Jim Calhoun fractured his hip in a cycling crash earlier this month but the latest evidence that circumstances won't keep the 70-year-old hall of fame coach down for long were on display Sunday. According to ESPN.com's Andy Katz, Calhoun was back on campus a full day before he predicted two weeks ago. He addressed the team, something he does each year before classes begin.
“He was full of drive, determination and direction,” assistant coach Glen Miller said according to the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. “The same coach I’ve known since I played for him [at Northeastern]. There’s a lot going on with his rehab, but with his competitiveness, it looks like he is ahead of schedule.”
Junior big man Tyler Olander echoed Miller's sentiments telling Amore: “He was the same old ‘coach.' He told us we’ve got a long season ahead, so get ready for the grind. It was great to see him and see that he’s doing well - and see that nothing is going to stop him ’til he’s there.”
It's been mentioned countless times in the last few months, but the Huskies and Calhoun face one of their toughest tests in 2012-13. Five players left the program in the spring (two to the NBA, three to transfers), and the NCAA declared UConn ineligible for the 2013 postseason because of low Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. Still, the Huskies had a solid recruiting class but certainly nothing like recent classes that landed names like Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and Andre Drummond.
But in typical Calhoun fashion, he seems unconcerned by the developments. And while he acknowledges that this season will be "different," that's not a euphemism for "awful." He fully expects this group to compete. And we do too.
Despite no postseason in the Huskies' immediate future, they will face Michigan State at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on November 9, and a week later square off in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.