<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dog House]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/blogs/dog-house http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 27 Nov 2015 03:20:41 -0500 Fri, 27 Nov 2015 03:20:41 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Diaco Expected to be Bowl Eligible in Year Two]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:39:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco112415.jpg The UConn football team is bowl eligible with six wins and their head coach is not surprised by his team's improvements.]]> <![CDATA[Huskies Still Bowl-Eligible]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:08:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tommymyers110415.jpg UConn tight end Tommy Myers from Coventry talks about the Huskies keeping the bowl chances alive.]]> <![CDATA[Diaco Says Huskies Will Turn Season Around]]> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:29:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco102715.jpg The UConn football team has lost 4 of their last 5 games, but Bob Diaco says the team and coaches will find away to turn the season around.]]> <![CDATA[UConn Women Unanimous Pick in AAC]]> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 12:40:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breanna-stewart-nd-finals.png

The UConn women's basketball team is the unanimous choice to win the American Athletic Conference this season.

In the Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Huskies received all 10 first-place votes, according to a realease on the UConn Athletics website.

That's not the only preseason honor for the team. Senior forward Breanna Stewart has been named the Preseason Player of the Year. It's the third straight year Stewart has been chosen for the honor.

Senior guard Moriah Jefferson and junior forward Morgan Tuck were named to the Preseason All-Conference First Team.

<![CDATA[Cincinnati Defeats UConn]]> Sun, 25 Oct 2015 17:44:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Gunner Kiel was an angry man on Tuesday when he was told Hayden Moore would get the start against Connecticut.

Instead, Kiel made his first start in a month, threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third as Cincinnati won its first conference game, beating UConn 37-13.

"I was mad," Kiel said. "I thought I did everything right in practice."

Kiel led the Bearcats (4-3, 1-2 American) over the Huskies (3-5, 1-3), who had the second-best scoring defense in the conference, allowing 20 points per game.

He threw his two touchdown passes in the first quarter and his 1-yard run gave the Bearcats a 24-10 halftime lead. He was 26 of 35 for 327 yards with touchdown throws to Johnny Holton and D.J. Dowdy, plus one interception. Hosey Williams rushed for 140 yards and a score, and Mike Boone had 13 carries for 117 yards.

Kiel suffered a concussion against Memphis on Sept. 24. Freshman Moore led the offense against Miami and Brigham Young.

"Hayden came in and played well," Kiel said. "We're friends. We both want to start. We have each other's back but it was huge to finally get back and play.

Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville is encouraging a rivalry that keeps both players sharp.

"We told them to play hard," Tuberville said. "I thought Gunner (Kiel) had more zip on the ball. Hayden has some tendinitis in a couple areas but even so when it started to rain, I'd have put Gunner in anyway. He is better at throwing a wet ball. We'll go back to the drawing board and start over with the competition. Competition is good."

The Huskies opened the scoring with a nine-play, 58-yard drive on its first possession. Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs kept the ball six times and gained 50 yards to set up Arkeel Newsome's 4-yard scamper.

The Cincinnati defense stiffened after that.

The Bearcats survived a 39-yard loss on a bad punt snap that set up UConn with a first-and-goal at the Cincinnati 10. After Zach Edwards stopped Tommy Myers at the 10 on third down, the Huskies settled for a 27-yard field goal by Bobby Puyol.

Injuries have forced Cincinnati to play younger players in the defensive backfield with Edwards, a junior, with the most experience.

"Our D-line stepped up and played good," Edwards said. "We said after the BYU game (a 38-24 loss) that we have to play all four quarters."

The second half drenched the sellout homecoming crowd of 40,124 and muted the scoring as both teams traded field goals. Andrew Gantz kicked field goals of 38 and 28 yards after the break. Puyol kicked a 30-yard field goal for UConn's only second-half score.

"There was a lot of things that I was very impressed with as it relates to the players and how they responded," UConn coach Bob Diaco said. "They (Cincinnati receivers) were too open. We needed to tighten down the coverage and we did in the second half until the end. We were trying something and busting it, holding them to field goals until the very end."

Williams had an 84-yard run late in the fourth quarter that set up his 1-yard TD plunge. He accounted for all 92 yards on the drive.

Cincinnati outgained UConn 612-266.

Shirreffs threw for 87 yards and was the Huskies' leading rusher with 90 yards on 17 carries. He completed 12 of his 27 pass attempts and was intercepted by Tyrell Gilbert. Tim Boyle passed for 43 yards in the fourth quarter.

"We're developing a program," Diaco said. "We are new. There were a lot of things I saw tonight that I saw was even better than last week. They focused. We have a lot of foundational things to build on."

Cincinnati has beaten UConn in all seven meetings at Nippert Stadium and holds a 9-2 advantage in the series that began in 2001 when the Huskies joined the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Looks Ahead to Cincy]]> Tue, 20 Oct 2015 15:39:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco102015.jpg UConn head coach Bob Diaco talks about what the Huskies will face when they play the Bearcats in Cincinnati on Saturday.]]> <![CDATA[UConn and Notre Dame Face Off in Jimmy V Classic Dec. 5]]> Thu, 22 Oct 2015 09:24:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breanna-stewart-15-rebs.jpg

We've known for a while that the UConn women will take on Notre Dame at the Jimmy V classic this December, now we know when they will play.

The Huskies will square off against the Fighting Irish at 5:15 p.m. on December 5 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.

It is the second straight year the two teams will meet in the game named for former coach and ESPN analyst Jim Valvano, who died of brain cancer in 1993.

The game is part of ESPN's weeklong event to bring awareness to cancer research and to raise money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

UConn has participated in the last four Jimmy V Classics and this will be their eighth overall appearance.

<![CDATA[UConn Celebrates First Night 2015]]> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 17:39:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Uconn+first+night+web.jpg

First Night has become a tradition for UConn basketball fans.

Every year the university hosts festivities to get the fans pumped up for the coming season. This year, the UConn programs urged people to wear glow in the dark clothing for its Glow in the Dark theme. The first 8,000 fans received glow in the dark sunglasses.

Freshman Tristan Marino was happy to show his stuff.

"I have some Nike glow-in-the-dark shorts and I got a neon tank top so trying to follow the instructions and see where it goes," he said.

Where it goes is inside Gampel Pavilion, where a UConn-East Carolina women's volleyball match held the court in the afternoon. At 7:30 p.m. a co-ed scrimmage, Team Geno versus Team Kevin, begins.

Many of the students staying outside the doors lined up for their first First Night.

Sarah Anderson, UConn freshman, said, "I came to UConn because they have a really good science program and I absolutely love that and I love all the sports that they have too."

Allison Tozzi, a UConn freshman who took a shot at a dunk tank set up to promote the Homecoming football game Saturday said, "I mean the campus is really big and having activities like this always happening is exactly why I came here."

Admission to First Night is free and the event is open to the public.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Says Newsome "On the Rise"]]> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:16:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco101515.jpg If UConn is to beat South Florida on Saturday, the Huskies need another great performance from Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome. Head coach Bob Diaco says Newsome's talents are on the rise.]]> <![CDATA[UConn Takes ConFLiCT Game, 40-13 Over UCF]]> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 10:40:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Rivalry or not, UConn's game with Central Florida on Saturday was more about snapping streaks and securing a road win instead of a trophy as the Huskies smashed the Knights 40-13 in an American Athletic Conference contest.

Bryant Shirreffs threw for 256 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score while Arkeel Newsome scored twice and the Huskies (3-3, 1-1) snapped a three-game losing streak with their highest offensive output of the season. UCF (0-6, 0-2) remained winless.

Shirreffs posted his fourth 200-yard passing game in his first six career starts despite being sacked five times. He also took advantage of the short field set up by UCF turnovers — three Huskies scoring drives started within the UCF 35.

Shirreffs generated two scores in the final 57 seconds of the first half, helping the Huskies turn a 9-3 lead into a 23-3 advantage. Shirreffs made it 16-3 when he plowed in on a 1-yard keeper two plays after Jhavon Williams' 19-yard interception put the ball on the UCF 9, then, after an Obi Melifonwu interception, Shirreffs connected with Noel Thomas for a 16-yard touchdown with 49 seconds remaining.

During the offseason, UConn coach Bob Diaco attempted to upgrade this series where the teams have only met twice, into a full-fledged rivalry, even creating a trophy that sat on the Huskies' sidelines. UCF wanted no part of the rivalry, saying its official rivalry is with nearby South Florida.

Afterward, Diaco was just pleased to get his first road win of the season. It was UConn's first win since 2013.

"We kept tapping at the rock and eventually, it's going to crack," Diaco said. "I feel like we were able to get all three phases of our game playing together for four quarters. It's great to get back to a winning way."

While UConn had everything going, the struggles of the injury-riddled UCF offense kept any sort of rivalry from developing.

After a 73-yard opening drive that produced Matthew Knight's 19-yard field goal, the Knights, who entered the game ranked 127th in the nation in total offense, managed just 53 total yards in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Justin Holman, who was released by doctors last week after breaking a finger on his throwing hand against Stanford, was picked off three times and had numerous passes dropped, while the UCF running game managed just 60 yards.

"We just have a lot of kids out there who aren't ready yet," said UCF coach George O'Leary. "Too many easy scores, too many dumb mistakes. Not a good game."

Meanwhile, a Huskie offense that was averaging just under 16 points a game was rolling.

Ron Johnson and Newsome (84 yards on 13 carries) scored in the third quarter to extend the Huskies lead to 40-3. Newsome's touchdown was set up when Ellis Marder recovered a fumbled punt return on the UCF 16.

UCF's struggles were best showcased after Newsome's 5-yard touchdown gave UConn a 7-3 lead with 6:02 remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, UCF returner Hayden Jones ran one yard out of the end zone, then stepped back into the end zone and took a knee, resulting in a safety.

Holman finished 27 of 50 for 255 yards with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Nick Patti with 1:38 remaining.

"I don't know how many balls he (Holman) had dropped on him, but at least five or six were big potential plays," O'Leary said. "Those are what stall drives. He would have a really nice day otherwise."

Patti had a game-high six receptions for 58 yards for the Knights.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Randy Edsall Out as Head Football Coach at University of Maryland]]> Sun, 11 Oct 2015 13:24:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/492204368.jpg

The University of Maryland has fired head football coach Randy Edsall, according to the Diamondback.

Edsall left his post as head coach of the UConn football team in 2011 to take what his self-proclaimed dream job as coach of the University of Maryland football team.

Rumors had been circulating over the past week about his removal as head coach of the Terrapins. Maryland lost to number one Ohio State on Saturday, and Edsall walked out of a post-game press conference after a question.

The Diamondback said Edsall is still owed more than $2.6 million. Assistant head coach Lyndon Johnson was also fired.

The paper said offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was named interim head coach. Locksley was a head coach at New Mexico for two season.

Edsall was 22-34 at Maryland and 0-12 against Top 25 opponents, according to the paper. The team was 2-3, with all three losses by 21 points or more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Talks ConFLiCT]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:51:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco100615__483095.jpg UConn head coach Bob Diaco talks about the ConFLiCT game with UCF this weekend and the trophy he created to try and start a rivalry.]]> <![CDATA[BYU Overcomes 3 Turnovers to Beat UConn 30-13 ]]> Sat, 03 Oct 2015 10:28:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Tanner Mangum was 35 of 53 for 365 yards and connected with Mitch Mathews for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help BYU beat UConn 30-13 on Friday night.

BYU led 13-10 when Bronson Kaufusi intercepted Bryant Shirreffs' pass under pressure. On the Cougars' next play, Mangum found Mathews for a 20-10 lead. UConn answered with a field goal, but BYU recovered the onside kick and, six plays later, Mathews scored again.

BYU turned it over three times but outgained UConn 539 to 230.

Mathews finished with eight catches for 78 yards for BYU (3-2). Terenn Houk added 129 receiving yards and Mitchell Juergens had 10 catches.

Francis Bernard powered in a short touchdown run on the first possession of the game. UConn tied it late in the first half on Shirreffs' play-action pass to Arkeel Newsome for 30 yards.

Shirreffs had one touchdown and two interceptions for UConn (2-3).

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Discusses Toughness of BYU]]> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 16:19:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diacoonbyu.jpg UConn head coach talks about the Huskies' next opponent, a road game at BYU.]]> <![CDATA[Diaco Wants "Do-Over" on Fake Field Goal Call]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:14:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco092115.jpg UConn head coach Bob Diaco was asked if he would still try a fake field goal against Missouri at the end of the game if he was granted a "do-over".]]> <![CDATA[Missouri Tigers Defeat UConn Huskies]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2015 11:40:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+misouri+football.jpg

Safety Anthony Sherrils' first career interception came at the right time for No. 22 Missouri.

With just under a minute left, Sherrils picked off a pass by Huskies backup quarterback Tim Boyle on a fourth-down, fake field goal attempt that sealed the Tigers' 9-6 win over UConn on Saturday.

"Anthony made a great play," coach Gary Pinkel said. "He has been doing really well. He is an extraordinary athlete that has great speed and acceleration."

Sherrils said the defense expected a fake.

"We were anticipating it," Sherrils said. "We backed up off the line to get a good look at it. The tight end released, and I knew it was a fake."

Sherrils returned the interception 50 yards and also forced and recovered a fumble with 4:26 left in the first half for Missouri (3-0).

"Every week is a week that I look to make a play," Sherrils said. "This week was my week, I guess. It feels good."

UConn, which fell to 2-1, struggled on third down, converting just two of 13 attempts.

"Credit to Missouri and their staff and their players for fighting hard for four quarters," UConn coach Bob Diaco said. "A game like that, it is one play. One play and it's in overtime. One play and it's a win."

UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was 17 of 26 for 156 yards, and ran 14 times for 29 yards. The Huskies were 1 of 3 on fourth-down plays, converting on a 13-yard run by Justin Wain off a fake punt.

Missouri took a 2-0 lead in first-quarter on a safety after Clarence Greene blocked a punt that went out of the end zone.

"It just felt good to put points on the board," Green said. "We haven't had a block on a punt in a while, so me and Brandon Lee said 'we're going to have to get one today.'"

After UConn scored a touchdown to take the lead later in the period, linebacker Kentrell Brothers blocked the extra point.

Charles Harris added three tackles for Missouri, including two for loss and a sack.

Maty Mauk completed 14 of 22 passes for 145 yards and an interception. His 2-yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter gave the Tigers the lead for good.

Ish Witter made his first career start for Missouri in place of the injured Russell Hansbrough, and carried the 17 times for 54 yards.

Brothers came into the game as the nation's leading tackler and added 10 more to his total. Charles Harris added three tackles for Missouri, including two for loss and a sack.

Missouri was a heavy favorite entering the game, but struggled to move the ball into scoring position.

Mauk said it is a matter of finishing drives.

"We can't come out sluggish," Mauk said. "You can drive all you want and put up yards, but if you're not scoring points, that's what it comes down to."

Missouri opens its Southeastern Conference schedule against Kentucky on Sept. 26 in Lexington.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Gearing Up For First Road Trip]]> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 17:14:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco091515.jpg UConn football head coach Bob Diaco discusses the Huskies preparing for first road game of the year against nationally ranked Missouri.]]> <![CDATA[Obama Honors UConn Women for 2015 Title]]> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 14:11:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/obamaUconn-AP_402871906632.jpg

President Barack Obama says the University of Connecticut women's basketball team is "certified to provide White House tours" because of their frequent wins and visits to the executive mansion.

Obama honored the team Tuesday for their third straight national title. The UConn women won the 2015 NCAA championship in April with a 63-53 win over Notre Dame. It is the program's 10th title.

Obama also noted the team's work in the Hartford community, including Thanksgiving and winter food drives, Christmas parties for terminally ill children, basketball clinics and bike rides for children. 

Obama said the team serves as an example to young women, including his two daughters, because they are empowered when "they've got a whole bunch of people ahead of them who are doing great stuff."

The president's 2015 NCAA tournament bracket had UConn winning the whole thing and he called Coach Geno Auriemma to congratulate him the day after the winn and welcome the team back to Washington, DC.

Today's trip was be at least the 10th White House visit for UConn's women's basketball program.

The visit is a tradition President Obama started to honor sports teams "for their efforts to give back to their communities," according to a news release from the White House.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Says Army Defense is Tough]]> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 10:07:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Diaco_Says_Army_Defense_is_Tough_1200x675_523220035731.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Diaco Says Shirreffs is a Great Teammate]]> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:16:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bobdiaco090915.jpg UConn head football coach talks about all the great attributes that QB Bryant Shirreffs has to offer to the team.]]> <![CDATA[Behind the Scenes of UConn Football]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:08:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Behind_the_Scenes_of_UConn_Football_1200x675_518776387568.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[UConn Ready to Take on Villanova]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:54:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

UConn hosts Villanova on Thursday in a season-opening game that was originally envisioned as a battle of conference rivals.

It was scheduled back when Villanova was contemplating a football upgrade and the Big East was a major football conference.

The breakup of the Big East left Villanova in the FCS and UConn without a home in a power conference.

The Huskies have not had a winning season since 2010 and won just two games in 2014, including a 19-16 victory over their only FCS opponent, Stony Brook.

Bob Diaco has described his first season as head coach in construction terms, saying his staff had to do a lot of tearing down before laying a new foundation for winning.

"We've put on another coat of paint, and it's one that will last," Diaco said. "It's all being done the right way. It's all being built to last."

Villanova was 11-3 a year ago and comes in as one of the top-ranked teams in the championship subdivision. The Wildcats are led by dual-threat quarterback John Robertson, who won the Walter Peyton award as the top offensive player in the FCS. He threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for 1,078 yards and 11 TDs in 2014.

Here are some things to watch for in the season opener between UConn and Villanova:


UConn has its own dual-threat quarterback in North Carolina State transfer Bryant Shirreffs, who will make his first start for the Huskies. Diaco describes him as an intelligent, strong player with good quickness and speed. Shirreffs takes over an offense that was one of the worst in the FBS last season, averaging just over 15 points a game.


Villanova's defense is led by a Connecticut product. Linebacker Don Cherry, who went to Trumbull High School, was named the Colonial Athletic Association's preseason defensive player of the year. He led the Wildcats last year with 134 tackles, including 21 1/2 for a loss.


The Huskies have five freshmen or redshirt freshmen listed on the team's offensive two-deep depth chart and just one senior — guard Tyler Samra. "More veteran players that are grizzled, that have this great depth of understanding of their jobs is always better, but you can't have everything," Diaco said.


Villanova starting right tackle Jake Prus will play against UConn, but then miss the next three games as he donates bone marrow. The junior added his name to the national registry as a freshman and was notified this spring he was a match for someone in need of a transplant. The donation was postponed this summer, because that patient was too sick at the time to receive the cells. He's expected back in mid-October.


Villanova will be meeting the Huskies for the 14th time. Twelve of those meetings came between 1987 and 1999, when the teams were both members of the Yankee Conference or the Atlantic 10 football conference. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 9-4.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Names Starting QB]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco083115.jpg UConn head coach Bob Diaco names Bryant Shirreffs the Huskies' starting quarterback for their opening game of the season against Villanova.]]> <![CDATA[Diaco Defends National Championship Comment]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:01:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/diaco080615.jpg UConn head coach Bob Diaco defended his comments at AAC Media Day about the Huskies not losing a game and winning the national championship.]]> <![CDATA[New Name for Rentschler Field]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:30:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pratt+whitney+stadium+at+rentschler+field.jpg

Rentschler Field is getting a new name.

The East Hartford facility will now be known as the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. It will open under its new name Sept. 3, when the University of Connecticut takes on Villanova.

The announcement came Thursday, on the 86th anniversary of the aircraft engine manufacturer's East Hartford groundbreaking.

"Today, we're here to begin the next chapter of our company's history in East Hartford," said Tom Prete, vice president of engineering at Pratt & Whitney. "Our new headquarters and engineering building will be a catalyst to propel Pratt & Whitney into its next 90 years and beyond."

The new stadium will display both the Pratt & Whitney eagle and the UConn Husky.

United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney's parent company, will donate 10 acres to the stadium for parking and will also provide an easement for an additional 15 acres for parking.

UConn President Susan Herbst said the agreement highlights a bond between the two entities that continues to develop whenever a UTC company hires a UConn graduate.

"It was important to UConn that the name have resonance and significance for our community and for the people of the state, and that's what we're to announce today," Herbst said Thursday. "The naming of Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field reflects a genuine and long-established partnership between two great Connecticut institutions."

UTC will have naming rights to the stadium through 2030.

Photo Credit: United Technologies]]>
<![CDATA[Ollie Calls Team 'Talented Group']]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:12:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

Kevin Ollie spoke to reporters last week about the 2015-16 Huskies team and he called it "a talented group," according to the New Haven Register.

Hardly surprising, we know. Every coach, at least publicly, will offer a similar refrain this time of year, but you get the sense Ollie really does feel good about the roster, especially with the addition of three veteran transfers that provide some much-needed experience.

Speaking of which, Shonn Miller, in Ollie's eyes, is "rebounding magnet ... very cerebral, able to pick up on things quickly," while Sterling Gibbs is "just a basketball player. He plays at a pace you can't get him out of, which is something I love."

"He's not a Ricky Moore, as far as pushing the ball. But he's also a very smart player throwing the ball ahead."

As for the veterans currently on the roster, Ollie had this to say about junior Amida Brimah: "[He needs to] eliminate some of those foolish mistakes that he did. Some of them were trying to take charges, or illegal screens 35 feet from the basket ... It happens, but I think it happened too much for him. Freshman, sophomore year, I'll lay off, but junior year, you've got to eliminate some of those mistakes and stay on the court. I think he's heard that a lot from me, he's aggravated from me saying that -- which is a good thing."

Then there are Terrence Samuel and Rakim Lubin, who transferred this offseason.

"Sooner or later, it's gonna happen," Ollie said. "They felt they had a better situation playing a little more in another program."

"I thought Terrence played a lot of minutes. I stuck with him, but he stuck with me, too. He allowed us to win a championship. He played a pivotal role. You hate to see him go, because that team was something special to me. Not because we won the national championship, but that year prior, to stick by me in the lean times, I've got a special place in my heart for that team."

Oh, and there's the third transfer, Terry Larrier, who will sit out the upcoming season but be eligible for 2016-17.

"Wow. Ooooooh, he is so good," Ollie said. "Man, he is fantastic. He's long, he's athletic, he can shoot the ball, runs the court, great person to be around. His teammates love him."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>