Think you’ve had it tough as a UConn basketball fan watching the current Huskies play this season?
Try being the head coach.
“If I could ever figure this team out, then I probably wouldn’t be losing my mind,” Jim Calhoun said Monday before he and his team left for New York and the Big East tournament.
The coach said this when asked about his decision to pull his three seniors (Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards) for the final 16 minutes of Saturday’s loss to USF and whether or not it will change the players’ approach Tuesday against St. John’s.
Painful, undoubtedly, if you’re the coach. Honest, probably, too.
— Whether or not Dyson and Robinson return to the starting lineup Tuesday is still up in the air.
“As far as any starting team, we kept changing it today (Monday) based on what guys were doing in different drills,” Calhoun said. “I’m sure it’ll change by tomorrow (Tuesday).
“I don’t know how important it is. I think it’s more important how we play the game whoever is on the floor,” Calhoun continued. “That will be determined by me watching how they play.”
When members of the media were allowed into practice Monday it was Dyson, Kemba Walker, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Alex Oriakhi and Charles Okwandu with the first team.
A few minutes later Robinson had replaced Coombs-McDaniel.
— So did UConn’s trio of seniors talk about their benching?
“Not really. I think we all knew kind of what we had to do,” Edwards said. “We knew the reason for what happened. We didn’t really need to talk.”
How was practice over the last two days since the “change.”
“I think it’s been a lot more focused than it has been in a long time,” Edwards said. “Coach has really gotten rid of any nonsense that’s gone on before. Everything is strictly basketball and strictly things that we need to be doing.”
— Calhoun did say Robinson and Dyson responded well to the benching in practice.
“I think Jerome and Stanley particularly did, yeah. Stanley was really good on defense, came in with a really good attitude,” Calhoun said. “Jerome was really good yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday).”
— PG Kemba Waker is taking the approach catcher Jake Taylor in Major League did (“Only one thing left to do now…..Win the whole %^&*$#!ing thing.”)
“At this point it’s do or die,” Walker said. “We have to win some games in this tournament. Right now our main focus is to win the whole tournament, but we want to take it one game at a time.”
— UConn has lost five straight games in the league tournament.
“We haven’t done as well in the tournament as we would have liked the last couple years,” Calhoun said. “We’d like to improve on that. But more importantly _ this is not a history kind of thing _ we really need to establish something.”
— There is no quit in the Huskies, Walker says. They haven’t given up on each other.
“No. Not at all,” Walker said. “We’ve always been together. Some nights we just don’t play hard. We all love each other, we’re all cool. Nobody is not friends on this team.”
But are the players, like their coach, losing their minds?
“Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t think the players are losing their minds,” Walker said. “We’re the ones doing it.”