Ollie wants Huskies to attack more; Napier OK

UConn coach Kevin Ollie after Friday’s practice in Bridgeport:

On this being a difficult time of year with juggling exams, holidays and basketball:

“It’s part of life, every team has to go through it. It’s not difficult and we’re not making any excuses. We have to go out and play Husky basketball.”

On the Huskies’ speed:

“I do like us getting out in the fastbreak and using our speed. Speed kills in this game, and that was the first time that Washington game where (Ryan) Boatright was acting. Shabazz (Napier) was attacking. We got to the free throw line I believe 25 times and made 22. Our goal is to get to the free throw line 22 times – that’s what I want us to get to that attacking and I think we started putting our foot on the gas pedal and we didn’t let off. That’s a good sign for our team going forward.”

On Shabazz sitting out part of practice with tendonits in his left leg:

“He’s  all right (smile). There’s nothing wrong with him, he’s a gamer. He’ll be there.”

On the starting lineup vs. Eastern Washington (he started Amida Brimah instead of Phil Nolan against Washington):

“I might be tempted, but we are just going to keep playing basketball. I’ll sit with the coaches and evaluate practice and we’ll come up with the starting lineup. But at halftime if I don’t see someone not playing or not doing the different things we want to get done. It’s not Omar (Calhoun), it’s not nobody, it’s just we are going to get the first five that are out there. Our motto is ‘be fair to everybody and everybody gets an opportunity, but we’re going to play the best.”

On what he wants from his players after celebrating his 41st birthday Friday:

“All that got to do is get a win and keep getting better.”

UConn guard Ryan Boatright, who celebrated his 21st birthday Friday

On rallying in Washington and how it might help the team:

“Having  a tough road win like that, being down 13 like that and coming through adversity like that is always good for a team, especially the first road win. Our confidence came back up coming off a loss, a terrible loss.”

On trying to get in a groove with the holidays and exams done and league play ahead:

“This is the fun part of the year. You have a game every two days and practices get cut down. This is the fun part of the year where you get to play a lot of games.”

On the Webster Bank Arena feeling like home:

“It doesn’t feel like home because it’s not home, but I don’t feel like it’s the road either because it’s right up the street. We like it. Nobody has complained about it. It’s going to be fun tomorrow.”

UConn guard Shabazz Napier

On sitting out part of practice:

“I think I fell on the floor against Stanford (and the left knee) kind of swelled up a little bit. This last few days has helped it out, it really hasn’t hurt as bad. I felt like today was a good day to get some rest since yesterday, we went extra hard yesterday. I think I should be ready for tomorrow.”

On playing in Bridgeport:

“I don’t know why we came down here, I guess we are trying to get all of Connecticut with the UConn wave. It’s good to play against different types of fans. They all love us but sometimes they can’t get out to see us. We are coming to them now so it’s much easier.”

On celebrating birthdays with teammates and trying to get coach Ollie, by attempting to tackle him, after practice:

“We tried to get coach but everyone was scared. I grabbed him. There was six of us, but we can’t get him on the floor though – he’s kind of old. He can’t get up. Whoever’s birthday we just try to have fun with it.”


William Paxton