Calhoun Is Happy to Be Back

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Jim Calhoun is back on the sidelines after a three-game absence in which the Huskies were 2-1 in the Big East, including Tuesday's surprising road loss to Seton Hall.

"I am happy to get back," Calhoun said according to "If I wasn't coaching any longer, then I don't know if I'd be happy to get back. But this is my team. Obviously, I feel responsible for the fact that we didn't play well (Wednesday) night."

Calhoun, who missed games against South Florida, St. John's and Seton Hall as part of NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations, spent time with his family and grandchildren. But that doesn't mean he wasn't watching the Huskies closely.

We joked after the Seton Hall loss that Calhoun, like most fans, probably spent Tuesday evening screaming at his television for UConn to show some life and play a little defense.

"We needed leadership out of the backcourt and we didn't get it," Calhoun said. "We needed some of the veterans, Alex (Oriakhi) and Roscoe (Smith) and Shabazz (Napier) to step up and that didn't happen. So that's disappointing.

"I was really surprised that we're just getting looser on defense. … We just played very poorly offensively. We're proving once again that we have some work to do."

Calhoun is an eternal pessimist, at least when it's the middle of the season and he's asked to assess his team. That coaching philosophy has served him well because it means one thing: there's always room to get better which, at its essence, is all Calhoun wants.

In one sense, UConn was lucky to be without Calhoun for a relatively easy stretch of the conference schedule. They'll play at Rutgers Saturday before hosting West Virginia Monday and traveling to Notre Dame next weekend.

For now, Calhoun will spend the next few days reintroducing him team to the importance of defense, particularly rebounding.

"We've just got to get ready for the next two games," he said. "I can't wait to get to practice. … If you yell (at the television), nobody hears you."

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