Ollie on Wolf, Syracuse, and the end of a Big East rivalry, etc. (video)
UConn coach Kevin Ollie covered a variety of topics after practice today at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.
Of course, he talked in detail about Wednesday's Big East game against No. 6 Syracuse in Hartford.
But he only briefly commented about junior Enosch Wolf's arrest and indefinite suspension.
Wolf is schedule to appear in Rockville Superior Court Wednesday to face charges stemming from an on-campus domestic incident early Monday morning.
"We're going to let the legal process take care of itself," Ollie said.
When asked about Wolf's involvement with the team, Ollie responded: "The suspension is indefinite. He's not around, so you make your own conclusions."
The players were instructed not to talk about Wolf's situation.
Here's what sophomore Ryan Boatright said: "It is what it is, man. … We've got to go out there and still got to compete."
Check out the attached video for more of Ollie's post-practice comments.
Some of other news, notes and quotes from today's practice:
-- Freshman Phil Nolan, a 6-foot-9 forward, will likely see some more playing time with Wolf, a junior center, out. Nolan has appeared briefly in just 15 games this season, averaging 1.1 points and 1.3 rebounds. He's yet to score in a Big East game.
"He's going to learn through experience," Ollie said. "I've got full faith and confidence that he'll come in and give us a spark and play hard and play with effort and energy. That's the only thing that we want to coach around here.
-- It will be the last Big East meeting between the two long-time league rivals. Ollie has followed rivalry since his playing days at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles.
"I grew up watching Syracuse and Connecticut playing. The reason why I came to Connecticut was because Stevie Thompson was from my high school and he chose Syracuse.
"When I was at Crenshaw, I was a fan of Syracuse. … You hate to see it come to an end, but it's part of life and you've got to move on. Our AD and president are going to put us in a great situation moving forward."
-- This is a big game for UConn (16-6, 6-4), which has to likely sweep its three game home-stand to stay in the hunt for the regular season title. The Huskies host Villanova Saturday and Cincinnati on Feb. 21.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't (a big game)," Boatright said. "It's rivalry week. The fans are excited and the students are excited. So this win, it's important to us."
The Huskies are hoping for a full house for tonight's game against the first-place Orange (20-3, 8-2).
"We're going to really need the crowd to get us amped," Daniels said.
-- Ollie will consider a variety of lineups to try to compensate for the absence of Wolf. He might even go with a smaller group that features 6-8 sophomore DeAndre Daniels and 6-7 junior Niels Giffey playing at the four and five positions.
"I'm going to have to be everywhere, play every position, the four and the five," Daniels said.
On the plus side, UConn can spread the floor and run more effectively with a smaller lineup.
"It's something that I'm definitely looking and I'm pondering," Ollie said. "If I get in that situation, it's definitely a lineup that I'm going to have to go to."
-- Boatright said it is important to get off to a fast start against Syracuse.
"Once they get up, they play that zone so well it's hard to get back in the lead," Boatright said. "We want to come out with some fire and take the lead, and keep fighting to the end to put ourselves in a situation to win the game at the end."
-- R.J. Evans of Salem had to leave practice early to attend class.
When Evans left, the Huskies had only nine scholarship players available. Former Husky Donny Marshall participated in the workout.
Playing on the scout team, Marshall played the role of Syracuse's C.J. Fair.
-- If UConn can't solve Syracuse's active and athletic zone, it will be a long game for the Huskies.
The Huskies have had plenty of practice against zones in recent games, including in Sunday's win at Seton Hall. And they've had mixed results.
"When we pass like we did at Seton Hall where the ball was popping and moving and it was getting to the open man, it makes any zone look vulnerable," Ollie said. "But we've got to make shots. Shabazz (Napier) and Ryan (Boatright) have got to be aggressive. They've got to get in the gaps."
-- Junior Tyler Olander on the UConn-Syracuse rivalry: "It's always a great game, always high intensity, a lot of emotions." Olander said. "(There's) just a lot of history between UConn and Syracuse, so it's always a big game."
"I feel every game has become an instant classic."
UConn has lost six of the last seven games in the series.
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