Ollie brings different coaching style from Calhoun

By Danny Maher

For the first time in 26 years, Jim Calhoun was not the lead man on the UConn sidelines. Thursday marked the first exhibition game of the season and the beginning of the Kevin Ollie era. Ollie and Calhoun have vastly different coaching styles, but neither liked the fact that American International College stunned the Huskies and jumped out to a 12-2 lead. Instead of calling immediate timeouts and substitutions, Ollie stuck with his starters and trusted his offense.

“This is a process. We’re going to keep building, we’re going to keep playing the right way, we’re going to respect the game, this great university and we’re going to go out there and play with effort,” Ollie said.

The players noticed Ollie’s positive reaction to the negative start.

“It’s a lot better because he stayed positive with us and just told us to play hard, play our game and play UConn basketball,” sophomore DeAndre Daniels said.

Daniels grabbed nine rebounds and scored eight points at power forward.

“The mistakes, we would have heard about them a lot differently from Coach Calhoun,” sophomore Ryan Boatright said.

Boatright was second on the team with 14 points.

New Kids on the Block
The 2012-13 UConn Huskies feature four newcomers, three freshmen and a transfer to the program. Graduate student R.J. Evans started 88 games and averaged 12.4 points a game in four seasons as a Holy Cross Crusader. The Salem, Conn. native entered the game halfway through the first half with the Huskies down six. He immediately stole the ball and darted towards the hoop, made the lay-up and was fouled.

“R.J. is our rock that I look to, and he came in and settled us down,” Ollie said.

Evans finished the game with five points in 15 minutes.

The Huskies have found another talented New York City guard in Omar Calhoun. He was ranked No. 32 overall and seventh among all shooting guards by ESPN.com. He fumbled the ball out of bounds on his first touch and missed his first two shots. But Calhoun would rebound as he stole the show Thursday night, scoring a game-high 24 points and made 8 of 14 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from three-point land.

“Being from New York, being a Brooklyn kid, it’s just something I was brought up with,” Calhoun said about his confidence on the court. “I’m definitely going to keep pushing it. I’m looking forward to getting better every day.”

The newest big man is Phillip Nolan from Milwaukee, Wis. Nolan missed all three field goal attempts, including back-to-back lay-ups early in the second half. He did grab a pair of rebounds, but fouled out after playing only nine minutes.

Ollie adds a third German to his squad this year, a 6’8” sharp shooter from Berlin, Leon Tolksdorf. He only played three minutes in the second half and did not record a shot.

Looking Ahead
UConn’s next and final exhibition is Sunday at 1 p.m. against another NE-10 opponent, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks at the XL Center in Hartford. Former UConn player Souleymane Wane is a part-time assistant at UMass-Lowell. He played at Connecticut from 1997-2001 and is a member of the 1999 national championship team.

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