Full disclosure about the Husky Run: Usually it’s not legit.
When I was a senior at UConn (many, many years ago), I took part in the Husky Run, a 5K that more or less kicks off hoops season. During the event, I witnessed Gavin Edwards cut a corner near Mansfield Apartments. I saw Hasheem Thabeet giggling as he jogged in the wrong direction. And then, as I huffed and puffed past finish line, Jerome Dyson crossed a second later. The problem: I did not see Jerome Dyson at any point in the race.
He must have come from the woods, which, over the years, was standard procedure at the Husky Run. Players would jump in a car near Mansfield apartments, get dropped off near the finish line, and hang out for a little before they meandered to Gampel.
“There isn’t going to be any more of that,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said afterwards.
This year, it appears the Huskies went the whole 3.4 miles. I asked R.J. Evans, who was soaked in sweat and certainly looked the part of a 5K finisher.
“Nope,” he said. “(Ollie) told us no cheating.”
Makes sense, because the 2012-13 Huskies won’t be the most talented team in the Big East, but Ollie is hell-bent on making sure they outwork everyone.
“I want our opponent to leave the court and saying ‘Damn, why are they playing so hard?'” Ollie said.
Some other notes of interest from Thursday’s Husky Run:
*DeAndre Daniels was the top finisher at 18:47. That’s an average (if my math is correct) of about 5:30 a mile. Not bad at all.
*Tyler Olander, the team’s top big man, took 22:28 to complete the course. After suffering a sprained ankle in late August, Olander is on the road to recovery, but isn’t quite 100 percent yet.
“I’ve been doing everything that everyone else has done for about two weeks now,” Olander said. “It’s just the rehab, the extra strengthening and stuff.”
*Shabazz Napier’s summer was disrupted because of foot surgery. He’s been working out in the pool and on the bike, but isn’t “in basketball shape.” With UConn’s uptempo style, he’ll need to get into top condition quickly.
“I need to be like a soccer player or a boxer,” Napier said. “I’m striving to do that. It’s going to take a while, but hopefully I’m at that point soon.”
*Ollie spoke about the teams undersized lineup, which could feature three guards (Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun), a swingman (DeAndre Daniels) at power forward and a power forward (Tyler Olander) at center.
“We have to be a plus on the backboard because that’s going to give us an opportunity to finish our defensive possessions,” Ollie said. “Our margin is not wide. It’s not like we have Andre Drummond jumping over everybody. We’re going to have to do the things fundamentally to block out and go get the basketball, but then it’s not over. You have to secure the basketball.”