Just arrived at Gampel Pavilion for Saturday morning practice. Some quick notes on UConn’s Sunday afternoon tilt with Stony Brook and ex-UConn player/assistant coach Steve Pikiell.
*Senior guard R.J. Evans is out for a “significant time” with a sternal-clavicular sprain, according to a UConn official. Pretty big blow for the Huskies. Evans has been “the rock,” as Kevin Ollie likes to say, early in the season. He’s been very productive as the team’s sixth man, giving the Huskies dependable production if either Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright or Omar Calhoun has an off-night or runs into foul trouble. Ollie did not give a timetable for Evans’ return, but did say that he would have been out six weeks if the bone had been fractured.
“He does a lot of key things for us that don’t show up in the stats, so we’re going to have to have guys step up,” Ollie said. “You can’t be RJ, but you can be yourself and you know grow and evolve. There’s going to be some roles that will be different. So Omar may have to play some point if one of the guys gets hurt or one of the guys gets in foul trouble.”
*Napier on Evans: “He’s really an important factor. He came in the game not really looking to score, but was that facilitator, was that extra coach on the floor. He is like the veteran of the group. He keeps his composure. He does so much for the team that we’re going to miss a lot.”
*Napier (36.6 minutes per game) and Boatright (33.8) are already playing big minutes. Expect Calhoun (31) to join them in the high-30s. The 6-foot-5 freshman ran some point in Saturday’s practice, and could do so during games, too.
*Ollie on facing an ex-UConn player/coach in Steve Pikiell: “I don’t care who we’re playing….I don’t care if it’s Scott Burrell, I don’t care if coach Calhoun comes out of retirement coaching somewhere else, it’s going to be the same thing. We’re going to play the right way and hopefully we do that Sunday.”
*Freshman forward Leon Tolksdorf missed practice (sprained knee) and isn’t expected to play Sunday.