Ollie talks Maine, freshmen and how Omar Calhoun can be better

Some leftovers from Kevin Ollie’s session with the media on Thursday:

On playing 1-6 Maine on Friday night at the XL Center:

“Maine is a team coming in that’s going to play with their backs against the wall. They need a good win, they need a good performance. They got a couple players over there, they got four guys in double digits and we have to be on our game. We have to definitely guard the 3-point line, that’s one thing I’m concerned about especially when you are playing a mid-major team. They can get hot from 3, so we have to keep doing a good job of getting their shooters off the 3-point line, controlling the backboards.”

On wish list for his team despite 8-0 start:

“This team is outstanding shooting the ball, and hopefully we can keep that up, but hopefully we can start getting some inside play, get to the free-throw line a little bit more.”

On ways for the team’s front court players to improve against more physical teams:

“Have them warm up, do their work early and we are pushing them do it especially if they want to stay on the floor. Our guards have to do a better job containing the dribble. That has nothing to do with the bigs, but about the time they turn around the guards are allowing their man to beat them off the first dribble and going right up. By the time Phillip (Nolan) turns around, they are right at his chest, and our bigs can’t do nothing about that. Our guards have to contain the basketball a little bit more, keep our guys out of foul trouble.

“Of course we can (work) early, we can get in the weight room or we can do all those different things. I think it’s going to show up someday, and it’s going to pay off, we are going to see some bigs really step up hopefully in the next couple games.”

 On what freshmen Kentan Facey needs to do to see more floor time:

“Facey has to keep doing what he’s doing. We see him every day in practice. He’s getting better. He has to learn both spots, the 4 and the 5, and it’s kind of tough to get him in that 4 spot because of DeAndre and Niels eating up most of the minutes. He has to learn both spots, but he’s doing a great job and I expect he’ll play more. It’s up to him, not up to me.

“He’s doing a great job, an excellent job. Like I said it’s a difficult situation. I can’t play everybody right now.

“Those guys (Facey and freshman guard Terrence Samuel) are developing very well. I am very pleased with their attitudes. They aren’t playing a lot, but they are still buying in, which is great. … They’ll get their chance.”

On the team’s reliance on 3-point shooting:

“I don’t want to shoot too many. I want to get to the free-throw line a lot more.

“You make 11 3s the last game, they make 3 – that’s significant and that’s what won us the game. I’m not going to have our guys not take 3s, but I don’t want to get up in the 28, 29 (attempts) range.”

 On going against former UConn assistant Ted Woodward, who coaches Maine:

“He’s going to be coaching our opponent, but he’s still a part of the family. … It’s great to see him and hopefully he can turn this around after Friday though.”

On Omar Calhoun dealing with some shooting troubles and trying to make teammates better with other parts of his game:

“I see it more in practice. I see him working in the gym and that’s part of making his teammates better because when he works on his game he’s pushing his other teammates. I see him buying in with his attitude. It’s not all, don’t get caught up when I say it’s all on the court, it’s not. It’s the attitude he still has because a lot of guys can come in here moping and not working hard.

“He’s going to get better. He’s shooting a low percentage, him and (Ryan) Boatright. They got to take better shots they have to make the shots that arise. Both of those guys are still working hard, they are still trying to get in the gym and work on their decision making. I have to do a better job of putting them in better positions to score.

“For Boatright, he’s second in assists and he’s rebounding, that’s what I need Omar to understand. You’re not going to just be one dimensional, just be a shooter and rely on your shooting ability. You can do a lot of different things.”


William Paxton