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UConn men's notebook: Young knows all about UConn's frontcourt

Updated 7:25 pm, Friday, April 4, 2014
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HONEST GATOR: Florida senior Patric Young didn't mince any words when talking about UConn's frontcourt, which has done a decent job slowing down Iowa State's Melvin Ejam (seven points) and Michigan State's Adreian Payne (13 points, with nine points on 3-pointers) in the tournament.

In the first meeting, Young shot 6-for-10 from the field against UConn and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. When asked his memory of the UConn big men in the first game, he gave a short answer.

"I remember scoring 17 points," he said. "That's what I remember."

The Huskies' front line of senior Tyler Olander, sophomore Phil Nolan and freshman Amida Brimah appears to be of little concern for the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Gator muscle man.

"What we can take from learning from the first game from their front court is knowing that they have four main guys who score all the points and that doesn't include the frontcourt unless you want to count (6-9 DeAndre) Daniels as a front court player, but he plays a lot more like a guard and can shoot the ball really well," Young said. "We can load up a lot more to help (offset) their big guys Brimah, Olander. We can load up to give more help to the guards. We want to force (the big men) to take shots. We want to force anyone besides Shabazz (Napier) and (Ryan) Boatright to take shots. And Daniels."

TIGHT BOND: Head coach Kevin Ollie is not the only one with deep roots when it comes to the Husky program. His entire staff also played for and graduated from UConn. Associate head coach Glen Miller (1988) and assistant coach Karl Hobbs (1984) also coached Ollie when he played at UConn.

Assistant Ricky Moore is a 1999 graduate while director of administration Kevin Freeman finished in 2006 -- both won a national title at UConn in 1999 playing for Jim Calhoun.

"Oh, it's invaluable," Ollie said about the UConn connection. "I can't put a price tag on it. I can go through my coaching staff, two of my coaches coached me."

When Ollie first arrived as a player in Storrs in 1991, Miller helped him adjust to college.

"Glen Miller coached me my freshman year, my sophomore year when I didn't know anything," Ollie said. "I'm just walking around as a freshman and trying to find my way. Coach Calhoun is screaming at me and I didn't understand what he was saying. I'm glad Glen was there. Now he's on my staff."

Miller left in 1993 to become the head coach at Connecticut College, and that's when Hobbs joined Calhoun's staff.

"He coached me my junior and senior year," Ollie said. "That's when I really started taking off as a point guard and really establishing myself as a basketball player, a point guard.

"I love those guys to death. To see them on my staff now and then couple that with the younger coaches that I got on my staff, two of the guys who played on our 1999 national championship team.

"My coaching staff, I tell them they're the best in America because they are young, but they're all UConn guys," Ollie added. "It's a beautiful synergy that we all have because we all have that common denominator that we played for UConn."

WORTH NOTING: The possibility of Daniels leaving for the NBA after the NCAA tournament has created a little buzz, but the 6-foot-9 junior said he was more concerned with UConn in the Final Four right now. He's played well in the NCAA tournament (17 ppg, 6.8 rpgs), but one NBA scout said he was not sure where Daniels would even play at the next level. ¦ Creighton's Doug McDermott was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy Player of the Year on Friday along with receiving the Wooden Award. McDermott was named the AP Player of the Year Thursday.

-- WILLIAM S. PAXTON