NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Shabazz Napier #13 and Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Duffy is a very brave man. How do I know that? He ventured into the barren wasteland known as Storrs during the summer, somehow making it through its barren hellscape to bring us back some lovely tidings from the basketball team. He got a chance to sit down with juniors Shabazz Napier and Tyler Olander to talk about UConn's postseason ban, goals for next year and the flood of players transferring out of the program and got some nice quotes (do yourself a favor and read the whole article).
But the biggest thing I took away is that my fondness for Shabazz Napier knows no bounds ans only increases every time he opens his mouth. Part of me is starting to wonder if he's just a 20-year-old version of Jim Calhoun. They're both from Boston, they both have serious impulse control issues, and they both are going to do speak their mind and they'll be happy to let anyone who disagrees know what they can do with themselves.
A couple quotes will suffice to illustrate my point. Here's Shabazz on UConn's postseason ban:
It doesn't really matter what players think anymore. I mean, I don't think it ever did, but this is a great example of not caring what the players have to say. I feel as though, as players, you can't talk, you can't say much...it only gets you in trouble. There's nothing we can really do. I wish there was, but you really can't.
And here he is on the departure of several teammates:
"It's sad that we can't play in the NCAA tournament or the Big East tournament, but those are things you have to deal with. Like I said, some people deal with them, some people run away. It's how you're born. It' s how you live your life."
Never let it be said the man doesn't speak his mind.
*I actually spent two summers in Storrs and in reality it's stellar. Is it empty? Entirely, but the campus is beautiful, the weather is nice, and if you're an upperclassman the chances are good that you'll have several friends around to enjoy it with. Pay heed undergrads: if your best option is going home for the summer, don't. You won't regret a few more months on campus.