That’s it, folks. Like a bullet, the UConn basketball season is over.
Iowa State’s 77-64 win over the Huskies Thursday night in Louisville in the NCAA Tournament’s first (second) round did the trick.
I’m about to leave the Yum Center. Trying to sneak out of here on an early flight home but here’s a quick synopsis. Check back here and at the Journal Inquirer’s main site later Friday for more:
— Coach Jim Calhoun was kind of in shock after the game.
“I’m as surprised as anybody,” Calhoun said. “Fred (Hoiberg) and his Iowa State team showed up at a different speed, at a different level.”
Shabazz Napier, who took the loss particularly hard, felt about the same way.
“They threw their first punch and we weren’t ready for it,” Napier said.
— As for the Huskies’ future NBA pros, they remain non-committal.
“I’m not even thinking about that. I’m just thinking about the game,” Jeremy Lamb said when asked about leaving early for the NBA. “I didn’t step up and do the things we needed to win. So I’m not even thinking about that.”
Andre Drummond had similar comments.
“I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about what we have to do for tomorrow,” Drummond said. “That’s something that’s in the future.”
Alex Oriakhi may have the opportunity to transfer “freely” after the season. As we know, the Huskies are almost assuredly going to be barred from next year’s NCAA’s because of APR penalties. Oriakhi, the Huskies’ only upper classman, would then be allowed to transfer to another Division I school without having to sit out a full season as is usually the case with transfers.
“I’m going to have to sit down with my family and we’ll make that decision,” Oriakhi said.
— Drummond, as he has in recent weeks, certainly sounds as if he’s returning (though you’d expect that, I suppose).
Drummond was asked if this UConn team come back next year and make a run?
“Without a doubt,” Drummond said. “This team has so much talent, which is like a blessing and a curse at the same time. We have so much talent sometimes that we don’t know what to do with it. All we have to do is channel it the right way throughout the summer, get a feel for each other even more. I have no doubt in my mind we’ll be back here again.”
— As for Calhoun’s future (retirement), he bristled when the question was asked Thursday.
“I’m going to get on the plane (Friday), go home and do what I usually do, and meet up with the team on Monday,” Calhoun said. “So as far as my personal thing, I don’t think it has any relevance here.”
— Napier was asked what the difference between this year’s team and last year’s.
“Effort and attitude,” Napier said.
“We had a great player last year (Kemba Walker) who brung it every single day,” Napier added. “And as a point guard, it’s my job to bring that. When you don’t bring that effort and attitude to be that leader for your teammates, you lose games.
“More often than not, you’re sitting up here talking about what you could have done and what you should have done.”