Last week, Jim Calhoun was where he usually is this time of year: recruiting. And this despite his uncertain future as the UConn basketball coach. While we wait (again) for a verdict, the 70-year-old, who has been in Storrs for more than a quarter-century, will continue to do what he does.
In recent comments to former Huskies player Jake Voskuhl, Calhoun sounded like a man still weighing his options but the same could have been said a year ago.
Then there's the other Calhoun, the fiery competitor who would coach forever if possible, speaking at the Peach Jam, where he eying prospects. Speaking with SNY.tv, Calhoun was asked about motivating a group that will be decidedly undermanned after losing five players to either the NBA or transfer this spring.
“No, no I don’t think at all [it will be an issue],” he said. “I think that last year we had motivation from talented kids and I don’t think we always played as well as we could’ve.”
The other issue, of course, is that because of low APR scores, the Huskies are ineligible for postseason play in 2013.
“We don’t talk about going to the NCAA or winning a national championship the first day of practice,” Calhoun said. “As it plays its way through we certainly make references to that."
“Our theory has been over the years, be the best team you can be and we’re going to try to do the same thing this year. And the fact that we don’t have an opportunity to compete, we’ve missed [the NCAAs] a few times in 25 years and this year we just kind of know we’re going to miss it but the season’s the season. The kids get a great deal out of it personally.”
And while we don't doubt that Calhoun, should he coach, be just as motivated as ever, the reality is this: he doesn't have the talent in 2012-13 to compete in the Big East. That's not to say UConn can't show well, it's just that it's one thing for the 2010-11 group to play out of their minds on their way to a national title. This year's team, even if they were on that type of run, wouldn't even get the chance.
SNY.tv dutifully asked Calhoun about his future, too. And, predictably, he gave the same answer we've seen everywhere else in recent weeks:
“I have two years left on my contract and if I decide not to fulfill it I’ll be more than happy to tell everybody that,” he said. I can’t think of anything that I’ve done differently than I have in years past and we’re in the July recruiting period, talking to our kids coming back on our campus.
“Nothing has changed.”