Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
UConn Showing UCann Make It
Huskies may not have been the sexy pick but that doesn’t matter
NEW YORK—UConn Coach Kevin Ollie knows that he’s the man in charge of what’s going on between the white lines since taking over from legendary coach, Jim Calhoun. And here he is with his team in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. He revealed his source of strength and his feelings on being coach. “I just really get a lot of confidence from God. I know He’s put me in this position. I love this university, and hopefully my passion shows through. I love my players, because they give me everything I can ask for as a coach but not just on the basketball court, off the court.”
Shabazz Napier who is the unquestioned leader of this team is one of the players that has benefitted from the transition of Calhoun to Ollie. “I didn’t know how to be a leader out there at that point,” Napier said Saturday in reference to the dreaded 2011-12 season with was Calhoun’s last, his voice full of remorse. “I isolated myself a lot when things were down. I was quite flustered most of the time.” What a difference a few years to grow up makes.
“I felt I didn’t play to my capabilities that year and I wanted to show my teammates, show the fans, show the coaches, that I’m going to come back strong and come back better,” the 6-foot senior and Roxbury, Mass. product recalled. “That’s the reason why I didn’t transfer. I felt like I owed [Connecticut] something. That’s why I came back.”
UConn faces a daunting task of reaching the Final Four in trying to beat Coach Tom Izzo and his Michigan State Spartans. A team that a legion of people including the President of the United States, Barack Obama is favored to win the Tournament.
Jerald L. Hoover