UConn notes/quotes prior to Houston game

Here’s a look at some tidbits from Wednesday’s UConn practice at Storrs. The Huskies host Houston at 9 p.m. Thursday at Gampel Pavilion, but the status of forward DeAndre Daniels remains up in the air after he suffered a high ankle sprain against Rutgers last Saturday. Houston won the first meeting between the teams 75-71 on New Year’s Eve.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie

On how Daniels is doing:

“He’s doing well. He’s probable for the next game, but he’s feeling well. We’ll see how it is in the morning time and we’ll evaluate it and go from there. But he is feeling very, very well.”

On the health of Omar Calhoun, who missed Saturday’s game with an ankle sprain:

 “I think he’s ready to go. We want Omar to get out there and play some good defense and knock down some shots for us. Try to get back on track to the way we’ve been seeing him and envision him playing. He’s going to get another great opportunity to go out there and I think it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out of this slump and plays the basketball we know he’s capable of. He’s working his butt off and that’s what I am most proud of him about. He’s working, he’s coming into practice each and every day going full speed, Level Five and that’s why I think there will be a breakthrough soon.”

On trying to stop Houston’s 6-8 TaShawn Thomas:

“That’s a big time challenge. I think he’s the only one who’s in scoring and rebounding in the top of the American Conference, so whenever you have somebody like that it’s going to be tough to guard and we are going to have to do it by committee. Guys are going to have to load up and play aggressive on him, and we have to keep him off the backboard and that will limit his transition buckets and then play solid defense against him.”

On the Cougars with the return of Danuel House (knee), who missed the first game:

 “They are still aggressive. Danuel House is a different four man. They had (Danrad) Knowles at the four against us a little bit and I think he scored 13 points, Danuel House is coming off a 22-point game. They go small a lot with Knowles at the five and then at the four, or vice versa when they take Thomas out. Then when they bring Thomas back in, they have House at the four. He’s kind of a stretch four like we try to have DeAndre, so it puts the defense in a bind. But at the end of the day, you have to get back in transition and you got to rebound.”

On if the Huskies didn’t show enough respect in the first game against Houston:

“I don’t consider that a lack of respect or anything like that. That’s a good team that played great. It was at their home court and it happens. But I don’t think we ever didn’t respect a team and I’m a coach that is always going to respect my opponent I don’t care what their record is. We just didn’t come out with that intensity to detail and they ran the ball. They got out on the break, we were not disciplined in our defensive sets and they took advantage of them and that’s what a good team does.

“Hopefully we come out with a better mindset in front of our home crowd. We have to keep building on that momentum. We have some good momentum on our side and we want to keep building on it.”

UConn guard Ryan Boatright

On playing Houston again:

“If we can come out and play UConn basketball from the tip, we should be all right.”

On if he pays attention to where UConn is in the standings (4-3, fifth place in AAC):

 “No, not really. You have so many people around you and so many people that follow UConn you can hear it with going and looking for it. I don’t really look for it. I just to calculate wins and make my team better and myself better.”

On keeping the Huskies’ two-game winning streak going:

“Any time you can keep a winning streak going no matter if it is conference or non-conference, it’s always good. As long as we can keep doing it and piling up these wins the better off we’ll be.”

NOTES: Tickets remain for Thursday’s game at Storrs. … The Huskies will not play another home game until Feb. 12 (South Florida) after Thursday night. … UConn is 10-0 when outrebounding an opponent. … Houston has dropped two straight coming in, and has lost to all three AAC ranked schools (Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis).



William Paxton