Ollie offers up some (not much) ACC talk


Ryan Boatright puts up some shots under the watchful eye of assistant coach Karl Hobbs. (Neill Ostrout photo)

UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie is pretty focused on his team right now. He didn’t, at least publicly, have a whole lot to say about the Huskies’ place in the landscape of college athletics after practice Wednesday.

Louisville, of course, is off to the ACC in a couple years. UConn is left to wonder what it’s future will be.

“I don’t pay attention to it too much,” said Ollie, whose team takes on New Hampshire Thursday. “You definitely care but I’m not worried about it. I’m going to coach my team.

“We’re in a great conference now. We’re going to try and win conference titles. I just really have faith and believe in Susan (Herbst) and Warde (Manuel) that they’ll make the best decision for this university.”

Ollie then got a little philosophical.

“We’re happy to be breathing. We’re happy to have a conference. We’re happy to play these games,” Ollie said.

The coach doesn’t think his players are thinking about the ACC, either.

“We’ve got some things we have to sure up. These guys have enough things going on with the ban from the postseason and the NCAA Tournament, all that stuff. Then they have to worry about their schoolwork. We have so much things that we’re looking positively at. Hopefully we hone in these next two weeks and get our academics done. Because we’re in good shape now. We just want to finish out this academic semester up really strong,” Ollie said. “I think that’s where their minds are at, on their final exams not the ACC.”

UConn sophomore guard Ryan Boatright largely agreed with his coach. He’s not worried about UConn’s place right now.

“I don’t really pay it no attention,” Boatright said. “I seen it. I heard about it just from being on Twitter today. But I don’t really pay it no attention. It is what it is. Us as players don’t have any control about where we go. There’s no point to us worrying about it. We’re going to have to suit up and play regardless of what conference we’re in.”

— ON THE INJURY front, R.J. Evans (clavicle) is out tomorrow. Leon Tolksdorf (knee), however, should be able to play if needed.

Tolksdorf practiced Wednesday while Evans did some light shooting on the side during the Huskies’ workout.

It seems Evans’ return is goign to be Dec. 7 against Harvard at the earliest. UConn officials said it would be “very optimistic” to expect him to play next Tuesday against N.C. State at MSG.

— DON’T EXPECT ANY changes to the starting lineup, even though Niels Giffey is playing better and maybe could start.

“No, we’re 5-1,” Ollie said. “I like how we’re going now. No changes now.”

— SHOULD UCONN FANS expect a breakout rebounding effort by the Huskies (who haven’t out-rebounded an opponent yet this year)?

“I believe in these guys. I believe in our bigs,” Ollie said. “They’re going to rebound for us, we’re going to get out on the break and it’s going to explode one day. You guys are going to be like ‘Wow! Look at them guys!’ It’s going to happen soon.”



About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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