No, your eyes aren't playing a trick on you. Today and forever you have the opportunity to purchase a t-shirt honoring UConn's Niels Giffey and the powerful man-beard which has propelled him to great heights. Growing the beard has bestowed upon him the ability to drain buckets and dunk on fools.
Neils was part of a heralded UConn recruiting class which included Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, and Roscoe Smith. He chose UConn over UCLA, Gonzaga, Louisville and Michigan, so you knew he was good. His career at UConn got off to a fast start with a 14 point effort in a win over Kentucky in the Maui Invitational. In the National Championship game against Butler, Giffey scored 4 points and hauled in 6 rebounds. Beast.
So basically, UConn adds Niels Giffey and we win a championship. Coincidence? I think not.
Giffey went into the next season beardless, and unsurprisingly, wasn't able to accomplish all that much in his sophomore campaign. He played in fewer games and unlike his freshman year where he started 10 games, didn't start once in the 2012 season.
In his junior year Niels started showing signs of gradual improvement- he even had a 10 rebound performance. In those dark times, UConn wasn't very good at rebounding yet Niels dedicated himself to it. The scrappy young forward was the consummate glue guy- the kind of player you absolutely need to win a(nother) title.
Flash forward to this season, Niels is asserting himself. He is draining threes (except for last night- oh well) at an alarming rate, and at times early in the season he was our best offensive player (only half-kidding). Well, what changed? Um, duh! His badass facial hair!
As we approach the end of Giffey's final season as a Husky, The UConn Blog felt it was appropriate to find a way for the fans to express their appreciation for one of the Huskies' unsung heroes. Senior Night is fast approaching, so buy your shirt now!
If you can't get it in time for Senior Night, there's a whole AAC and NCAA Tournament to wear it for and a lifetime of good memories that the shirt will illicit thereafter. Years from now you will be strolling through Calhoun Arena to catch UConn play a heated Western Hemisphere Conference game and when you run into a fellow old-timer wearing the #NFG shirt, you can wax poetic on all the great times and the amazing run Giffey had leading UConn to the 2014 National Championship.
UPDATE: This shirt is popular! Dozens of people have bought it, including former UConn Men's Basketball player Leon Tolksdorf, who is seen here sporting the #NFG shirt with the man himself.