Sep 23, 2011
Calhoun Embracing The NBA Lockout

Jim Calhoun sure knows how to get himself into this blog as frequently as possible. That’s because he’s one of the most opinionated guys in college basketball. And when you operate a blog that revolves around the fifth-most popular sport in America, the people with the loudest voices often receive the most attention.

Three national championships go a long way as well.

On a day when we reported his team was locked into an agreement to be the second tip-off in the newly formed Carrier Classic, the 69-year-old coach told the Chicago Tribune he’s embracing the lockout. And all basketball fans should make the most of it, do the same, and occupy their time by watching more college ball than they normally would. Why is Calhoun sharing this with a Chicago-based reporter? Because he was in the Windy City to receive the Ray Meyer College Coach of the Year Award at the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner. Duh.

Here’s what he said, re: lockout.

“Now you’re going to have to watch us, whether you like us or not, Calhoun said. It’s a good thing for me, personally. We have 12 kids coming into the NBA. … Ray Allen and a kid who was great when he was here and would like to still be here probably, Ben Gordon. And Rudy Gay … those guys are with our students right now. So we have all-star games, which I can’t see unfortunately, every day of the week. But for a kid like Kemba Walker, we want to kind of get him on to his career.”

Calhoun’s referring to the fact that all these NBA players have been spending their September staying in shape in Storrs. The pros can’t be in NBA-affiliated facilities, so plenty of ’em have headed back to bounce the ball on campus. College coaches can’t work out/coach their guys until Oct. 15, so they get secondhand information. Restrictions at the NBA level have forced college players into the gyms and turned them into de facto coaches at a time when the real coaches are still waiting in the hallways to start their seasons, further enticed by the squeaking of the sneakers they hear through the corridors.

It serendipitous situation for the college players. College teams could actually see an uptick in productivity, fluidity and overall competence because of the help and playing time against some of the world’s best. And for the pros, who must be plenty nostalgic, there’s also benefit on their end, as they stay in shape with about as good of competition they could ask for on a weekly basis.

And let’s not forget the fact this rare offseason fusion strengthens the bond and affiliation between former player and university. The programs and schools can have residual benefits from this.

As for realignment (we got Calhoun on record about that earlier this week, too), here’s what he told the Tribune:

“I know for sure that I can introduce myself as Jim Calhoun, UConn baskeball coach. After that, I don’t know what else I can tell you, Calhoun said. I do think we are very attractive. We have won 10 championships in men’s and women’s basketball in the past 13 years. … But when all is said and done, and all the talk about what is best for the student-athletes, and also what’s best for academics … it’s money. And it’s more money. …

“I think there will be new leadership unlike the NCAA presently runs us. And yet I have always felt that when you do that, we better view all of the other schools if that does happen. The (NCAA) tournament is too special; don’t mess with it. It’s too good.”

Calhoun’s in an interesting spot because, while most basketball coaches are unlikely to be truly tapped into their university’s situation, he absolutely is. New president Susan Herbst is a huge fan of Calhoun, and the two of them essentially kicked former athletic director Jeff Hathaway off campus. If UConn can or is going to move, Calhoun’s very clued in. He won’t go beyond that publicly, though. Calhoun Embracing The NBA Lockout

CBSSports.com, Matt Norlander

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/26283066/32194524

Jim Calhoun sure knows how to get himself into this blog as frequently as possible. That’s because he’s one of the most opinionated guys in college basketball. And when you operate a blog that revolves around the fifth-most popular sport in America, the people with the loudest voices often receive the most attention. Three national championships go a long way as well. On a day when we reported his team was locked into an agreement to be the second tip-off in the newly formed Carrier Classic, the 69-year-old coach told the Chicago Tribune he’s embracing the lockout. And all basketball fans should make the most of it, do the same, and occupy their time by watching more college ball than they normally would. Why is Calhoun sharing this with a Chicago-based reporter? Because he was in the Windy City to receive the Ray Meyer College Coach of the Year Award at the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner. Duh. Here’s what he said, re: lockout.

“Now you’re going to have to watch us, whether you like us or not, Calhoun said. It’s a good thing for me, personally. We have 12 kids coming into the NBA. … Ray Allen and a kid who was great when he was here and would like to still be here probably, Ben Gordon. And Rudy Gay … those guys are with our students right now. So we have all-star games, which I can’t see unfortunately, every day of the week. But for a kid like Kemba Walker, we want to kind of get him on to his career.”

Calhoun’s referring to the fact that all these NBA players have been spending their September staying in shape in Storrs. The pros can’t be in NBA-affiliated facilities, so plenty of ’em have headed back to bounce the ball on campus. College coaches can’t work out/coach their guys until Oct. 15, so they get secondhand information. Restrictions at the NBA level have forced college players into the gyms and turned them into de facto coaches at a time when the real coaches are still waiting in the hallways to start their seasons, further enticed by the squeaking of the sneakers they hear through the corridors. It serendipitous situation for the college players. College teams could actually see an uptick in productivity, fluidity and overall competence because of the help and playing time against some of the world’s best. And for the pros, who must be plenty nostalgic, there’s also benefit on their end, as they stay in shape with about as good of competition they could ask for on a weekly basis. And let’s not forget the fact this rare offseason fusion strengthens the bond and affiliation between former player and university. The programs and schools can have residual benefits from this. As for realignment ( we got Calhoun on record about that earlier this week, too), here’s what he told the Tribune :

“I know for sure that I can introduce myself as Jim Calhoun, UConn baskeball coach. After that, I don’t know what else I can tell you, Calhoun said. I do think we are very attractive. We have won 10 championships in men’s and women’s basketball in the past 13 years. … But when all is said and done, and all the talk about what is best for the student-athletes, and also what’s best for academics … it’s money. And it’s more money. … “I think there will be new leadership unlike the NCAA presently runs us. And yet I have always felt that when you do that, we better view all of the other schools if that does happen. The (NCAA) tournament is too special; don’t mess with it. It’s too good.”

Calhoun’s in an interesting spot because, while most basketball coaches are unlikely to be truly tapped into their university’s situation, he absolutely is. New president Susan Herbst is a huge fan of Calhoun, and the two of them essentially kicked former athletic director Jeff Hathaway off campus. If UConn can or is going to move, Calhoun’s very clued in. He won’t go beyond that publicly, though.






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