For the first time this season, Jim Calhoun really opened up about UConn’s struggles and shed some light on the pysche of the team.
“I always thought that this team pushed too hard, too much to be something it wasn’t yet,” Calhoun said at Wednesday’s press conference. “And that’s somewhat of why we had an up and down season. So I do think right now, just the way things broke, it became kind of — let’s go get it. We’ve got to get into the NCAA tournament. Here’s what we’ve got to do, and we did it.”
“But I really feel in restrospect, looking back, especially when you’re out four weeks, looking back at your own team, that they put pressure on themselves that they never really had to. They really didn’t. I thought they didn’t find the joy they should in the game.”
Calhoun continued to say that the Huskies are “enjoying themselves now.”
But who knows how long that feeling will last?
The season could end as soon as Thursday. Or, with a major upset, it could continue to next week.
Some other items of note from the UConn side:
*Alex Oriakhi was talking as if he’d be the one to defend Iowa State’s Royce White.
“It’s going to be a different look, though, from what I’m used to guarding,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
* Calhoun had high praise for White: “We see the kids that can shoot. We’ve seen the kids that can post up, but he’s a unique basketball player. Hard to simulate in practice….just to give you an idea, this morning at practice we played four different guys on him. We tried different sets trying to figure out which way he’d go after us.”
*Calhoun also is good for at least one hilarious remark per press conference. He came through in the clutch on Wednesday. Players have said they started having more fun since Calhoun returned. Here’s his response to that:
“I think cantankerous is the word associated with me,” he said. “A barrel of laughs is what most people would refer to me as. Most officials do. They really just think I’m a hell of a guy.”
*On a more serious note, DeAndre Daniels‘ sister, a basketball player at nearby Manchester High, had surgery to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor on Sunday. She’s currently in the hospital and could go home as early as tomorrow.