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Buffalo, N.Y. - UConn senior Shabazz Napier has a message for his former head coach.
If Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun returns to the college coaching ranks, Napier will gladly join him.
While Calhoun dismissed an ESPN report that said he has significant interest in the Boston College opening, he hasn't ruled out coming out of retirement someday.
"If he does, wherever he goes, I'm going to be a fan of that team," Napier said. "Hopefully, when I'm done with my career, he'll give me a job."
Napier and other members of the UConn basketball team reacted to the news during their press conference on Friday at the First Niagara Center. The seventh-seeded Huskies will play No. 2 Villanova in an NCAA tournament East Region third-round game tonight.
"If that's what he wants to do, more power to him," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "I'm always going to support coach. … I know he's enjoying his vacations he's taking in January playing golf. I don't know if he wants to pass up on those."
When reached on Friday afternoon, Calhoun, 71, repeated several times that he hasn't talked to anybody about a coaching job. He retired in September, 2012, ending his career with 873 wins and three national championships.
"I'm not trying to get back into basketball," Calhoun said. "I'm not seeking a job. … I miss some parts (of coaching) and some parts I don't miss. Never say never, but I haven't set up anything with anybody else to talk about a job."
Junior Ryan Boatright believes Calhoun wants to return to coaching.
"He's around us all the time," Boatright said. "You can see it in his eyes. I know he misses coaching. I don't know what his process of thinking is right now. I'm just worried about winning the (Villanova) game."
Calhoun is in Buffalo this week for the NCAA tournament games.
Defending the 3
Villanova is a dangerous 3-point shooting team, making an average of nine per game. James Bell, Darrun Hilliard and Ryan Arcidiacono are the top threats.
In the last meeting between the teams, Arcidiacono buried five 3-pointers and scored 25 points, leading Villanova to a 70-61 win over UConn in Hartford on Feb. 16, 2013.
"They prefer to shoot the three-ball, so we're going to have to defend the perimeter," Boatright said. "Can't let Arcidiacono get off to a hot start like last year. He killed us last year."
Napier has some good and bad memories of past games against Villanova.
Two years ago, he raced up court and buried a game-winning 30-footer with about a second left to lift UConn to a 73-70 overtime win in Philadelphia.
It was the biggest shot of his career at that point, something he's made a career of ever since.
"Through your experiences, you're not born with it but you realize you can bring that to the table," Napier said. "I feel like if you have confidence in your shot and in making big plays, when it comes down to the big plays, you're going to do something to show it."
Napier also has some bad memories. He's scored just 10 points and converted 3 of 17 field goals in three career games against the Wildcats.
News and notes
Junior DeAndre Daniels on the late starting time: "It's going to be a long day. I'm just going to be sleeping pretty much half of the day and probably watch a couple of games." … Thursday's 89-81 overtime win over Saint Joseph's was the seventh in NCAA history for the Huskies, who improved to 3-4.