Four Huskies suspended for WVU game

The UConn bench just got a lot shorter for tonight’s game against West Virginia in the Puerto Rico Tip-Of.

Omar Calhoun, Rakim Lubin, Dan Guest and Marcel Lewis were all suspended today what the school termed a “violation of team rules.”

Their playing status will be reevaluated when the Huskies return home, the school announced. UConn’s travel party will fly back to Connecticut Tuesday, though Joe D’Ambrosio of WTIC-AM 1080 tweeted that the foursome has already been sent home.

Calhoun would not have played in Sunday’s game because of a knee injury anyway, while Guest and Lewis are walk-ons and also were unlikely to have seen any action against West Virginia.

But Lubin has been a frontcourt reserve and left the Huskies rather thin up front against Bob Huggins’ team. A 6-foot-8, 260-pound freshman, Lubin averaged five minutes per game through the Huskies’ first three this season.

Thought to be possibly on the verge of a strong comeback season, Calhoun has yet to play this season after spraining his right knee in practice Oct. 26.

AND ANOTHER ONE GONE

UConn was actually down another player on Sunday as Pat Lenehan did not return to the team as expected. Lenehan, a 6-foot-3 former walk-on guard from Cheshire, missed Friday’s win over Dayton because he was in New York for a Rhodes Scholar interview.

Lenehan had originally planned to fly back to San Juan on Saturday evening or Sunday morning to rejoin the team for its final game on the island, but a death in the family forced Lenehan to remain in Connecticut over the weekend instead.

- Neill

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Huskies in Puerto Rico

Greetings from San Juan. (I know, I know. Tough gig).

Anyway, the UConn men’s basketball team is getting ready to take on the College of Charleston Thursday afternoon.

1:30 update:

Just met with UConn coach Kevin Ollie and a couple of the Huskies. Here are the highlights:

– IT MAY BE 82 in the shade here but Ryan Boatright says the Huskies are on a business trip.

“We just have to be focused. I know we’re out of state, there’s nice weather and feels like a vacation but it’s a business trip and we have to stay focused,” Boatright said. “It’s totally different than playing at home. It’s hotter over here. You get dehydrated a little faster. The gym is different; they’ve got double rims.”

– HIS KNEE SPRAIN will keep UConn G Omar Calhoun out of action Thursday. He still might be able to play later in the tournament.

“From what I’m hearing, no. But he’s looking better and better every day,” Ollie said. “It might be a possibility that he’ll be back but if not we’ll just re-examine him when we get back home. Hopefully he’s ready for Texas.”

– THURSDAY WILL MARK the UConn debut for guard Rodney Purvis. Purvis missed UConn’s opener because of an NCAA suspension.

He’s good for Charleston, however, right coach?

“The NCAA might come back with something. You never know,” Ollie said.

Ollie was kidding, of course.

Purvis didn’t like missing UConn’s opener but he’s ready to go.

“Yeah, the first game in Gampel that was kind of frustrating,” Purvis said. “But I’m happy we got the win as a team and I was there cheering.”

Purvis didn’t have a great preseason but says a chat with Jim Calhoun may have helped him turn the corner.

“I’m good. I just have to slow down. I was trying to move too fast,” Purvis said. “Coach Calhoun pulled me to the side in practice last week and told me to be ‘shot ready.’ I slowed down a whole lot and things have been going a whole lot better.”

– WE’LL HAVE some updates from the Huskies following their shootaround this afternoon but until then here are a few words from the Cougars.

College of Charleston coach Earl Grant put his team through a quick workout at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente this morning.

– THE HUSKIES HAVE played Charleston twice in their history, winning both games.

The last time the two teams met was Dec. 27, 1995 in Charleston, S.C. The game was a homecoming of sorts for Ray Allen (who went to high school in Dalzell, S.C.) and UConn rolled to a 77-60 victory. Travis Knight had a big game, if I recall correctly.

– CHARLESTON IS PLAYING the defending national champs for the second year in a row. It lost to Louisville in last season’s opener.

Don’t expect the player to be shell-shocked, I guess.

“We’ve got some older guys. I’m sure they’ll look forward to the challenge,” Grant said. “We know it’s a challenge but hey, that’s why you play the game. You like to be challenged.”

Senior guard Anthony Stitt seemed to agree.

“It’s always great going out and playing great competition like the defending national champion,” Stitt said. “UConn has a great team, we watched some tape on them.”

– GRANT IS IN his first year (third month, really) coaching the Cougars.

“It’s been fun. But it’s been a learning experience,” Grant said.

“At the end of the day, the biggest thing for me right now _ when I got the job and it’s still ongoing _ I really want to get to know my player and build a great relationship with these guys. I’ve got a really good group of guys that deserve my best effort,” Grant said.

The player seem to like their new boss. After the way former coach Doug Wojcik apparently treated them, that’s probably expected.

“He’s a very good people person. He’s a player’s coach. He’s also very demanding and expects a lot out of his players, but he knows how to get the best out of his players,” Stitt said of Grant.

– KEEP AN EYE on Charleston’s Canyon Barry (yes, youngest son of Rick). He shoots his free throws like the old man, underhanded.

– CHARLESTON MAY HAVE to contend with the likes of Amida Brimah, but it has its own talented big man.

Adjehi Baru, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound senior from Ivory Coast (he looks like he’s about 37), is averaging 13.0 points and 10.0 rebounds so far this season. He’s 8th all-time in rebounding at the school.

“Baru’s a tough player. He’s an animal,” Stitt said. “He’s got that length so hopefully he’ll be ready to compete with those boys.”

– UCONN IS PLAYING in a November tournament for the 10th season in a row. It has won five of those events _ the 2005 Maui Invitational, the 2006 Hispanic College Fund Classic, the 2008 Paradise Jam, the 2010 Maui Invitational and the 2013 2K Sports Classic _ and been the runner-up three times.

- Neill

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Purvis suspended for opener

UConn guard Rodney Purvis has been suspended for UConn’s opener.

From the school:

“Redshirt sophomore Rodney Purvis will miss the University of Connecticut men’s basketball season opener Friday against Bryant University while serving a one-game suspension.

Purvis participated in more than one league during summer league competition, which is not allowed under NCAA rules. Working with the NCAA, the university determined that the single game in which he played in the second league necessitated the one-game penalty.

Following the game against Bryant, Purvis will be fully eligible.”

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American: UConn picked 1st, Boatright preseason POY

By Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

NEW YORK _ Now that it’s king of the mountain again, the UConn men’s basketball team is expected to conquer a local hill for an encore.

The defending national champion Huskies were picked to win the 11-team American Athletic Conference in a vote of the coaches released today, and two of their players were also honored by the league.

UConn guard Ryan Boatright was tabbed as the preseason player of the year while swingman Daniel Hamilton earned the preseason rookie of the year nod.

UConn received six first-place votes and had 96 points in the poll. That put the Huskies just ahead of SMU, which was awarded the remaining five first-place votes and a total of 94 points. Memphis was the third choice in the poll followed by Cincinnati in fourth.

The poll and the teams were announced during the league’s media day this morning at the New York Athletic Club.

Year two of play in the American will see a significant shift in the league’s makeup. Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) have moved on, while Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina have joined.

Boatright was the only Husky on the preseason All-Conference first team as well as the only unanimous choice. He was joined by Memphis teammates Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols, the SMU duo of Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy, as well as Tulsa’s James Woodard.

UConn sophomore center Amida Brimah was named to the league’s second team, along with two players from South Florida (Anthony Collins and Chris Perry) as well as two from Temple (Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey).

UConn went 12-6 in league play last season, tying for third place. The Huskies also managed to win the program’s fourth national championship after that regular season campaign.

The Huskies’ first contest will come Tuesday when they play Southern Connecticut in an exhibition at Gampel Pavilion.

UConn’s regular season opener is Nov. 14 against Bryant. It begins AAC play Dec. 31 against Temple.

PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Rk Team Pts

1. UConn (6) 96

2. SMU (5) 94

3. Memphis 82

4. Cincinnati 71

5. Tulsa 62

6. Temple 59

7. Houston 39

8. South Florida 32

9. Central Florida 26

10. East Carolina 24

11. Tulane 20

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ryan Boatright, UConn

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Daniel Hamilton, UConn

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Ryan Boatright, UConn*

Shaq Goodwin, Memphis

Austin Nichols, Memphis

Nic Moore, SMU

Markus Kennedy, SMU

James Woodard, Tulsa

SECOND TEAM

Amida Brimah, UConn

Anthony Collins, South Florida

Chris Perry, South Florida

Will Cummings, Temple

Quenton DeCosey, Temple

*unanimous selection

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UConn, Georgetown restart series

This just in from UConn:

The UConn men’s basketball program announced today that the Huskies will renew their on-court rivalry with former Big East Conference colleague Georgetown in a home-and-home series over the next two seasons.

Georgetown is scheduled to come to Connecticut on Jan. 23, 2016, with the Huskies visiting the Verizon Center to play the Hoyas on Jan. 21, 2017.

UConn and Georgetown have a long history, dating back to 1958 and including 64 games, with Georgetown holding a 35-29 advantage. As Big East Conference opponents, Georgetown had a 32-26 edge. The two programs share the record for most Big East Conference Tournament championships with seven apiece.

Georgetown won the last game played between the two teams, a 79-78 double overtime thriller at Gampel Pavilion on Feb. 27, 2013. UConn lost its last two games against the Hoyas, but the teams split their last four contests. UConn’s last win against Georgetown was a 79-62 decision on March 9, 2011, during the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, on the Huskies’ way to the Big East Tournament title and their third NCAA National Championship.

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Home venues set

Just in from UConn:

The UConn men’s basketball team will play 15 home games during the 2014-15 regular season, bringing national powers Texas and Memphis to Gampel Pavilion in Storrs and Cincinnati and SMU to the XL Center in Hartford.

The 2014 National Champion Huskies will play seven home games on campus at Gampel Pavilion and seven home games at the XL Center, as well as an exhibition game at each venue. In addition, UConn will return to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport for the second straight season to play one home game.

The home schedule will begin at Gampel with an exhibition game against Southern Connecticut on Nov. 4, followed by a second exhibition game on Nov. 9 against Assumption College at the XL Center. The first regular-season game is slated for Gampel Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 14, against Bryant University.

Texas will visit Gampel Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 30, marking the Longhorns’ first trip to Storrs since Jan. 23, 2010, when they were ranked No. 1 in the country, only to be upset by the Huskies, 88-74. Memphis comes to Gampel for an American Athletic Conference faceoff on March 5, UConn’s final home game of the regular season.

American power Cincinnati will be at the XL Center to face the Huskies on Saturday, Jan. 10, while SMU makes its first-ever appearance in the XL Center on Sunday, March 1. UConn will also have a New Year’s Eve game at the XL Center, facing AAC opponent Temple at a time to be determined.

UConn, which defeated Eastern Washington at Webster Bank Arena last year, will play host to Columbia this season in Bridgeport on Dec. 22.

The American Athletic Conference Championship will be held at the XL Center from March 12-15.

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Full schedule is out

Hot off the presses (internet connection), here is UConn’s 2014-15 schedule.

MEN’S SCHEDULE AS OF 8-27

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