Ollie talks about his concerns and team's progress

UConn coach Kevin Ollie talked about the state of the Huskies during a Puerto Rico Tip-Off conference call on Wednesday morning.

The eight-team tournament runs from Nov. 20-23.

UConn plays College of Charleston in the first round.

“We’re very excited to be part of the Puerto Rico Tip-off tournament,” Ollie said.

Here’s a rundown of what Ollie had to say:

-- Through two exhibition games, Ollie has some concerns, pointing to three things – free throwing shooting, transition game and rebounding.

“We shot free throws very, very well last year, and the past two games I think we missed nine each exhibition game. … So we definitely want to correct that because we did a lot of great things on the free‑throw line. And when someone makes a mistake, when they foul on us, we want to convert, especially when you're pretty much up there by yourself and not being guarded.  We want to do that better.”

“We want to push the pace more.  I think our last game we had 17 fast break points, which I want to get even more than that, and just also continue to rebound.  We have to do a better job.”

-- Ollie gave an update on several players.

“Sam Cassell has been shooting the ball excellent. I think he’s 13 for 21 in two exhibition games shooting it from deep. He gives us that veteran experience.”

Ollie raved about freshman Daniel Hamilton’s versatility.

“He’s kind of like a stat stuffer, and he’s been doing an excellent job for us.”

Rodney Purvis is off to a slow start, struggling in both exhibition games. Ollie pointed out that Purvis played with more intensity and energy on Sunday.

“He’s a terror when we get out on the fast break and have him pushing the ball and running the lanes,” Ollie said.

Ollie added that sophomore Kentan Facey has to step it in the power forward role and that freshman forward Rakim Lubin is playing “very, very well.”

 -- UConn’s big men are working on finishing plays after drawing contract.

“We have to not get distracted by their contact and lose where we’re at and where the basket is,” Ollie said. “We’ve got to adjust to contact and finish strong. That’s what we’re working on. (Associate head coach) Glen Miller does a great job with our bigs, Amida (Brimah) and Phil (Nolan).”

Ollie called Brimah a “worker bee.”

“He works and works and works, and you try to kick him out of the gym and he gets in through the back door.”

He added that Brimah is going to open a lot of people’s eyes on the offensive end with his ability to shoot over his left and right shoulder.

 -- It appears that junior Omar Calhoun (right knee) will likely miss UConn’s season opener against Bryant University on Friday night.

“We’ll just check it day by day…,” Ollie said. “If he can’t practice Thursday, most likely he’ll be out on Friday.”

 -- Other teams in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off field include College of Charleston, Boston College, West Virginia, George Mason, Dayton, Texas A&M and New Mexico.

-- In other news, UConn commit Jalen Adams tweeted that he signed his official letter of intent.

 

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