Writers are always in search of storylines, and there are some obvious ones with UConn these days.
The Huskies are playing five games in 10 days. They just returned from Germany, and Thursday morning they’ll board a flight for St. Thomas, where they’ll play three games at the Paradise Jam. Fatigue has to kick in, right?
“People were throwing that on my porch today with the newspaper,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie. “I wasn’t subscribing to it. People say ‘Jet lag and coming back and playing in Germany’….no. We’re not subscribing to that. We’re subscribing to playing basketball the right way. That’s how Connecticut has been doing it throughout these years back to when I was playing. It’s going to be the same way when I coach.”
A few other points of interest:
*Two games in, I’m most impressed with R.J. Evans. I really feel he’s an extension of Kevin Ollie. His energy — on the court and on the bench — has been infectious. Evans scored 11 points in 17 minutes Tuesday and, most importantly, earned some ink in The Connecticut Post.
*Tyler Olander scored nine points, grabbed nine boards, blocked four shots and dished out four assists to lead a balanced attack. Olander now has eight blocks in two games. It will be interesting to see if he keeps this up (and avoids foul trouble) against Big East teams.
*Omar Calhoun rebounded from an unproductive game versus Michigan State with 12 points, four steals and three rebounds. At Monday’s practice, Ollie said he wanted to see Calhoun active on the defensive end. The highly-touted freshman delivered Tuesday: In a span of just a few minutes, Calhoun drew a charge, came weakside to block a shot and muscled a Vermont big man out of the paint for a rebound that ignited a fastbreak. Later, he dove for a steal that quickly turned into a DeAndre Daniels jam.
All that effort probably makes up for Calhoun’s first half “heat check,” a contested 25 footer with a full shot clock.
*After sitting for the Michigan State game, Phil Nolan and Leon Tolksdorf had their numbers called Tuesday. Nolan responded with his first career points — an easy layup after a screen-and-roll with Ryan Boatright — and two blocked shots.
“I told those guys if they play hard in practice, they’re going to get minutes,” Ollie said. “They’ve been playing hard in practice. It’s no secret to it….They didn’t hang their heads and say ‘Oh, I didn’t play in Germany.’ Leon, he could have been mad and been like ‘I didn’t play in front of my family.’ It’s no excuses. In practice, he came out and played with intensity and I’m going to reward guys who do that.”