Big East is Still Home

STORRS, Conn. – Connecticut's Jim Calhoun was asked about conference realignment Wednesday and he certainly sounded like a coach who would like to stay in the Big East Conference.

"My thing is that I'm never, ever, to this day, never, ever will be anti-Big East," Calhoun said at the annual Husky Run. "I'm pro-Big East and I hope that things can be worked out in the Big East. But, if they can't be, and we can find a better place for ourselves, then we would do that.

"Right now, who is the Big East? I know the basketball league. The basketball league has nine teams returning that made the NCAA tournament – that always gets left out of it. The basketball league is stronger than the ACC and anything else."

Counting Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the Big East had 11 teams in the NCAA tournament last season. Those two schools set things in motion last week when they announced their intentions to leave for the ACC.

Calhoun talked about how UConn has been transformed from a small New England team top a national team. "Why would we ever want to give any of that up?" he said. He also talked about 1978 when then-UConn athletic director John Toner was on a golf course and was offered the opportunity to join the Big East.

"UConn's life, as we know it, changed," Calhoun said. "When I came here in 1986, my life, as I know it as a coach and my opportunities, changed. My love affair with the Big East is never going to change. The thing I continue to say is that we need to get the best situation, including the Big East, by the way. Whatever is the best decision for Connecticut, that's where we need to go."

HUSKY RUN NOTES

Several students, faculty members and fans showed up at Gampel Pavilion to join the UConn players in the annual Husky Run. Jim Rosenberger, a senior mechanical engineering major from Southington, was the overall winner for the third consecutive year. He ran the 3.4-mile course in 17 minutes, 20 seconds and then told reporters the course is actually more like 3.2 miles. . . . Freshman swingman DeAndre Daniels led the players with a time of 19:32, just 13 seconds ahead of sophomore Niels Giffey. . . . Former UConn stars Kemba Walker and Hasheem Thabeet were among the spectators. … Assistant coach Kevin Ollie completed the course successfully and looks in good enough shape to take another shot at the NBA. "I can't wait to get back on the court with my team," said Ollie, who has been hitting the recruiting trail hard in recent weeks. . . . The UConn men and women will join together for First Night on Friday night at Gampel. Official practices will be held Saturday. . . . Quote of the day, from point guard Shabazz Napier, on moving on without Walker: "I'm not trying to be Kemba. I'm trying to be as successful as him. I've learned things. But I'm going to do it my way. I'm going to be Shabazz."


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