Huskymania

By Ken Best

Tracking Huskymania on and off the field.

After Exams Men’s Basketball Team Faces New Test Against Fordham

The men’s basketball team (8-2) had an early practice session on Thursday for tonight’s game against Fordham (2-8) at the XL Center in Hartford (SNY, UConn IMG Sports Radio Network/WTIC 1080) at 7 p.m.

“We just wanted to get them off their feet a little bit,” head coach Kevin Ollie ‘95 (CLAS) told reporters, before noting that he was accommodating a request from women’s head coach Geno Auriemma to switch practice times following the women’s 97-25 win over Oakland on Wednesday night. “Now they have the whole day to relax.”

He said the Huskies have maintained a high level of effort, despite their long-distance travel in the early part of the season and the past week of final exams.

“The energy level has been good. It was good when we traveled to German and over to St. Thomas,” Ollie said. “I know it’s a load off these guys now because they don’t have the obligations of studying and taking tests. You get a little sigh of relief, but they know we can’t sigh too much. We’ve got a lot of great teams coming in. The Big East schedule is coming up and the intensity is going to ramp up another notch, so they’ve got to be ready for it.”

After Fordham, the team will face Washington (7-4) on Sept. 29 in Hartford before starting the Big East schedule at Marquette (7-3) on New Year’s Day.

Ollie said the team continues to focus on rebounding, noting that the upcoming physical play in the Big East will only make the task of fighting for caroms more difficult to score.

“We’ve got to keep going after it,” said center Enosch Wolf ’14 (CLAS). “It’s been going up and down. It’s not going to be fixed overnight. It’s going to happen. We’ve just got to keep on working.”

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Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun, special assistant to the director of athletics at UConn and vice chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees Thomas Ritter were among those who gathered with employees of several Hartford businesses Friday at City Place in downtown Hartford to participate in the state’s observance of a moment of silence for victims of the Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown.

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Head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Mike Krzyzewski, head men’s basketball coach at Duke, who each led their USA Basketball teams to gold medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, were named co-recipients of the 2012 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award.

“The opportunity to coach the Olympic Team is an amazing opportunity that you are very fortunate to have and all you want to do is a great job while putting the players in a position to be successful,” said Auriemma. “I thought our entire coaching staff was outstanding. We got all the resources and support that we needed, and I think I owe a debt of gratitude to all of them. I don’t know that it was me as much as the support group we had around us and the great group of athletes I had the opportunity to coach. They were just unbelievably committed to winning, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be around a group like that ever again.”

“Our two coaches built outstanding teams for USA Basketball that our country was proud to cheer on in London,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. “From the start of their involvement with our national team programs, Coach K and Geno have exemplified the qualities they stressed to our players, including commitment, selfless service and excellence.”

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The UConn softball team will host a hitting and pitching clinic on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Greer Field House on campus in Storrs open to players from ages 8 to 18. The Husky hitting clinic will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. Following the hitting clinic, there will be a pitching clinic from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Pitchers will be grouped into Beginners and Advanced. Beginners will improve their skills by learning the basic, proper mechanics of pitching, utilizing each pitcher’s individual strengths and body types. Advanced pitchers will build upon basic skills to increase the effectiveness of their pitches, including grips, spins and body positioning.

The cost of each clinic is individually $100 with registration and payments due by Jan.28. For more information, contact assistant coach, Tory Yamaguchi at (860) 617-8125 or Tory.Yamaguchi@uconn.edu.

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The Huskymania blog will be taking a break next week.  It will resume after Jan. 1.