Freshman Learns Lesson in Victory

STORRS – Exhibition games are for learning and it's safe to say Connecticut freshman forward DeAndre Daniels got an education in what he can't do with coach Jim Calhoun on the sideline as the defending national champions defeated American International College 78-35 Wednesday night at Gampel Pavilion.

Daniels, who scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the victory, hit a three-pointer to give UConn a 22-9 lead with 8:13 left in the first half. Just 17 seconds later Daniels was on the bench getting an earful from his new coach.

Calhoun would have yanked his freshman in one second, if possible, because Daniels did a bit of celebrating after the shot. Daniels put one hand to his eye and offered his version of the celebration known as "three goggles." That may work in the NBA, or other college programs, but it's not in the UConn manual.

"I have moved faster," Calhoun said. "Beyond that, you are right, he was out of the game quickly. There's no reason . . . why would you do that? He can do that the night, if we're in New Orleans, and playing for the national championship. But doing it against a Division II team, up 35 points, I don't think is [right].

"And he's one of the nicest kids I've ever met. It's atypical. He knew. And, of course, when he got to the bench, he knew better. I don't think you'll see that move again."

Daniels, who did get praised by Calhoun for his defensive effort, gave a sheepish smile and said he was "kinda in the moment." And he said he never has had a coach yell at him for celebrating a basket.

"Coach said I was wrong for doing that," Daniels said. "I learn from my mistakes though. He said don't do it again and get back on D. Just play basketball. . . . It shocked me a little bit because I didn't know what he was mad about." Jeremy Lamb led UConn with 17 points. Shabazz Napier missed his first six shots but finished with 9 points, 15 assists (one shy of the UConn record held by Marcus Williams) and no turnovers in 35 minutes.

"Shabazz's 15 to 0 was nice, but as I said to him the 0 was because he wasn't doing anything in the first half," Calhoun said. "How can you have a turnover when you're not doing anything. But in the second half, he got us going."

Braxton Gardner led the overmatched Yellow Jackets with 16 points. AIC was 10-for-50 from the floor and made only three 2-point baskets. AIC was 7-for-26 from three-point range.

Napier had set a defensive goal for his teammates on Tuesday, saying the Huskies should hold AIC to 35 points or less. The sophomore point guard should be required to set more goals every game.

"I just felt we could stop them at 35 points," Napier said. "They had 32 or 33 points with about six minutes left and I was yelling at the guys, ‘You're making me look stupid out there. Let's make sure we don't give up more than 35.' Defensively we've got to set the tone. We're a great defensive team."

The Huskies shot 49.2 percent from the field, mostly on the strength of a 56.3 percent performance in the second half and a 50-4 advantage in the paint.

Freshman Andre Drummond played 17 minutes with his newly fitted facemask, the result of a broken nose suffered in practice last Friday. He was 2-for-5 in the first half, partly a result of adjusting to the mask and a little bit the result of jitters for his first college game.

"When I got into the game, [the mask] felt a little different," Drummond said. "I don't know why, but for some reason it did. But I got used to it as the game went on. I got hit one time in the nose and it didn't feel good at all.

"I'd probably say a C-plus [for a grade]. I'll go with an F for the first half, but as the game went on I got more comfortable."

Calhoun also had praise for sophomore forward Tyler Olander, who had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds in 26 minutes.

"I thought Tyler and Shabazz were the two best players we had," Calhoun said. "I thought Tyler was really terrific tonight."

BOATRIGHT HELD OUT

Freshman guard Ryan Boatright did not play. UConn released a statement Wednesday morning saying that Boatright's eligibility is being reviewed and he would be held out of competition until the joint review by UConn and the NCAA is complete.

Sources said the review is focused on Boatright's AAU associations. UConn said the review is not related to academics.

"It is what it is unfortunately," Calhoun said after the game. "If you've read the newspapers or any other things, there's probably 35-40 kids right now probably in similar situations. It always seems to drag into the season, maybe because of the sheer numbers. No idea [on a time frame]. We're looking forward to getting him back."

Calhoun said UConn has been told not to talk about the situation.

Boatright played two years on an AAU team coached by Reggie Rose, the brother of Bulls guard Derrick Rose. During his one season at Memphis, Derrick Rose had several eligibility issues but it isn't known if that is the association in question.

Boatright is from Aurora, Ill., and originally committed as eighth grader to Southern California and then-coach Tim Floyd. Boatright withdrew that commitment and then committed to Bob Huggins at West Virginia last fall. He pulled out of that commitment when the Mountaineers recruited another point guard and eventually settled on UConn this summer.

The Elgin Courier News of Aurora, Ill., contacted Boatright's mother, Tanesha, Wednesday morning, but she said she didn't know what had prompted the review and declined comment.

"We don't have the slightest idea," Ryan's grandfather, Tom Boatright, told the Courier News. "Ryan is upset about it, naturally. He wants to be playing but we've told him to trust in God. … We're just hoping for the best and need to let the NCAA do their job."

NOTES

Sophomore Roscoe Smith did not play in the first half for disciplinary reasons. He entered the game with 18:14 left in the second half and had three points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. "Roscoe Smith did not play in the first half due to the fact that he violated a commitment he had with us," Calhoun said. "No big deal. So, I didn't start him or play him in the first half. Nothing more will come of it. It's over, finished." . . .The "Kemba Walker" chant went up from the student crowd on several occasions. The former UConn star, who has been playing pick up games with the Huskies while waiting for the NBA lockout to end, was in the crowd. . . . A promotional announcement thanking CL&P for being a UConn sponsor drew a few boos from the Gampel Pavilion crowd. Obviously those were the fans who still have not had power restored from the weekend snowstorm. . . . The announced attendance was 9,038 but the crowd seemed smaller than that.


UCONN Playbook Top Stories