User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Horses
Golf
Auto
Soccer
More
Betting Tools

 
Huskies show what the NCAA will be missing

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut men's basketball team can't play for a national title this season. The Huskies still want to put on a show.

Advertisement
They got their first chance Friday night in the program's annual First Night, the unofficial kickoff to the practice season, which featured the traditional slam dunk contest, a 3-point shooting competition, music, dancing and pyrotechnics.

It also gave former coach Jim Calhoun, who retired last month, one final chance to address the Husky fans. He was in the building briefly, but did not make an appearance on the court. Instead, he addressed the crowd in a taped message shown on the scoreboards and passed the baton to new coach Kevin Ollie.

``I'll always be a part of UConn basketball, I'll always be rooting for UConn basketball,'' he said. ``But this is your night. It's your First Night. Have a great journey the entire winter. Go get `em Huskies.''

The crowd of about 7,000 towel-waving fans gave Ollie the night's loudest ovation as he was introduced, and interrupted his speech to the crowd by rhythmically clapping and chanting his name.

``He's passing the baton to me, but I don't feel like he's behind me,'' Ollie said of Calhoun. ``He's beside me and we're running together in this race.''

UConn didn't qualify academically for the NCAA tournament and is also banned from the Big East tournament.

Paul Jankco, 42, of New Hartford brought his 8-year-old son Jacob. He said he's anxious to see if the hard-nose style Ollie played with as a point guard at UConn will translate to the team.

``It's hard to follow a legend, but I think he is going to be really good,'' he said. ``He'll be able to relate to the players a little bit more, and he's really got nothing to lose.''

Women's coach Geno Auriemma, who had a notoriously icy relationship with Calhoun, said he's been a big Ollie supporter since he was a player here in the early 1990s.

``I remember how hard he worked and how low maintenance he was,'' he said. ``Watching Kevin work and watching him work the players out last year, and watching his career in the NBA and how it evolved. I just think those are the kind of people you need to root for.''

Auriemma women's team is expected to compete for an eighth national championship this season. First Night was the fans' first chance to see Auriemma's highly touted recruiting class, which includes former national high school player of the year Breanna Stewart, who competed in the dunk contest.

``This year, from Day 1, we had a great preseason,'' Auriemma said. ``That's made all the coaches and the players feel really, really anxious to get started.''

Women's sophomore star Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis won the 3-point competition and men's freshman Omar Calhoun had the night's best dunk, going between his legs with the ball on the way up.

Ollie also made some news off the court, when he added another former UConn player to his staff. Ricky Moore, the co-captain of the 1999 championship team, becomes the program's assistant director of basketball administration.

Moore joins Ollie, Kevin Freeman, Glenn Miller, and Karl Hobbs as former Husky players on the staff.

``The kids should be able to go to a coach and know that he's had this experience,'' Moore said. ``The kids shouldn't feel this is impossible to do, going to class, whatever. We've been through it.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
News: Terrapins get attention
So long, Mayor: Hoiberg leaves Iowa St.
Michigan grad to finish career at Indiana
Kansas lands wing Lagerald Vick for 2015
Lawyer to keep fighting in O'Bannon case
UNC's Williams yet to see NCAA notice
Miles' new deal at Nebraska has bonuses
Kansas lands touted Ole Miss transfer
Coaches nonplussed by new shot clock
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2014 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 927
Chip Chirimbes + 865
Brian Edwards + 764
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Chip Chirimbes 54 %
Scott Pritchard 54 %
Stephen Nover 53 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1337
Brian Edwards + 1195
John Fisher + 994
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 792
Antony Dinero + 700
Andy Iskoe + 654
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The SportsBoss + 612
Joe Williams + 248
Jim Feist + 183
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb