Remember what we said earlier about UConn coach Jim Calhoun speaking his mind? Well, he was in Chicago Wednesday to receive the Ray Meyer College Coach of the Year Award during the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner and he spoke on a variety of basketball-related topics, including conference realignment.
And instead of reading from the "everyone wins!" talking points, Calhoun got right to the heart of the matter.
"I know for sure that I can introduce myself as Jim Calhoun, UConn basketball coach. After that, I don't know what else I can tell you," Calhoun said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I do think we are very attractive. We have won 10 championships in men's and women's basketball in the past 13 years. ... But when all is said and done, and all the talk about what is best for the student-athletes, and also what's best for academics ... it's money. And it's more money."
"I think there will be new leadership unlike the NCAA presently runs us. And yet I have always felt that when you do that, we better view all of the other schools if that does happen. The (NCAA) tournament is too special; don't mess with it. It's too good."
Everybody knows it's about money, it's just that very few people are willing to utter the word out loud. Calhoun, clearly, is one of those people.
The UConn coach also spoke about the NBA, and how the lockout only benefits the college game.
"Now you're going to have to watch us, whether you like us or not," said Jim Calhoun, coach of defending NCAA champion Connecticut. "It's a good thing for me, personally. We have 12 kids coming into the NBA… Ray Allen, and a kid who was great when he was here and would like to still be here probably, Ben Gordon. And Rudy Gay … those guys are with our students right now. So we have all-star games, which I can't see unfortunately, every day of the week. But for a kid like Kemba Walker, we want to kind of get him on to his career."
The Hartford Courant's Dom Amore writes that Thursday was one of those days. "Back on campus, Calhoun was able to watch Ray Allen and Donny Marshall, who have been on campus a few times now, run the current players up and down the floor at Gampel Pavilion."
Allen, who starred at UConn in the mid-1990s, spoke to UConn students about the lockout, sounding very much like the NFL players this summer … right up until the point where they made concessions and insured the season started on time. "We have to do what's right for all our players," Allen said. "You'd hate to miss a year. I'm always ready to do what my team needs me to do, and I'm ready to do what our union, players association team needs me to do."