UConn notebook: Ollie talks Boatright, 2015, schedule and Omar Calhoun


Some leftover tidbits from UConn coach Kevin Ollie after Friday’s AAC press conference at the XL Center:

 On hosting the 2015 conference tournament:

“We’re just going to go out there and play good basketball. But it’s great to have our fans here – they have been wonderful here and at Gampel. We just look forward to playing in front of them and making them proud each and every time we are out on the court.”

On the return of Ryan Boatright for his senior season:

“It’s going to be nice. I am happy Ryan Boatright decided to come back and play his senior. I think he really saw what it did for Shabazz (Napier), who had an opportunity to graduate last Sunday and is now participating in the NBA combines. People are looking at him as a potential first rounder. I think if he came out last year he probably won’t have been the case. To come back to school was a wonderful thing and I think he’s seen that. Ryan is working right now, he’s taking May session and getting closer to his degree and still working on his basketball game. He’s going to be a great leader for us.”

On some of the other Huskies for next season:

“With Rodney coming in, I always call him my Ferrari in the garage. I get to turn that baby on and drive it a little bit. I look forward to that. Daniel Hamilton, Sam Cassell, my great bigs Amida (Brimah), Phil Nolan and all of our guys coming back. Kentan Facey, who really didn’t have an opportunity to play last year because of DeAndre (Daniels) and Niels (Giffey). He’s going to have a great opportunity to step in and play some significant minutes for us. Just everybody coming back.”

On the goal for the 2015-16 season:

“We have one single goal and that’s to make University of Connecticut proud of us. Not individual accolades, but team accolades and I think we have a good formula to win and continue to have success.”

On the status of Brimah, who had off-season shoulder surgery:

 “He’s doing good. He really can’t do anything for the first couple months anyway, you just want to keep it in the harness and keep it still. But he’s doing good. They came in and did great job. He’s right on schedule.”

On the 2015-16 schedule, which includes the Puerto Rico Tip-off along with a non-league schedule that also has Texas, Duke, Florida and Stanford:

“That’s a pretty big time schedule. Don’t forget about Texas, they’re probably going to be top 10 in the nation. We have a lot of great teams. We go out to Stanford in the middle of our conference play, so it’s going to be a difficult challenge, but last year was difficult and we came through it. I think it prepared us for our conference and then also the NCAA Tournament when we were able to play against great teams. Playing against Florida and then coming back and playing them in the Final Four really gave us the confidence that we can play with these teams.”

On any message for Omar Calhoun when he left for the summer after a sophomore slump:

“No, just work hard, get better at something each and every day. Keep your confidence high. Keep believing in yourself. It’s basically the same thing. We don’t come up with different mantras every day. There’s a model we want our student-athletes to perform at, and hopefully, Omar understands that. He did an unbelievable jump, his character, when he wasn’t playing to come in and be on the bench and to cheer like he was doing speaks volumes of what kind of man he’s become. I think that was big for our success. Kentan wasn’t playing and going on to the scout team, all that stuff helps and you all don’t see that. That’s why I like our great you men, they keep being ambassadors for our university and do things that you all don’t see all the time. I keep calling it under the water line, you all don’t see it, but I see it. I know they are becoming great men at this great university.”

William Paxton