UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

Notes/Quotes from Providence: “That Qunnipiac game I knew I had something special”

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One of the most unique seasons in college basketball history is in the books.

Kevin Ollie (AP)

A postseason ban, the retirement of a Hall of Fame coach, the seven-month contract for a rookie coach and the mass defections in the frontcourt all contributed to the story written by the Huskies in 2012-13.

It ended, fittingly, in overtime. Shabazz Napier and UConn needed five extra minutes to put away Providence, 63-59. Afterwards, Kevin Ollie addressed the entire season.

“That Quinnipiac game I knew we had something special,” Ollie said. “Because we had a double overtime and then we came back and played that championship game and had a chance to beat New Mexico. I was like, ‘Man, this team is going to be special.’”

Some notes, quotes and links from Saturday’s season finale:

*My column: The next few months could be as suspenseful as the season. Will Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels or Ryan Boatright go pro? If they don’t, UConn will have loaded roster next season.

*Ollie on 20 wins: “Getting 20 wins was one of our goals. Winning the Big East was one of our goals, and we didn’t accomplish that. But those are superficial goals. The goal I really want to talk about was the goal of being the best attitude team in America. They were the best attitude team in America.”

*Ollie on the season: “I couldn’t be happier for this group. Hopefully they stay together because the future is so bright.”

*Providence coach Ed Cooley wasn’t a fan of the foul call on Ryan Boatright’s game-winning play with 19 seconds remaining in overtime.

“We played hard and we played together,” Cooley said. “They got the right call at the right time. And really, that’s the game. Point. Period. That can go either way.”

*R.J. Evans locked down Providence guard Bryce Cotton, holding the Big East’s leading scorer to single digits (nine points) for the second time this season.

“You know coach Ollie told me earlier that he needed me to shut them down and I just took my pride and said, ‘I’m going to help us win this game,’” Evans said.

Evans, the only player UConn will lose to graduation, addressed the team in the locker room before the game. Ollie said many of the players were in tears.

“It was from the heart,” Ollie said.

*Shabazz Napier (sprained right foot) said he decided to play about 35 minutes before the game.

“In the first half, (the foot) was probably 75-80 percent and the second half it was up-down just like 55-60.”

Categories: General

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5 Responses

  1. Kevin Duffy says:

    No problem. I’m not saying Napier IS Kemba. He’ll never go No. 9 overall in any draft. Hell of a season from him, though.

  2. Mike McManus says:

    Thanks for your comments Kevin. I don’t see Napier as being anywhere comparable to Kemba…maybe it’s not fair for me to compare them but the one negative I have for Shabazz, despite his heroics in the OT games, was a lack of consistent effort. There were not just a few bad halves; I recall a string of several games where everyone including KO was wondering why he was playing “casual.” That was a trait that Kemba never displayed.

  3. Kevin Duffy says:

    Mike,
    You make some good points. I speculate right now because, with no postseason, I’m sure everyone is wondering what the team will look like next year. Boatright should not go…he will not get drafted, in my opinion. Daniels could greatly enhance his draft stock next year. I’m not sure Napier can, which is why I wouldn’t think its a bad move for him to go. Napier really was great this season. He obviously had some bad halves, but every player does.

  4. Mike McManus says:

    Kevin, why do you and your colleagues feel that it’s essential at this time of the year to speculate which of UCONN’s players might leave school for the NBA, thus providing an enhanced sense of self worth to players who really should spend another year improving their game and taking advantage of a free education? Don’t get me wrong, I admire all three of them and appreciate what they have done collectively to make this a special season for UCONN. But you said what more can Napier do to demonstrate his value? How about play with energy for a full 40 minutes and not just when he feels motivated. Do you remember all of those games when he literally got lost in the first half, looked lackadaisical, and took few shots? Did that impress pro scouts? Boatright had some great games but had too many turnovers, played out of control too often, and was cited by many for being selfish with the ball. Daniels was outstanding towards the end of the season and has great potential but he also went through periods where he did not play with energy and was somewhat careless with the ball. Wouldn’t his credentials be enhanced if he put on some muscle and could prove that he can play with energy for an entire game, every game? I’m not sure that you guys are doing any favors by speculating about their leaving school prematurely

  5. Tony R says:

    What a season!!!! Congratulations to Coach Ollie and his magnificent team of student athletes!!! That’ve truly made us proud!!!!!