Friday, September 30, 2011

Purvis Opts for NC State

Rodney Purvis, a 6-foot-4 combo guard and one of the top recruits in the Class of 2012, opted for North Carolina State over UConn and several other suitors.

“There’s no place like home,” Purvis, a Raleigh, N.C. native, said at a press conference broadcast Friday afternoon on

Purvis had visited UConn on Sept. 16. He was also recruited by Memphis, Ohio State and VCU among others. He originally gave an oral commitment to Louisville, but rescinded that when assistant coach Tim Fuller left the Cardinals’ staff.

Can’t get ‘em all, UConn fans.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

UConn: Drummond Situation Not Major

UConn isn't worried about a report today by the Norwich Bulletin that Andre Drummond's eligibility might be at issue.

The Bulletin reported that Drummond could face NCAA sanctions after appearing in a video at in which he appears to be promoting the adiCrazy Light Shoe.

But UConn officials are confident that by simply asking the site to take the video down, Drummond won't face any NCAA discipline. He certainly won't be missing any games over the matter, a source said.

A statement from the school:

UConn was made aware of the video in question late this afternoon and has reviewed it. Our compliance staff is comfortable that the video was made in advance of Andre’s enrollment at UConn. Our next step is to simply follow up with the website on which it is posted and ask that it be removed, which we have already done.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rings and Things

With First Night only a little more than two weeks away, it's time to put last year's incredible season in the scrapbooks and gear up for the 2011-12 campaign.

The Huskies have been feted by President Obama at the White House, thrown first pitches at Yankee Stadium (Kemba Walker) and Fenway Park (Jim Calhoun) and generally basked in the glow of the school's third national title. There are, however, a couple more celebrations of the 2010-11 national championship to go.

On Oct. 6, UConn will host a celebration dinner, hosted by Jay Bilas, at the Connecticut Convention Center, at which the Huskies will receive their championship rings. Tickets are still available for this event and can be done so here. Or fans can call the UConn Athletic Department Foundation at 860-486-3863 or fax 860-486-3521, or email at to reserve your seat.

Dinner starts at about 7 p.m.; Kemba will be there.

And, of course, UConn's national championship banner will be unveiled at the team's regular-season opener on Friday, Nov. 11 against Columbia at Gampel (7 p.m.).

After that, it's all about 2011-12.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Bernie Madoff ... Tate George?

It's been a spate of bad news for UConn basketball lately. The latest: Tate George has been arrested and charged with operating a Ponzi scheme.

Here's the release sent out this morning by Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney from New Jersey:

C. Tate George, former NBA basketball player and the chief executive officer (CEO) of purported real estate development firm, The George Group, surrendered this morning to federal authorities for allegedly orchestrating a more than $2 million investment fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

George, 43, of Newark, surrendered in Newark to special agents of the FBI and postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark federal court.

According to the criminal complaint unsealed today:

George, who once played for the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, held himself out as the CEO of The George Group, claiming to have more than $500 million in assets under management. George pitched prospective investors, including several former professional athletes, to invest with the firm. George represented to these prospective investors that their money would be used to fund The George Group’s purchase and development of real estate development projects, including projects in Florida, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey. George represented to some prospective investors that their funds would be held in an attorney escrow account and personally guaranteed the return of their investments, with interest.

Based on George’s representations, investors invested more than $2 million in The George Group between 2005 and March 2011, which he deposited in both the firm’s and his personal bank account. Instead of using investments to fund real estate development projects as promised, George used the money from new investors to pay existing investors in Ponzi scheme fashion. He also used some of the money for home improvement projects, meals at restaurants, clothing and gas. In reality, The George Group had virtually no income generating operations.

If convicted, George faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and postal inspectors of the USPIS, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett, for their work in the continuing investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Kelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Husky Run on Oct. 12

The annual Husky Run will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. outside of Gampel Pavilion's East Entrance. The general public is invited to compete in the 3.4-mile run around campus, and the first-place finisher will receive a UConn NIKE sweatsuit.

All runners will receive a free t-shirt and food after the race.

Another Message from Herbst

For whatever reason, UConn prez Susan Herbst wanted to relay this message to UConn fans and supporters:

“The past several days have magnified the period of instability that exists today in the world of college athletics. I want to say thank you to all of our loyal supporters and fans of UConn and our athletic programs for their patience during this time.

“Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut.

“We remain committed to our ideals and principals in intercollegiate athletics and will continue to achieve excellence academically and athletically.”


Shabazz Ready to Make His Point

A bit fatigued by all the conference realignment rumors and innuendo lately? Here's a brief respite, while still giving you a UConn fix: a little update on Shabazz Napier from today's Register.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Swofford, Dixon on Realignment

Anyone want to hear what John Swofford has to say about poaching Syracuse and Pitt (and, soon, maybe others) from the Big East? Here ya go

And Jamie Dixon's take? Here 'tis.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's All About Football

I hate football.

Yeah, I said it. I guess that makes me somehow un-American, right? I mean, football is the national pastime at this point, no doubt. But I don't care. I absolutely abhor what football -- and America's crazed obsession with it -- is doing not only to the Big East Conference but to numerous other entities as well.

I don't know exactly when football became America's favorite sport -- it may have been 25, 30 years ago, for all I know. I probably didn't notice because I've lived my whole life in New England, where college football is no big whoop and the Red Sox have always been more popular than the Patriots.

But football is king now, no doubt. Just look what it's doing not only to the Big East but the entire college sports landscape. Schools are desperate for the big money football can rake in for a program, and fearful of being left behind in a conference like the Big East, where some of the best programs don't play football. Boston College felt this way six years ago; Syracuse and Pitt joined the fray on Sunday. UConn and Rutgers could be next ...

They say four, 16-team megaconferences are in our not-too-distant future. Great. Wonderful, tradition-rich, organic conferences like the Big East get torn asunder so we can get these geographically-incorrect monoliths where money means everything and basketball rivalries nothing. (Yes, I know the Big East raided Conference USA six years ago, after being raided itself. There's plenty of guilt to go around).

The greed for football money in college sports isn't all that different than what's going on with the NFL and ESPN right now. How's that, you ask? Well, ESPN -- like university presidents and athletic directors -- loves itself some football, too. Just look at the recent eight-year, $15.2 billion extension of its NFL rights fees ESPN just inked. Already betrothed to the NFL with its Monday Night Football rights, the network has even more reason to continuously shove the NFL down our throats.

For a variety of reasons, football would have surpassed baseball as the national pastime even without ESPN's considerable help. But ESPN has certainly sped up the process. The network has a vested interest -- 15.2 billion reasons, really -- in the NFL succeeding. That's why NFL Live airs 12 months a year. It's why you could literally fill an NFL roster with the amount of ex-NFL players and coaches employed by the network right now. It's why shows like PTI and First and 10 constantly debate subjects like Chad Ochocinco's tweets and Tom Brady's hairstyle while largely ignoring topics like the NL Cy Young race or, God forbid, pro tennis or any golfer not named after a large, striped predator.

Thanks in no small part to ESPN, football has become America's default sport. Every other sport practically becomes a niche sport. Heck, it behooves ESPN to shove college football down our throats, as well. Don't go to that network looking for much info on anything but college football on a Saturday this fall.

And while we're at it, I'll tell you who else gets burned by football: college sports like baseball, wrestling, men's tennis and other men's sports. Granted, Title IX -- an absolutely horrific piece of legislation -- is the main culprit. But the fact that Division 1 college football programs need 85 scholarships (!) has always befuddled me. Eighty-five scholarships? That's basically your first, second, third and fourth teams, on both sides of the ball, all getting free rides. (And we still hear stories of non-scholarship players becoming star players. How does that happen? How does anybody slip through the cracks with 85 scholarships available?).

Meanwhile, college baseball teams get 11.7 for a 30-man roster. Men's golf and tennis each get 4.5, etc., etc., and have to carve them up among numerous athletes.

But football gets 85.

It's all about football. It's always about football. And I hate it.

Herbst on Conference Expansion

UConn president Susan Herbst's statement on conference expansion and realignment:

"Conference expansion and realignment has been a subject of public speculation for the last several months and will continue to be so in the future, for years most likely. It is not close to being over, so we need to have some patience. There have been new rumors every day regarding schools and conferences, and now Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the BIG EAST, which is a jolt, but not a huge surprise.

"UConn is a proud charter member of the BIG EAST and we have taken a lead role in the league’s success over the years. However, it is my responsibility as President that we stay in constant communication and be actively involved in discussions with our counterparts from around the country to ensure the successful long-term future of our university’s athletic program. The truth is that our teams will play competitive athletics at the highest level of excellence, wherever things land, and our central goals will be academic success and compliance, always.

"To my mind, the conference realignments and incessant national gossip is distracting many presidents and athletic directors from the real conversations we should be having, about academics, the distorting role of money in sports and what it means to support student-athletes. I hope all settles soon, and we can change the national focus away from profiteering and back to student-athletes, where it belongs.”


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Calhoun on the Passing of Dave Gavitt

Statement from UConn Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun:

“Dave will be missed incredibly by me as a mentor and friend. He was always such a big picture guy and he has done more for the sport of basketball than anyone in my lifetime. His impact on athletics in the Eastern part of the country is immeasurable and the BIG EAST Conference, created through his vision and foresight, has taken all of us to a place that we never could have imagined.

It is especially sad, considering today is certainly one of those days, with everything in the news about our league, I would love nothing more than to call him and ask him simply, 'what do you think and what should we do.' Sadly, we cannot do that.”

Personally, I'll never forget when UConn hosted Texas two seasons ago at Gampel Pavilion, and Gavitt was in attendance. He was recognized during a timeout and received a nice ovation from the crowd, most of whom may not have realized how instrumental he was to the Big East's success (or what poor health he was in at the time).

After the game, Texas coach Rick Barnes -- whose team had just suffered a disheartening loss -- was moved to tears just talking about how nice it was to be able to see Gavitt earlier that day and talk to him briefly.

"Obviously, we want to win basketball games," Barnes, his voice breaking and his eyes welling with tears, said during his postgame presser, "but coming up here today and having a chance to see Dave Gavitt is everything. I'd take a loss to see him."

People like Barnes -- a former coach at Providence, where Gavitt had his greatest success as a coach and where he later mentored Barnes -- and, obviously, Calhoun, realize what a great and important man Gavitt was in the history of college basketball.

He will be greatly missed.

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Syracuse, Pitt to ACC?

Gotta admit, I didn't see this one coming. Wonder how warm and fuzzy Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim's "friendship" will be after this?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bradley: "This is Something I Wanted to Do"

I'm not sure if I'll ever be totally comfortable with Michael Bradley giving up his scholarship so that Andre Drummond could play at UConn this season. Not sure I'll ever get over the fact that a kid who grew up in one of the poorest sections of Chattanooga and spent much of his later childhood living in the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home had to give up his free ride to a kid who only decided he'd be attending UConn a few days before classes started.

But maybe I should be. Not because of the e-mailers and bloggers and message board mavens who insist "this is the best thing that ever happened to Michael Bradley" and that he would have had to pay out-of-pocket for a year of pharmacy school, anyway (which likely won't be the case; Mike has taken an interest in business classes and may be leaning that way for his major).

No, I suppose I should be comfortable with it because ... Michael Bradley is comfortable with it. More than just comfortable: this is something he wants to do. Why? To win a national championship.

Now, Bradley didn't tell me this himself. Reached by phone a couple of weeks ago, Bradley referred all questions about the topic to Jim Calhoun. But perhaps the next-best person to talk to about the situation is Bob Smith. Smith first met Bradley as his seventh-grade Sunday school teacher. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife became Bradley's host parents while Bradley was travelling with his AAU team. Smith speaks to Bradley every day, is referred to as his "mentor" and is, in fact, listed as his father in UConn's media guide.

Here's my story on the Bradley-Drummond situation. And here's some of what Smith had to say in a phone conversation earlier this evening:

“To be honest, (at first) I felt uneasy about it,” Smith admitted. “But as Mike got to talking about it, you could tell real quick this is what Mike wanted to do. He wanted to do this. (They) won a national championship last year, and Mike wants to do that again so bad. He has a passion for it at this point.”

“I asked Mike, point-blank. He said, ‘I’m not being pressured, it’s not something I have to do, but it’s something I want to do.’”

Smith said Calhoun called him when the idea was being broached and had a nearly hour-long conversation with him about the situation.

“I felt like I could trust him,” Smith said. “He hasn’t lied to me. Everything he told Mike, he’s done so far. Mike would crawl across glass for that guy. He thinks the world of all the coaches. I hope they understand what they’ve got. They’ve got a guy willing to sacrifice for the team.”

Smith said that, from what he’s been told, this is just a one-year deal, and Bradley will get his scholarship back next year. Of course, even just a year’s out-of-state tuition at UConn runs about $38,000. That’s a lot of money for a kid who grew up in one of the poorest sections of Chattanooga. But it won’t be what Bradley owes.

“It’s not even close to ($38,000),” said Smith, who wouldn’t divulge the exact nature of the loans and/or scholarships Bradley may be receiving. “And even if it was, he’d still want to do it. Is he going to incur some expense? Sure. But it’s not something he can’t handle. Mike understands the numbers. A kid as poor as he was, he understands sacrifice. He has sacrificed all his life, and this time he has sacrificed for a cause he really, really believes in.”

That cause is not only playing for a national championship – a goal greatly increased by Drummond’s presence – but improving as a player. And what better way to improve, Bradley figures, than by going up against a potential NBA lottery pick like Drummond every day in practice.

“I know Mike’s glad to have him on the team,” Smith said. “He may take Mike’s minutes, but it makes the team better. And the guy he’s playing against will make him better. We talk every day, and I ask him: Did you play against Andre today? He says it’s always against him and (Alex) Oriakhi, because you can’t get better without playing against the best.”

"It makes the team better, and the guy he's playing against will make him better. But he still wants minutes. I told him, 'You don't have to be faster than the lion, you just have to be faster than the guy being chased by the lion. He works very hard, but it's up to Mike to get those minutes."

They say there's no cheering on press row, but it'll be tough not to be rooting for Michael Bradley this winter. I'm growing more and more comfortable with this situation by the minute.

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Sarah Palin was a Thorough Reporter

Yes, I know this isn't UConn-related. Yes, I know I haven't blogged in about a week (went down to Orlando for a little family getaway. Great time). We'll be back with plenty of UConn content shortly.

For now, I can't help but find the fact that Sarah Palin and Glen Rice hooked up in Alaska nearly 25 years ago to be anything short of laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Insert joke here _________________.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kemba at JCC in Woodbridge on Sept. 25

The Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge will be hosting a one-day basketball clinic with Kemba Walker on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 4-7 pm. The clinic is open to all boys and girls from grades 2-8.

The clinic with Kemba will include:

· Q+A with Kemba
· Meet / greet opportunities and autograph session
· Basketball drill stations
· Fun contests and prizes.

The cost of the clinic will be $60 per child; parents will be able to watch the program at no additional charge. All participants must bring t-shirts, shorts and sneakers. Space is limited. Early registration is suggested.

Register on line at More: Allan Greenberg (203) 387-2522 X252 or


Friday, September 2, 2011

Drummond: He's No. 12

Andre Drummond took a night to think about it and has decided he'll wear uniform No. 12, rather than 15, according to UConn men's basketball SID Kyle Muncy. Other notable No. 12's for UConn have been A.J. Price, Taliek Brown and current Husky assistant Kevin Ollie.

No. 15, of course, was worn by Kemba Walker. Walker's uniform was raised into the Huskies' "Wall of Honor" last April, just a couple of days after they won their third national championship.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bradley Will Give Up Scholarship

Michael Bradley will give up his scholarship to Andre Drummond this season. Bradley will qualify for significant financial aid due to his unique upbringing. He spent a good portion of his childhood at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home in Chattanooga.

It's a pretty terrific gesture on Bradley's part. I've been told by those close to him that he has been willing to do it from the start, so long as everything works out financially, and that he didn't feel forced into doing it.

Still, the whole situation makes me a little uncomfortable. Why should a kid who obviously has come from a tough background have to forfeit his scholarship to a kid who didn't even decide he'd be attending college until a few days before classes started? And I'm not blaming Drummond here, either. He's 18 years old, after all -- he's allowed to be a bit indecisive, especially when you consider all the various pressures on him to finally make a choice.

I blame a system that allows these types of things to happen. And please, spare me the argument that John Calipari ran a bunch of kids off the team when he first got to Kentucky. You really want to be lumped in the same class as Calipari? Rick Pitino made players give up scholarships too, you say? Doesn't make it any less wrong.

Hopefully, everything works out well for Michael Bradley. We don't know the exact details of what kind of aid he'll be getting, and what kind of loans he may have to pay back. I'm going to assume that Jim Calhoun, who has always looked out for the best interests of his players, has done so here and has made sure that Bradley hasn't been put in a great financial burden.

I'm going to hope so, anyway.

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Drummond is a Husky

Freshman Andre Drummond has been admitted to the University of Connecticut and is listed on the roster as a member of the men’s basketball team.

The roster is available on line at:

Drummond will wear No. 15 this season -- the number that was worn last year by Kemba Walker and "retired" onto the Huskies Wall of Fame back in April.

No word yet on how UConn has found a scholarship for Drummond. Michael Bradley, Enosch Wolf and Niels Giffey are all on the Huskies' roster, as well. UConn had talked to Bradley about possibly giving up his scholarship, and some reports noted that having Wolf or Giffey leave the program was a possibility, as well.

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