Day 1 in the books

The UConn men’s basketball team just finished up practice No. 1 of the 2013-14 season. It’s earlier than usual because of the new NCAA rule regarding practice and it’s only the second opening day of Kevin Ollie’s head coaching tenure. But it was pretty much a typical first day in Husky land.

The day started at about 9:30 a.m. in Guyer Gym (the Field House). After a couple hours there that involved lots of running, it was over to Gampel Pavilion for another hour or so of practice. The latter portion had lots and lots of rebounding drills and physical battles.

— OLLIE CALLED THE first day a “gut check.”

“We wanted to really concentrate on physicality, hitting first, rebounding, but also pushing the pace,” Ollie said.

No reports of lost lunches (breakfasts, I guess) or anything too severe from Guyer.

“That practice was all about mental fatigue and trying to break that barrier,” Shabazz Napier said. “You think you’re tired but he’s telling you you’re not tired, that you still have more in the tank. The guys understood that and really pushed themselves.”

— HE WAS GENERALLY pleased with the freshman, Terrence Samuel, Kentan Facey and Amida Brima on Saturday, but Ollie knows they have a long way to go.

He was asked how long it takes freshman to adjust to college basketball and mentioned Jeremy Lamb.

“In Jeremy’s case we couldn’t even play him in the beginning of the season,” Ollie said. “I think we hit the DePaul game and a light came on. The rest is history.

“It takes different freshmen different time. They (current freshmen) sure don’t’ have it now. They have a long way to go.”

— SOPHOMORE GUARD Omar Calhoun may not have run in the Husky Run on Wednesday but he was full go on Saturday.

The offseason hip surgery he went through doesn’t appear to be slowing him down at all.

“He pushed through. There were a couple times I thought he was going to tap out but he didn’t. That’s showing character,” Ollie said.

— BRIMAH WENT DOWN in a heap late in the practice, seemingly landing on his left shoulder. He was looked at thoroughly but trainer James Doran but did not return to the workout.

It didn’t seem too severe but UConn had no official word on the injury.

— TRY-OUTS FOR WALK-ONS happened early Saturday and UConn has picked up a few, including at least one with some real size.

Ollie, of course, is still learning who is who.

During one drill, the head coach blew his whistle to stop the action and caution one of the newcomers.

“I don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t know you’re name yet but you have to pick it up,” Ollie said.

— IN CASE THERE was any doubt, Tyler Olander (suspension) was not in attendance.

— THERE IS NO update on Facey’s status. Still waiting for NCAA word on his eligibility this season. He is practicing now, of course.

— A 2014 RECRUIT from Gadsden, Ala., was on a visit this weekend and watched practice. 6-7 Rakim Lubin took in the sights and sounds Saturday in Gampel.



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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