JOE D’S NOTEBOOK

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THURSDAY- JANUARY 3RD-  Happy New Year! I hope 2013 has gotten off to a good start for you! It’s been a while since I have posted so there is a lot to get to. Let’s have at it.

2012 ended with the great news that Kevin Ollie had received a five-year contract extension as men’s basketball coach. You would have to look long and hard to find someone who didn’t think this was great news. KO has done all the right things since taking over for Jim Calhoun in September. Anyone who felt he wasn’t prepared for a job like this was dead wrong. He is the right man at the right time. His players play their butts off for him. It’s not the most talented UConn team but there might not be many others that have played this hard. That’s because of KO. He is the epitome of what you want your head coach to be, both on and off the floor.

Tuesday’s loss at Marquette was a heart breaker for the Huskies. Give the Golden Eagles credit for making the plays in overtime. But give UConn credit from coming back from a pair of 10 point deficits in the second half. Shabazz Napier was terrific and Enosch Wolf continued his development in the middle. You can debate all night long if UConn should have fouled Junior Cadougan prior to the final shot. I wouldn’t have because UConn is so vulnerable rebounding that there is no guarantee they would have grabbed the rebound when he intentionally missed the second shot. He was a 17 percent three-point shooter on the season so the odds the shot wouldn’t have gone in where in the Huskies favor.

The officials gaffe at the beginning of overtime was inexcusable. How the three striped shirts all missed that the teams were headed in the wrong direction was one thing. But not giving UConn the two points on the goal tend, and then giving Marquette the ball underneath its own basket compounded the error. The officials get paid four figures to know the rules. And two of the officials on that crew act as if they created college basketball. Not exactly a shining moment for Big East officials.

I don’t want to say I told you so…but I will. I never,ever thought that Boise State or San Diego State would ever play a game in the BIG EAST. It was a crazy concept to begin with. The conference is spinning its wheels. It’s not good.

But the idea from some of the Catholic 7 that leaving the Big East will allow them to become relevant in college basketball is a joke. Providence, Seton Hall and De Paul haven’t been a player for ages. And still won’t be.

Good luck to both Don Brown and Clayton White in their new jobs at Boston College and North Carolina State. Both are good men who got results. The loss of Brown is an especially difficult one for the UConn football program. The man was passionate about his craft and the players loved playing for him. Good luck to both of them.

What can you say about the UConn women. They go on the road and hammer the #1 team in the nation, not just beating Stanford but holding them to 35 points. Geno Auriemma’s team has great scoring depth and balance and like the men’s team has great chemistry.

The bullseye is squarely on the back of L.J.Mazzilli after being named Big East Baseball Pre Season Player of the Year. “Maz” returned to UConn despite being a ninth round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins. My guess is that he will have a terrific season for Jim Penders nine. And if the pitching comes thru, the sky is the limit for the Huskies.

Finally, a word about my mentor,colleague and friend Arnold Dean who passed away last month. There will never be a kinder, gentler soul than “The Dean”. I am thankful to have been blessed to know Arnold. He was simply the best.

On to 2013!!

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