He's really special. Obviously, we think he's going to be a very good basketball player, but him as a person, he's really a special kid."

As a partial-qualifier, Majok will be allowed to sit on the Huskies' bench during home games, but he won't be allowed to travel with the team.

Added Hasheem Thabeet: "I'm happy for him. That happened to me, too, it took them a long time to clear me out. They already wasted a couple of months trying to clear him. I feel bad about that, but at least you know he's going to be able to attend school and take classes this semester, and next year he'll be there."

No Chuck Tonight

Charles Okwandu wasn't with the team for pregame warm-ups, and it appears the sophomore 7-foot center is in some academic trouble.

A UConn official said Okwandu was "working on academics" this evening. We're hearing he may not have received the grade he needed to get in an intersession class.

***Apparently, there's a bit of history between Kemba Walker and 'Nova star Scottie Reynolds. At the LeBron James Skills Academy last summer, Walker and Reynolds were going at it. Reynolds said something to the effect of, "UConn? I dropped 40 on you guys a couple of years ago." To which Walker, a freshman, responded: "Not on me."

Reynolds' response: "It doesn't matter, I won't be there next year anyway."

At that point, they supposedly had to be separated. Should be an interesting battle tonight.

No More Punks at the Dunk?

Even though UConn doesn't visit the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence this season, I'm sure you're all glad to hear that security will now be tightened inside the building. Here's the press release sent out by PC:


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- On Saturday, January 17, there was an unfortunate incident at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center during the Providence College men’s basketball game versus Marquette. During the second half of the game, a fan walked onto the court. Following the incident, Providence College and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center recognized that there was a need to take precautions to prevent further incidents during our men’s basketball games. As a result, the number of security personnel was increased and uniformed Providence Police Officers are now strategically positioned near the team benches.

“We were disappointed and embarrassed about the situation that occurred when the fan entered the court during our men’s basketball game versus Marquette on Saturday,” Providence College Athletics Director Bob Driscoll said. “The safety of the student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans is a top priority for us. We have worked with the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to improve our security efforts at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and we will constantly monitor these efforts.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History Takes Precedence Over Hoops

Basketball was hardly the No. 1 topic at Gampel Pavilion today. Barack Obama's historic inauguration was.

The Huskies gathered around a TV in their locker room to watch Obama's swearing-in and inaugural address at noon. Everyone, that is, except coach Jim Calhoun, who was lucky enough to procure some tickets to the inauguration a while back and flew to D.C. this morning at 5 a.m. to take in the proceedings with his wife, Pat, and several other family members. (Calhoun is expected to be back in Storrs for tonight's 6 p.m. practice).

Associate head coach George Blaney dealt with the media today. He was touched by Obama's inaugural speech.

"I couldn't keep from crying, to be honest with you," said Blaney. "It was nice to see the players together, how solemn they were, paying attention and listening, for what it means to them."

Indeed, all 11 of UConn's scholarship players are African-American.

"It was very special to see an historic moment like that which you can look back and tell your kids about," said A.J. Price. "It's really inexplicable. You can see changes about. I think it'll work out the best for everybody. A lot of America is seeing things not about race, we're all the same nation, all Americans."

Hasheem Thabeet: "It's a great thing. I never knew such history like this would happen during my lifetime. I was able to witness a great thing like this. I'm excited. I wish my dad (Thabit Manka, who passed away several years ago) and everybody that is part of my circle would be able to experience the same thing that I'm experiencing right now."

Although all of the players are between the ages of 18 and 22, none thought they'd ever witness this day.

"I didn't think that I would ever see a black President," Jerome Dyson admitted. "I didn't think this would happen anytime soon. Based on how things are, you just wouldn't expect that now. I think it more has to do with people just looking for something new. The country has kind of gone into shambles, with the economy and whatnot. People are looking for something new, and he's the guy for it."

Added Kemba Walker: "Obama being the first African-American President, it's big for the world. It's change. The past couple of years, things have been going wrong, it hasn't been good. Obama really speaks about change, so I'm really looking forward to what he's going to do."

Blaney noticed a couple of other things about Obama.

"All during his speech I was thinking, 'He would have been a great coach.' Because that's what he was trying to do, he's trying to put together a team … He has the remarkable ability to bring people together. I have not seen that since John Kennedy. It's nice to see someone has taken the initiative to try to do that."

***Ah yes, the pesky subject of basketball. That was eventually broached, too. UConn, of course, hosts No. 2 Villanova tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the XL Center.

"(The Wildcats) are so hard to prepare for, because they do a lot of things," said Blaney. "They spread the floor on you, so they're difficult to defend. Defensively, they change a great deal, but they get up in you – they bump you, hold you, bump and scratch, fight. They do everything really, really tough."

The Wildcats are 14-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big East, coming off a 76-57 drubbing of St. John's on Sunday. They are led by much-improved senior forward Dante Cunningham, who leads the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game (up from 10.4 a year ago), and junior guard Scottie Reynolds, who torched the Huskies for 40 points two years ago and went for 40 in an overtime win at Seton Hall on Jan. 6.

Blaney on Cunningham: "His ability to shoot from mid-range and beyond changes them more so than in the past. (Coach Jay Wright) has always been a good offensive coach."

And on Reynolds: "He uses his body so well. He's not fast, he's not a great leaper, he's just very clever and smart. You've got to stay in front of him without fouling, which is very hard."

***Dyson says his left knee, originally injured in the Gonzaga game on Dec. 20, has been bothering him lately. Part of it is because the Huskies have hardly had a break in their schedule over the past few weeks. Dyson also said he rolled his left ankle in the Seton Hall game. Calhoun said after that game that Dyson might be held out of practice on Monday, but that didn't wind up being the case.

***'Nova coach Jay Wright had this interesting anecdote during a teleconference call on Monday, harking back to his first stint as an assistant coach with the Wildcats in the late-1980's.

"I used to scout in person, you could do that back then, and I remember how tough they played. They didn’t have the talent they have now, they always just lost at the end. I'd go to the press conferences and watch the throngs of media just pound on (Calhoun) on tough losses. He'd always remain firm. I watched them progress and grow, from when they struggled to where they are now. I felt like a part of it, because I'd go to every game. I have great respect for that program, how they play and what he's done."

***UConn commit Jamal Coombs-McDaniel of the Tilton (N.H.) School was named to the Spalding Hoophall Classic's All-Tournament First Team.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kids and the Hall

Notes & quotes from UConn's rather routine, 76-61 win over Seton Hall today in Hartford:

When Jim Calhoun's and Bobby Gonzalez's teams play each other, one thing is usually certain: the postgame press conferences promise to be pretty entertaining.

Today was no different, as Calhoun veered off on a number of different topics. Gonzalez was fairly subdued (for him), but I talked to him afterwards about the incident at Providence Saturday night, when Jeff Xavier's brother, Jonathan, walked onto the court in the middle of the PC-Marquette game at the Dunkin' Donuts Center and yelled at an official for not calling a foul on a play on which Jeff suffered what appeared to be a pretty bad injury to his eye.

First, an absolute classic quote from Calhoun on the incident: "They even had a visitor in that game, and he called a timeout. I don't know if the timeout was legal or not. I love Providence and it's got a great atmosphere … his girlfriend went around the bench, he went through the bench, and then he called a timeout. He's got poise and composure, I like seeing that in a player. If you asked me, though, what building (would that have happened in)? Easy one, easy one."

Gonzalez recruited Xavier out of St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, R.I., and coached him for one season at Manhattan before taking the job at Seton Hall.

"It looked like Jeff drove in there, and the player from Marquette wasn't trying to do anything malicious or vicious," Gonzalez said. "It looked like he just went up to block the shot, and I don't know if he just caught him wrong with his elbow or whatever. Certainly I felt bad, because it looked like Jeff took a hell of a shot."

"I do know his brother, but I couldn't tell on TV last night when I saw the replay. It was definitely a surprise that happened. I would think that's a matter I would leave up to the conference."

Gonzalez also was an assistant coach for four seasons at PC.

"I certainly loved my time up there. I'm not going to say anything negative, but I do know that they get a crazy crowd up there sometimes."

Calhoun and Gonzo also met briefly in between their turns at the podium. Overheard was the following:

Gonzo: "How about Coach Kzryzewski, saying his league is better than ours."

Calhoun: "Tell him to come to our (league)."

***UConn shot nearly as well from 3-point territory (6-for-14, 43 percent) as it did from the foul line (8-for-18, 44 percent). Jeff Adrien (3-for-8) and Hasheem Thabeet (3-for-7) were the two biggest culprits.

Calhoun: "I'd like to apologize for our foul shooting coach, George Blaney. He sends his personal condolences to all UConn fans for doing such a poor job this week. I said, 'This week, I want you to grab a hold of Hasheem and Jeff and do a better job with them.' I guess you can see the results, I'm not going to make a public comment about it."

Umm, too late, Coach.

"We're going to have to improve on that," Calhoun added. "If we go 8-for-18 and, say, we're at Notre Dame or something and we come out of there with a 'W' doing that … I don't think so."

***Jarrid Famous, a highly-touted 6-foot-11, 235-pound power forward/center out of Westchester Junior College in New York was at the game on an unofficial visit.

***There were really only three stars in this game for the Huskies: A.J. Price (23 points, five assists), Thabeet (15 points, 17 rebounds) and Adrien (13 points, 12 boards).

UConn has now had a different leading scorer in its last nine games.

"The game where we get everybody rolling on the same page is going to be a very scary day for our opponent," said Price. "I really do believe that, because right now it just seems to be somebody else every night."

It could have been an even better game for Thabeet, according to Calhoun.

"If he had made some foul shots … he obviously had a terrific game, but he could have easily had a 22, 23-point game. Early, he got engaged with a lot of their guys, physically. I think it took a little bit out of him. He started the game that way. The first play of the game was for him, he kind of walked to his position after getting a real good screen from Jerome. That's when I took him out. I said to him, 'If you don't want the ball, you'll do a lot more here than you'll do on the floor.' We put Gavin in for a couple of minutes, then realized the middle would be open, so we put Hasheem back in."

For Adrien, it was his 40th career double-double, tops among all active Big East players. Notre Dame's Luke Harangody is next, with 37.

"I'm definitely proud," Adrien said. "I'm going to try to continue to increase it. I don't want Harangody to catch me, at least as long as I'm playing. It's a good feeling, it's cool."

***Calhoun said that Jerome Dyson's knee is "banged up pretty good," and that Dyson may get practice off tomorrow. As for why Stanley Robinson was nearly invisible once again and played just 10 minutes (two in the latter half), Calhoun said he wanted to go with a three-guard look for most of the game against the smaller Pirates.

***Gonzo was impressed by the play of Adrien and Thabeet.

"To me, they're like an NBA four and five," Gonzalez said. "I just don't see too many teams in the league that have two special guys like that. They're a problem, especially with A.J. Price and Dyson. They make 3's, so you've got to kind of pick your poison with him."

***One of Price's three 3-pointers was banked in, similar to a bank job Kemba Walker had Thursday night against St. John's.

"It's a New York thing," said Adrien.

Visitation Rights

Players from the following schools -- Mount Vernon (N.Y.), Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), South Atlanta and Lincoln (New York City -- have been invited to today's game by UConn. Their respective teams are competing in the Spalding Hoophall Classic up in Springfield, Mass. this week.

Speaking of the Spalding Hoophall Classic, it appears that UConn recruits Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Alex Oriakhi played pretty well today for the Tilton School in a win over Hotchkiss.