<![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 Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:39:50 -0400 Thu, 08 Oct 2015 19:39:50 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Diaco Talks ConFLiCT]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:51:43 -0400 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 11:28:39 -0400 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 17:19:29 -0400 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 11:14:39 -0400 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 12:40:25 -0400 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 18:14:45 -0400 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 15:11:33 -0400 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 11:07:26 -0400 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 16:16:07 -0400 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 15:08:20 -0400 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 15:54:24 -0400 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 17:28:38 -0400 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 16:01:57 -0400 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 18:30:37 -0400 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 10:12:35 -0400 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]]>
<![CDATA[Ryan Boatright Goes Undrafted by NBA Teams]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 09:37:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP156461816029.jpg

UConn has a history of producing great point guards, and recent history have seen them go in the first round of the NBA Draft. That trend changed on Thursday when Ryan Boatright, who followed in the footsteps of Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier in Storrs, didn't hear his name called at the 2015 NBA Draft.

The development wasn't a huge surprise; unlike Walker, a national player of the year candidate, and Napier, the Huskies' most valuable player during their title run in 2013-14, Boatright was always considered undersized by NBA standards. That doesn't mean his professional dreams are crushed, he'll just have to find another onto an NBA roster.

"I haven't gotten any promises," Boatright told the Chicago Tribune days before the draft. "… I just hope I can get into a good situation, where I've got a chance to play, whether it's by being drafted or signed [as a free agent]."

Next up: Boatright will show what he can do during the NBA summer leagues, which is what an anonymous scout said might happen in the days leading up to the draft.

"I think the prospects of second round are less than 50-50, but there’s a chance of him getting drafted," the scout told the New Haven Register's David Borges. "Even if he doesn’t, for sure he’ll be invited to summer league camps and get a strong look from multiple teams. He’ll be sought after." More details via the Hartford Courant:

[Boatright] could [also] spend time in the Developmental League, which even many first-round draft picks do, or play overseas, which can be very lucrative. His close friend and former UConn teammate, DeAndre Daniels, was picked in the second round, 37th, by the Raptors last year, and after playing in the summer league, he spent the season playing in Australia, while Toronto retained his NBA rights.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to make a lot of money playing basketball," Boatright told the Tribune. "My main goal and hope is to play in the NBA. I don't question myself or doubt my ability."

Other notable players who were on the bubble and ultimately didn't get drafted include Cliff Alexander, Christian Wood, Jonathan Holmes, Aaron Harrison and Chris Walker.

<![CDATA[Auriemma Talks Transfers]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:53:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-nat-champs.jpg

Kevin Ollie's Huskies have welcomed three transfers to the program this spring, and Geno Auriemma's team has Natalie Butler, the former Big East Freshman of the Year from Georgetown, set to take the court this fall.

There has been a run across the game on players leaving their original college teams for playing time elsewhere -- Brianna Banks and Sadie Edwards departed UConn for playing time elsewhere -- and Auriemma knows that even the three-time defending national champs aren't immune.

“I’m sure we’re as susceptible as anyone else,” he said Monday, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “That’s why I laugh when people talk about the kids who have transferred from our place like it’s the end of the world. I don’t begrudge anybody if they go to another school and say, ‘Hey look, I made a mistake.’ That’s not a negative. We make mistakes in recruiting. Kids make mistakes in picking schools.

“What has happened is we have a little bit more access to these kids earlier. One of the results of that is that kids commit earlier, and maybe the coaches and the players haven’t gotten a chance to know each other very well during the recruiting process. And maybe some promises were made along the way, and then you can’t deliver on those promises. Then it all kind of comes to a head. I’m not there so I don’t know.”

And that's the thing: When you're the best program in the nation, naturally you attract the best players -- none of whom are not accustomed to sitting on the bench. So when they get to college, and everyone is just as good as they are it can be a shock -- especially if it cuts into their playing time. Still, Auriemma's ability to retain players has been good during his tenure.

“I’m proud of the fact that in the 30 years that we have been doing this, very, very, very few kids that start and play 30 minutes decide that this isn’t the place for them,” Auriemma said. “I’m kind of crossing my fingers and hoping that trend continues.”

The old saying, "winning fixes everything" certainly doesn't hurt.

<![CDATA[UConn Lands Recruit No. 3, DB Eddie Hahn]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:50:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

Commitments seem to come in bunches, and certainly holds this recruiting season. The Huskies landed two high school players for the 2016 class last week -- quarterback Donovan Williams and wide receiver Keyion Dixon -- and got a third when defensive back Eddie Hahn announced Wednesday that he had committed to UConn.

Hahn, a 3-star recruit according to Rivals.com, played quarterback and safety at Red Bank Catholic High School in New Jersey. His relationship with coach Bob Diaco dates back to Diaco's time as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator.

"Coach Diaco recruited (former teammate) Quentin Nelson when he was at Notre Dame," Hahn told Scout.com before he committed to UConn. "So he was here for a long time recruiting Quentin, and I was able to get a good relationship then and just be able to say 'Hi' and talk football."

Hahn, who had offers from Buffalo and NC State, called Diaco "One of the most honest coaches that has recruited me." That's a great sign for a team in desperate need of good players as Diaco tries to refashion them into a legit FBS program.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Samuelson Ready to Work Hard for Huskies]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:59:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Katie+Lou+Samuelson.jpg

Katie Lou Samuelson could be the next great player to make her way through UConn. Recently, there's been Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart, who enters her senior season, and Samuelson is the next logical choice to carry that torch.

The freshman is already in Storrs for her first summer sessions and, of course, a little basketball.

“It’s a big advantage being here now just to get to know the campus, take some classes, and do workouts,” Samuelson told SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “You figure out how to balance all that. There’s going to be a lot more going on during preseason this fall, so to do a little bit now will help a lot.

“I’m on the bottom of the totem pole as a freshman coming in. I knew that from the beginning that nothing’s handed to me and I’ve got to work for everything. I’m just trying to learn from all the older girls and just really get to know them and get to know how they play.”

In theory, sure, Samuelson's at the end of the proverbial bench, but the reality is that she'll have a chance to contribute in her first season; Stewart, who struggled early as a freshmen, came on strong during the Huskies' title run three years ago. And Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who graduated last month, also provided valuable minutes during her first season in Storrs. And then there's Kia Nurse, now a sophomore, who started 36 games last year.

Of course, none of this is lost on coach Geno Auriemma.

“Katie Lou has a lot of advantages that a lot of other kids don’t have that are great shooters,” he said said. “She’s 6-3 and then she’s got a quick release and she’s a smart basketball player. And she has a huge advantage of being really, really well coached in high school. Those guys, like Napheesa (Collins) was and Katie Lou was, can compete immediately at the college level. The kids that didn’t have really good coaching in high school are the ones who struggle the most. Tina Charles had great coaching. Sue Bird had great coaching in high school. You see some of these kids that come out … If they have the right background, the right make-up mentally, and they’ve got the talent and the heart, anything’s possible.”

Samuelson joins a stacked freshman class that includes the aforementioned Collins and De’Janae Boykin. There's also Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Hoopher]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Announce 13-Game Non-Conference Schedule]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:28:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

The men's basketball team released its non-conference schedule on Tuesday and Kevin Ollie's Huskies will play 13 games, including the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament and renewing an old Big East rivalry with Georgetown.

Here's the complete schedule, via the school's website:

UConn 2015-16 Non-Conference Schedule

  • Sun., Nov. 1 Tampa (exhibition)
  • Sat., Nov. 7 New Haven (exhibition)
  • Fri., Nov. 13 Maine
  • Tues., Nov. 17 New Hampshire
  • Sat., Nov. 21 Furman
  • Wed., Nov. 25 at Battle 4 Atlantis
  • Thurs., Nov. 26 at Battle 4 Atlantis
  • Fri., Nov. 27 at Battle 4 Atlantis
  • Wed., Dec. 2 Sacred Heart
  • Tues., Dec. 8 vs. Maryland (MSG)
  • Sat., Dec. 12 Ohio State
  • Sun., Dec. 20 UMass-Lowell
  • Wed., Dec. 23 Central Connecticut
  • Tues., Dec. 29 at Texas
  • Sat., Jan. 23 Georgetown

The Huskies will spend Thanksgiving on Paradise Island, The Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis tourney, and will face Maryland at Madison Square Garden 11 days later. There are also matchups against traditional Division I powerhouses Ohio State, Texas and Georgetown.

The American Athletic Conference schedule will be released later this summer. The Huskies will have home-and-home matchups against UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulane, and Tulsa, and one game each against East Carolina (only at home) and USF (only on the road).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boatright Facing Long Odds to Get Drafted]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:29:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP803544363154.jpg

A year ago, the talk was about how high Shabazz Napier would go in the NBA Draft. He eventually was a late first-round pick, taken by the Miami Heat. In the days leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft, no one is talking about Napier's former UConn backcourt mate in similar tones. Ryan Boatright was an outstanding college playmaker and a huge part of the fleeting success the Huskies had last season.

But it's unclear if Boatright, who almost left school early for the NBA last summer, will be drafted at all.

The New Haven Register's David Borges spoke to three NBA scouts in recent days to get their assessment on the undersized Boatright.

"I think the prospects of second round are less than 50-50, but there’s a chance of him getting drafted," one scout told Borges. "Even if he doesn’t, for sure he’ll be invited to summer league camps and get a strong look from multiple teams. He’ll be sought after."

Another scout was more optimistic about Boatright's chances.

"I wouldn’t be shocked if he went somewhere in the second half of the second round ... He's a tough guy, he competes ... Good kid, works hard, got a pretty good resume."

And a third scout was even more convinced Boatright will hear his name called during draft night -- though he'll have to wait a while.

"I think he's gonna be taken in the second round," he said. "He’s a tough guy. His size is against him, but he’s got plenty of fight and aggressiveness. Anyone who’s seen him in big games, he comes to play, always competes. Tremendous competitor."

Being 5-11 and 170 pounds is nothing new for Boatright, and neither is having to outwork everyone for the same chance.

"When you're this size, all you have to have is a lot of heart," Boatright said back in May. "You have heart and pride and have understanding of the game of basketball, and you'll be all right."

<![CDATA[UConn Lands First 2016 Commit, QB Donovan Williams]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:27:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+rentschler_722_406.jpg

The Huskies landed their first commitment for the class of 2016: Donovan Williams, a 6-4, 205-pound quarterback out of Woodbridge, Va.

Williams had orally committed to James Madison last month, and he also has a scholarship from Fordham. At UConn he'll join a wide-open quarterback race, though there may be more certainty at the position in a year's time, when Williams will join the competition. Currently, Tim Boyle, sophomore transfer Bryant Shirreffs and true freshman Tyler Davis are battling for snaps, and next summer Williams and JUCO transfer Garrett Anderson will join them.

During his junior season at Hylton High School, Williams passed for 1,015 yards, rushed for 718 more and scored 18 touchdowns.

If it seems late for an FBS program to get its first commitment for '16 -- it is. But that's by design; the Huskies will be selective, targeting only 13 recruits, which is half of the allowable 25. SNY.com's John Silver writes that many of the Huskies' targets will take part in the upcoming one-day football clinics.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[WR Keyion Dixon Is Huskies' Second Football Commit]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:25:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Coach Bob Diaco and the UConn football program will only target 13 or so commitments for the 2016 class (the maximum allowed is 25) and they landed their first two in recent days. Keyion Dixon, a wide receiver from Glastonbury, CT became the latest, joining quarterback Donovan Williams (Woodbridge, VA).

Dixon is listed at 6-2, 180 pounds, and also plays defensive back and quarterback but projects as a wideout at UConn. According to the Hartford Courant, Dixon led Glastonbury to the Class LL-Large semifinals, where he opened the game with a 22-yard touchdown run and finished with 87 rushing yards in the loss to Southington.

Dixon, who attended UConn's one-day football camp earlier in the week, also had scholarship offers from Temple and UMass.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Near Consensus on New Rules for Women's Game]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:13:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

Last week, the NCAA announced that it will move from two 20-minute halves to four quarters in the women's game beginning in the fall. And UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who has been a champion for change for some times, couldn't be happier.

"What a great step forward for our game," he said, via the Hartford Courant. "As the game becomes more global, each year it's important that we start the process toward standardizing the rules. This is just the beginning of what I hope are many other changes to improve this great game."

The expectation, according to the NCAA, is that it will enhance the flow of the game.

"Players that possess a high IQ for the game will rise to the forefront," said former LSU coach Pokey Chatman, now with the Chicago Sky. "And the pace of the game will change and coaches will be able to implement much more strategy. We [the United States] are the world leaders of the game and it's nice to see how this all was thought out. It all makes the game world-wide and gets college players better prepared for the next level, while basically staying true to the game."

Another change to be introduced in the fall: teams will reach the double bonus on the fifth foul in each quarter. However, team fouls reset at the start of each quarter.

"I'm curious to see if this will result in any new defensive strategies for coaches," UConn Radio Network analyst and former UConn guard Debbie Fiske told the Courant. "Maybe you will be able to press more, play more aggressively defensively until you see your team is nearly at the limit."

Fiske continued: "And then you can put the pressure back on again because you've essentially been wiped clean of the previous fouls. I don't see UConn being heavily impacted by this simply because it hardly ever fouls. But other teams might feel differently about how they play, especially if they have a deep bench and the confidence to use their fouls over the entire game."

We'll certainly get a better idea just how beneficial these new rules are for upper-echelon teams like the Huskies once the season starts.

<![CDATA[Kia Nurse Playing With Team Canada This Summer]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 11:03:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP914164763915.jpg

Guard Kia Nurse had a solid freshman season for the Huskies and like the rest of her teammates, she'll spend the summer getting better. Unlike the rest of her teammates, however, she'll do it in her native Canada, where she plays for the national team.

In fact, she'll represent her country in the Pan-American Games next month at the FIBA Americas Championships.

“This is a chance for us to show people in Canada how much we’ve raised our level of play,” Nurse told SNY.com's Carl Adamec last week. “With the World Cup soccer in Edmonton, the Pan-American Games in Toronto, and our Olympic qualifier in Edmonton, it’s a very exciting time.”

Eight countries will play in the games -- Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the United States in Group A; Argentina, Canada, Cuba, and Venezuela in Group B -- and Nurse's UConn teammates Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson will play for Team USA.

Earlier this month, Nurse and Team Canada wrapped up a six-game trip to Spain and France.

“The trip to Europe was really good for us and it gave us some great experience,” Nurse said. “It was what we needed at this point as we get ready for the Pan-American Games. We played against some top teams, it was an opportunity to play together and bond, and we got better as a team. It was a win-win-win situation.”

The team went 4-2 and Nurse averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. And this experience will only make her a better player once the college basketball season returns. After earning 2015 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors, Nurse met with coach Geno Auriemma about what she needs to work on over the summer.

“It’s a little different when you’re involved with the national team,” she said. “But there are things that I work on every day. I take some time for myself and I can see myself making strides.”

The Huskies will begin the season as defending champions (again) with eyes on a fourth-straight title. Nurse will have a lot to do with just how far this team goes in 2015-16.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Talks 2015 UConn Team]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 11:15:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

UConn's second annual football program for women took place on Friday night and with more than 200 participants it was again a sellout. University president Susan Herbst, Women's basketball senior administrator Deb Corum and UConn board of trustees member Andrea Dennis-Lavigne were among those to participate.

"It is a great turnout, everybody is full of energy," second-year football coach Bob Diaco said, via the New Haven Register. "Everybody is on fire, the players are jacked up and the participants are excited.

"I think one thing that is really cool is that when you do things like this, you see people and they are so excited, it can't help but make what you are doing really mean something, what you are doing is really important to people. There is a lot of interest and there is a lot of support especially when it has been lean, there is still this incredible collection of people who are on fire for the athletics, the university, it is fun."

Diaco was also asked about the state of the program, which he took over in December 2013. The Huskies are coming off a two-win season and obviously would like to improve on that mark this season. But Diaco, who is trying to instill a culture of winning insists that he's not weeding out players from the previous regime to reach those goals.

"I don't feel like I did that," Diaco told the Register. "I really don't. I didn't do that, there was some natural circumstances that didn't fit but I didn't intend to do that, I don't intend to do that, it is not what I am about so I can't even go down that road. That speaks to intent and I didn't intend to ever do that."

One player who is no longer part of the program: tight end Sean McQuillan, who faces assault charges after an April arrest involving his roommate.

“Sean will be a graduate of the university and move on,” Diaco said, adding: “[We are] absolutely disappointed. I wish him well and he will do well."

McQuillan would have been a team captain this season.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Report: UConn to Play Nebraska in 2015]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 10:31:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

The three-time defending champion UConn Huskies will host Nebraska next season in Lincoln with the Cornhuskers returning the favor in 2016, according to HuskersToday.com, which reported that Nebraska coach Connie Yori released the news on Wednesday.

According to Yori, this two-game series was a request from the Huskies. UConn played in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and Elite Eight game in Lincoln in 2014 that apparently left enough of an impression on Huskies’ coach Geno Auriemma that he’s willing to come back.

After the win in the Elite Eight, he took the microphone to thank the City of Lincoln and the University of Nebraska for an “incredible experience.” Auriemma also mentioned how he had been told how amazing the facilities and the people were and that if he had anything to do with it, he and the team would be back.

Yori indicated the same thing during an interview about the two-game series. She felt Auriemma and the UConn administration walked away from Lincoln impressed with the support shown by the fans.

Also not hurting: The Huskers draw a crowd during the regular season where they averaged 5,857 per game last season, good for 11th nationally. (UConn was No. 6 with 8,216 per game.)

 The UConn-Nebraska game is slated for November though a date and time have yet to be determined. The teams have faced off just once previously, back in 1997, with the Huskies winning 71-61.

<![CDATA[Diaco Embraces Contrived 'Civil Conflict' Rivalry]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 09:44:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bob+diaco+uconn+pumped.jpg

The UConn football program drew criticism last week for it's contrived "Civil Conflict" matchup against University of Central Florida next season. Among other things, there is no historical or geographical rivalry between the two teams, and not only that, UCF says it wasn't even informed of said contrived matchup.

On Monday, second-year UConn coach Bob Diaco explained that not only was the rivalry his idea, he has no plans to give up on it.

“Why do I have to call their athletic department to say we’ve got them targeted as our rival, period,” Diaco said on a Monday morning conference call, via the Associated Press. “What control over that would they have and what do I care what they think? … If they don’t want to honor our rivalry, we’re not their rival, that’s on them. I don’t control what they want. If they don’t want to be a part of the trophy, I don’t care about that, either. They don’t like the logo … the logo is a university logo. And I took the logo off our marketing.”

Last week, UCF coach George O'Leary expressed the same confusion as many fans.

"My experience is you're more likely to have a rivalry against a team closer to where you live," he said. "When you go 10 states away, I think it's hard."

A UConn spokesperson explained that "Civil Conflict" was chosen because UCF is one of the most southern AAC teams while the Huskies are the most northern. Whatever the reason, Diaco likes it.

"For us it's exciting and I think it's fun," he said. "If you embrace it, you embrace it. If you don't, you don't. There was nothing before, so if you don't embrace it there would still be nothing. And if you do, even a little bit, it's more energetic and exciting."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[NCAA Adopts 4 Quarters for Women's Game]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 09:41:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP993505883306.jpg

When the UConn women take the floor next season they will play four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, which initially recommended the rule change, believes the four-quarter format will enhance the flow of the game. The change also was endorsed by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors.

Huskies coach Geno Auriemma fully embraces the change. Here's what he said last month when the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee proposed and recommended the move to four quarters.

“What a great step forward for our game,” he said in a statement. “As the game becomes more global each year, it’s important that we start the process toward standardizing the rules. This is just the beginning of what I hope are many other changes to improve this great game.”

And here's what Michael Shafer, chair of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee and women’s basketball coach at the University of Richmond, said at the time about how the change would improve the game.

“The rules committee is very excited about the change to the four-quarter format for the 2015-16 season,”Shafer said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “We believe this change, along with the associated changes to the timeout and foul rules, will address flow of the game and physicality. The overall format will strengthen the connection of college basketball with women’s basketball globally.”

Other changes in the women's game:

* Teams will reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth team foul in each quarter. Previously, team's shot one-and-ones after the seventh team foul and two free throws after the 10th team foul in each half.

* Now "bands or amplified music" can be played during dead-ball situations "in an effort to improve the overall fan experience."

<![CDATA[TE McQuillan Appeals School Expulsion]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 09:22:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football+sean+mcquillan.jpg

Former UConn tight end Sean McQuillan, who was kicked off the team and expelled from school following an off-campus fight in April, is waiting for an appeal from the university regarding his expulsion.

“It is one of these evolving private situations between Sean, his family and the courts and the university,” UConn football coach Bob Diaco said to media Monday, via SNY.com's John Sliver. “I am clued in because they have tried to keep me in the loop but I am more clued into the university process because we are working together.

“We are in an appeals process with the school, he is not presently allowed to be a student right now. He is in an appeals process to see how that is going to move forward. That shouldn’t take too much longer.”

Silver adds that McQuillan will be in Rockville Superior Court on Tuesday to face charges on an alleged assault in May, and in addition to the university appeal, he'll have to contend with the felony assault charge.

On the field, the Huskies have Tommy Myers and Alec Bloom on the depth chart. Last season, McQuillan caught 16 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. In 2013, he had 25 receptions for 196 yards and a score.

<![CDATA[Point Guard Molly Bent Commits to UConn]]> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 10:51:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-nat-champs.jpg

The Huskies have won three straight national titles and their incoming freshman class is probably good enough to be ranked in the top 25. Given that success breeds success -- and coach Geno Auriemma certainly has a lot to do with that -- it only stands to reason that UConn's 2016 recruiting class has the makings of a formidable group.

The latest: Molly Bent committed to the program on Thursday, becoming the third player to do so after Crystal Dangerfield and forward Kyla Irwin.

The 5-9 point guard from Tabor Academy and Barnstable, Massachusetts made an official visit on Wednesday and apparently saw enough to make up her mind a short time later.

“That’s what I told them,” Bent told SNY.com's Carl Adamec on Friday. “From what they told me, one of the coaches was walking by and there was something that I did in my game that caught their eye. They watched a little bit and then (assistant coach) Shea Ralph got in touch with my AAU coach. I was so excited.

“I was on campus Wednesday and I loved every minute. I knew right away. It just felt like home. I loved the coaches and the players, the family atmosphere, and just the basketball culture. Academics are also very important to me so that’s something I wanted to check out.

“I got home and I decided to sleep on it. I talked to my family and then I told Coach Auriemma. Then today all my friends found out. I’m really, really happy.”

Bent will make her debut months after Moriah Jefferson has wrapped up her Huskies career, which could mean more playing time early.

I love to pass the ball and find the open players, I love to run and I love to compete,” Bent said. “I may not be the tallest or the quickest, or the most athletic, but I will compete. And I’ll knock down a shot when my team needs me to.”

Meanwhile, UConn's 2015 class includes Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier and De’Janae Boykin, who are all top-10 players. There's also Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.


Put differently: When Bent arrives on campus there's no reason to think the Huskies won't remain one of the best programs in the country.

<![CDATA[Calhoun Not a Fan of Transfer Rule]]> Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:28:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jim-calhoun-be-careful.jpg

UConn may have been the beneficiary of three transfer players in recent weeks but Hall of Famer and former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun doesn't think the ever-growing wave of transfers is good for college basketball.

"I'm not a transfer guy," Calhoun said Tuesday night, according to the New Haven Register. It's a different age, and everybody has to do it, I think. But honestly, overall -- it's got nothing to do with UConn or anybody right now -- it's got to do with the sport. I just don't know ... it's not great for the sport. One-and-done is not particularly great, but a kid comes, is great and leaves, it's understandable."

Calhoun's comments come days after he addressed concerns that the college game had become bogged down by physical play and low scoring.

"There are questions: Bringing the 3-point line out, widening the lane, putting the arc in there and, quite frankly, the one-and-done's and, at the other end, we've got to make sure that, if you transfer, you've got to sit out," Calhoun continued. "I think that would change a lot of people's mind about things. Yet, if I'm sitting in that seat today, and I'm thinking about the fact that I've got to fill roster spots, I've got to fill them. So, it's not UConn, it's not anybody. ...

"Our team might be close to 50 percent this year -- (Sam) Cassell, (Rodney) Purvis, the three other kids ... I will embrace those kids. I think I met the (Sterling) Gibbs kid when we were recruiting him, actually .I've met the (Shonn) Miller kid and (Terry) Larrier -- I'll welcome to the Husky family and hope that they're accepted well, and so on. But the more and more I get a chance to go different places nationally, it will affect the game."

But Calhoun made clear that he wasn't singling out the Huskies, but speaking in broader terms about the state of the game.

"I'm not mentioning Kevin (Ollie)," he said. "You take it that way, then it's Coach Calhoun is knocking UConn. Of course I"m not doing that. I said, if Jim Calhoun was sitting at this seat today, and recruiting hadn't gone quite as well as I wanted to and could get two fifth-year, all-league players? No-brainer."

Still, Calhoun thinks the men's game is strong.

"People are saying the game's in a mess. It isn't," he said over the weekend. "It's still being taken care of by great athletes. But there are still ways to improve our game. There are ways to speed it up and to open the floor up."

And, to hear Calhoun tell it, ways to clean up the transfer rule.

<![CDATA[UConn's 'Rivalry' With UCF Draws Criticism]]> Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:12:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

The UConn football team is taking some heat for its contrived rivalry with UCF and understandably so. The two schools are separated by 1,200 miles and little football history. And yet the Huskies' tweeted this out on Monday:

But the rivalry is so secretive that not even Central Florida knew about it (or at least wasn't willing to admit so publicly).

Of course, this led to the predictable backlash on Twitter and in the blogosphere, but there is an explanation (of sorts). SNY.com's John Silver explains:

"When UConn beat UCF — the team that won the Fiesta Bowl a year prior — [last] season UConn head coach Bob Diaco pitched an idea about a rivalry game to UCF coach George O’Leary, who was receptive to the idea. ...

"UConn and UCF’s athletic departments have had no discussions about making the game a rivalry game. UCF responded to a request for comment on Monday denying being a part of the game. UConn hasn’t approached UCF’s athletic department about an official rivalry game.

"The game also isn’t sanctioned by UConn’s communications or marketing departments. It was generated by Diaco and the football staff alone.

So, yes, this is clearly an attempt to manufacture some interest in what has been an otherwise lackluster college football experience. The best way to do that is by fielding a good team, which is Diaco's primary goal, but to also create interest where there previously wasn't any. The problem: It's hard to get hyped for a game between two middling FBS programs with nothing in common.

That said, whichever team is victorious in the "Civil Conflict" this fall will get a fancy trophy. So there's that.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Officially Welcomes 3 Transfers]]> Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:12:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

The Huskies made it official on Monday: transfers Shonn Miller, Sterling Gibbs and Terry Larrier will all play for UConn next season, which is welcome news for just about anyone with a rooting interest in a program that struggled at times during the 2014-15 season.

"We are excited to welcome the new student-athletes to our UConn family," coach Kevin Ollie said in a statement. "Along with being high quality players, they are young men of high character who also bring a level of maturity and experience with them. We are looking forward to having them with us as we head into the upcoming season."

The 6-7 Miller, who will be a graduate student for the 2015-16 season, previously played at Cornell, where he averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.

"Shonn's explosiveness and his versatility, being able to play multiple positions, will be a big factor for us," Ollie said. "He rebounded at a high rate last year in the Ivy League and we all think that can translate to any league. Plus, he has the shooting ability to be able to score from different areas of the court.

Gibbs, a 6-2 combo guard who played at Seton Hall, averaged 16.7 points per game last season to go along with 3.8 assists. He also led the Big East in three-point shooting percentage (45).

"Both Shonn and Sterling are coming in to improve, too, both defensively and offensively. Hopefully, we can add to the game they already have, give them hope and encouragement so they can play after they leave Storrs," Ollie said.

Then there's Larrier. In his only season with VCU, he averaged 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds and 18.5 minutes per game.

"Terry will add something that we talk about all the time -- versatility," Ollie continued. "It allows us to bring in a guy who will practice against our guys every day and be able simulate the length and athletic ability that they are going to see in real games.

"But we also want him to come in and not just look at it as a transitional year, but look at it as a year in which he will improve and then be ready to go when those curtains open in the 2016-17 season. I want him to look at leadership, being part of the team. Of course, he's not going to play in the games this year, but I want him to have the mindset that he's playing 35 minutes every night, so he'll get prepared for what's going to come when he gets his opportunity to step on the court in a Husky jersey on for the first time."

The three transfers will join a recruiting class that includes incoming freshman point guard Jalen Adams and big man Steven Enoch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Husky Signs With Alouettes]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:34:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+football_generic+shot.jpg

Defensive end Jesse Joseph last played for UConn during the 2013 season. He had a tryout with the Bears last summer, nothing came of it, and that appeared to be the end of his professional football dream.

Then last week, the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, who originally drafted Joseph in the third round of the 2013 draft, announced that they had signed him along with two other players, offensive lineman Jacob Ruby as well as linebacker Nicholas Shortill.

From the Alouettes' website:

Joseph (6'3", 262 lbs.) was drafted in the third round (21st overall) by the Alouettes in 2013 Canadian CFL Draft. He played 37 career-games in four seasons with the University of Connecticut Huskies, recording 118 tackles and 13 sacks. His most dominant performance came against North Carolina on September 8, 2012 where he picked-up eight tackles in a single game. He completed his senior year in 2013 with 40 tackles, including six for losses and a sack. The former Vanier Cheetah participated in the Chicago Bears rookie mini-camp in 2014.

Joseph is a Quebec native, and like former teammate, center Alex Mateas, he's now in the CFL. (One big difference: Mateas was the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft.) Then there's running back Lyle McCombs, who played with Joseph and Mateas at UConn before transferring to Rhode Island; he was signed last month by the Toronto Argonauts.

And now Joseph joins a Montreal team that includes another Husky: Teddy Jennings who, as the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller writes, "tore it up as a rookie in the Arena Football League recording 11 sacks in 15 games."

More from Fuller: "Veteran long snapper Martin Bedard gives the Alouettes three UConn grads on its current roster. By my count there are six former UConn standouts in camp with CFL teams as receiver Kashif Moore and running back Lyle McCombs are attempting to stick with the Toronto Argonauts and Alex Mateas was taken by Ottawa..."

Meanwhile, two players from the 2014 Huskies squad -- Byron Jones and Geremy Davis --  were taken in May's NFL Draft. Jones was a first-round pick of the Cowboys while Davis went in the sixth round to the Giants.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Calhoun Talks State of Game]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:06:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/53015+Jim+Calhoun+ride.jpg

Jim Calhoun may be 73 and three years removed from coaching the Huskies, but he's the same energetic outspoken coach that led the Huskies to three national titles during his quarter-century run. We again saw glimpses of that over the weekend at his annual Jim Calhoun Ride and Walk for Life Saving Research and Care fundraiser.

On the proposal to reduce the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds: "The rules will help. The lane has to be wider. We don't want the middle of the lane clogged," he said, via the Hartford Courant. "Basketball, all sports really, are like a good flower. You've got to fertilize it, you've got to water it, for it to grow. You've got to take care of it. Five years from now, we'll still be doing the same thing. I'm not sure what, but we'll be looking at different things [to change]," said Calhoun, who noted all pro sports have been evolving for decades. Forty years ago, there was [college] recruiting 365 days a year, and there was no shot clock."

On the importance of teaching his players the value of giving back: "I think what happens in life is that if you're fortunate enough to get a microphone [being in the public eye], whether you're a Ray Allen or a Scott Burrell, you are able to utilize any of our programs to help out. They all extend out to help others. What you get is people will listen to you. It's a true responsibility. The more you reach out to people, the more they reach out to you."

As for the contention that the college game has become bogged down in physical play and low scoring, Calhoun disagrees.

"People are saying the game's in a mess. It isn't," he said. "It's still being taken care of by great athletes. But there are still ways to improve our game. There are ways to speed it up and to open the floor up."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[VCU's Terry Larrier Transfers to UConn]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:00:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

It's not the conventional recruiting path, but adding transfer students has become an important roster-building tool for the Huskies in recent years. The latest: Former Virginia Commonwealth wing player Terry Larrier is headed to Storrs where he will be eligible for the 2016-17 season.

"It was my relationship with Kevin Ollie [that made the difference]," Larrier told Scout.com's Evan Daniels. "He recruited me in high school and our relationship is real good. He's just a good dude, a stand-up dude. We talk all the time. I think he's done a good job with the UConn program."

Coming out of high school, Larrier's choices were down to UConn and VCU, and after a year in Richmond -- and following coach Shaka Smart's departure to Texas -- Larrier is now joining the Huskies. In his only season with VCU, Larrier averaged 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds and 18.5 minutes per game. It's similar to the path Rodney Purvis took to becoming a Husky. Originally one of his finalists, Purvis enrolled at NC State over UConn only to transfer after his freshman season.

Larrier joins Mamadou Diarra in the Huskies' class of 2016. Diarra is a 6-8 power forward who committed to the program last week.

Larrier and Diarra will arrive in Storrs a year after Jalen Adams and Steve Enoch, who will be freshmen this fall. But the Huskies will only have transfers Shonn Miller and Sterling Gibbs for the '15-16 season, which means there will be plenty of scholarships available in 2016.

As for next season, which will be the Huskies' first without Ryan Boatright, Ollie said this to the Hartford Courant: "It's going to be interesting. A lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole, and I think a lot of hungry guys. Everybody felt bad Selection Sunday when our name wasn't called and took that pain into the offseason."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Men's Basketball Team Earn Perfect APR Scores]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 10:59:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-rim.jpg

It wasn't that long ago that the men's basketball team was banned from postseason play because of low APR scores. On Wednesday, the program was one of 12 university sports that posted perfect 1000 Academic Progress Rate scores during the 2013-14 academic year.

It was the second straight perfect score for Kevin Ollie's team. The women weren't far behind, posting an APR score of 975 to go along with a four-year score of 982.

"Our men's and women's basketball programs have shown the country that you can win multiple national championships and have outstanding academic success," Director of Athletics Warde Manuel said in a statement. "I want to commend head coaches Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma and their staffs for the outstanding work that they have done supporting their young men and women."

The 12 other Huskies teams with perfect APR scores in 2013-14: women's cross country, field hockey, men's golf, men's ice hockey, women's ice hockey, women's lacrosse, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, men's tennis and women's tennis.

And four teams had perfect four-year APR scores: field hockey, men's golf, men's tennis and women's tennis.

"All of our student-athletes in each of our 24 sports are committed to excellence in both academics and athletics," said Manuel. "I want to recognize all of them for the outstanding dedication that they show in the classroom each and every day at one of the most highly competitive universities in the country."

"I also want to acknowledge the outstanding faculty at the University and the dedication of our staff of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes. They care deeply about the success of our student and are committed to helping them gain success in the classroom."

<![CDATA[AAC Updates 2015 Football Schedule]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 10:43:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

The 2015 football season is some three months away, and on Wednesday the American Athletic Conference announced schedule updates for the new 12-team, two-division format. The start time and associated television networks are below (all times are Eastern, UConn games are in bold):

Thurs., Sept. 3: Villanova at Connecticut – 7:30 p.m., ESPN3/SNY
Fri., Sept. 4: Baylor at SMU – 7 p.m., ESPN
Sat., Sept. 5: Florida A&M at South Florida – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Alabama A&M at Cincinnati – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Towson at East Carolina – 6 p.m., ESPN3
Tennessee Tech at Houston – 8 p.m., ESPN3
Missouri State at Memphis – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Sat., Sept. 19: Furman at Central Florida – 6 p.m., ESPN3
Maine at Tulane – 8 p.m., ESPN3
Sat., Sept. 26: James Madison at SMU – 7 p.m., ESPN3
Fri., Oct. 2: Memphis at South Florida – 7 p.m., ESPN2
Thurs., Oct. 8: SMU at Houston – 8 p.m., ESPN2
Fri., Oct. 16: Houston at Tulane – 9 p.m, ESPNU
Thurs., Oct. 22: Temple at East Carolina – 7 p.m., ESPN2
Fri., Oct. 23: Memphis at Tulsa – 8 p.m., ESPN
Fri., Oct. 30: East Carolina at Connecticut – 7 p.m., ESPNU
Fri., Nov. 6: Temple at SMU – 8 p.m., ESPN2
Thurs., Nov. 19: East Carolina at Central Florida – 7:30 p.m., ESPN

The 2015 season is obviously an important one for second-year coach Bob Diaco, who will be looking to build on his inaugural two-win campaign, and more importantly, continue the process of rebuilding a program that has floundered in recent years. UConn kicks things off against Villanova on Sept. 3. You can view the entire schedule here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Foxx Gets Chance With Seahawks]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:45:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/deshon-foxx-2013.jpg

In the weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, only one player from UConn garnered any attention: Byron Jones, the cornerback who was eventually selected in the first round by the Cowboys. But he wasn't the only former Husky to impress an NFL team.

Wide receiver Geremy Davis was a late-round pick of the Giants, and Deshon Foxx, a pass catcher and returner with speed to burn, caught the eye of the Seahawks after he didn't hear his name called during the three-day draft earlier his month.

In fact, 20 minutes after the draft concluded, the Seahawks called Foxx to invite him for a workout, which coincided with his graduation ceremony at UConn.

“I wasn’t able to walk,” Foxx told SNY.com's John Silver last week. “I graduated during practice. I was happy. I told my mom it might be a possibility. She said that was the only way she would be OK with it, if I am not walking.”

Foxx wasn't offered a contract, but the Seahawks told him to stay ready. And they weren't kidding. A week later, the team called again, and this time they signed Foxx to a deal.

“There is nothing more I can ask,” he said. “The NFL is a tough place to be. There is opportunity in Seattle and I was able to have a good mini camp and they called me back. ...“It is a blessing. The coaches were up here, they love each other and it’s a family.

“Hopefully I can make the roster. That’s what I am looking for now.”

<![CDATA[Mamadou Diarra Commits to UConn]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:39:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

When it comes to recruiting, it's been a good few weeks for the Huskies. On Friday, prep star Mamadou Diarra committed to UConn. The 6-8 power forward is Kevin Ollie's first commit for the class of 2016.

Details of how Diarra made his way onto UConn's radar via the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore:

UConn had become very interested in one of Diarra's teammates, guard Hamidou Diallo, but associate head coach Glen Miller, who works with the program's big men, spotted Diarra and had coach Kevin Ollie take a look. When Diarra went to the Huskies' game against Memphis on March 5, he was struck by Ollie's handling of players. When he returned for a visit in April, and played with some of the current players, Ollie saw enough and made him an offer he would not refuse.

"I feel like when [Ollie] tells you something, he means it," Diarra told the Courant. "He loves all his players. I believe that. … You see so many players transferring now; I don't want to be one of them."

Diarra would join Jalen Adams and Steve Enoch, who will be freshmen this fall, but the Huskies will only have transfers Shonn Miller and Sterling Gibbs for one season, which means there will be plenty of scholarships available in 2016. Amore writes that the Huskies have also been watching 6-8 Terry Larrier, who is transferring from VCU after his freshman season. Two years ago, Larrier chose VCU over UConn but with coach Shaka Smart leaving for Texas, Larrier will transfer. According to CBSSports.com, it's down to UConn and Maryland.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ollie Excited About New Faces]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:54:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

Kevin Ollie's Huskies went through a lot last season, most of which had to do with overcoming the loss of key players Shabazz Napier, Niels Giffey and DeAndre Daniels. In the end, Ryan Boatright couldn't carry the load himself, and youth and inexperience proved to be too much.

Now, some two months after UConn's season ended, the team already appears to be in better shape. Boatright is gone, but freshman standout point guard Jalen Adams is on the way, as is Seton Hall transfer Sterling Gibbs, who scored averaged 16.7 points per game last season to go along with 3.8 assists. He also led the Big East in three-point shooting percentage (45). There's also Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year Steven Enoch and Cornell transfer Shonn Miller.

Not surprisingly, Ollie likes how the roster is taking shape.

"I like the experience we have, especially with our young guys working very, very hard," the coach said Tuesday, via the Hartford Courant. "I like the new additions. I think we've got a very deep team, and guys are going to challenge each other every day in practice. That's what we want, that breeds success when everybody's competitive for minutes. ...

"It's going to be interesting," Ollie continued. "A of guys who can put the ball in the hole, and I think a lot of hungry guys. Everybody felt bad Selection Sunday when our name wasn't called and took that pain into the offseason."

Ollie, who was speaking at the Open Hearth's annual Overcomer Breakfast in Harford, also addressed the annual speculation about him leaving for an NBA job.

"I want to be your head basketball coach for a long, long time," he said. "Everybody's got these [theories]: I'm going here. I'm going there. ... I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere, because my family's first, and you guys are my family."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>