Sunday, March 22, 2009

Calhoun Bribes His Way Out of Hospital, Leads Huskies To Aggie Washout

Ahhnn, Fuck it.

I said it before, I'll say it again.

The UConn locker room is where tongue lashings light fires and Jim Calhoun rarely pumps the brakes on his verbal tires. It's where constructive criticism is heaped on players at a relentless pace, and the landscape becomes smothered in sarcasm.

Thursday, however, Calhoun was singing a different tune. After feeling lousy and spending his Thursday at the University of Pennsylvania hospital for observation, a well-rested Calhoun lauded his players.

Albeit they shot a woeful 23-for-39 from the free throw line, the ailing coach was in good spirits following the Huskies' 103-47 sabotage of Chattanooga.

"You deserved everything you got," Calhoun told his team via cell phone speaker. "Congratulations. I'm looking forward to seeing you." Calhoun got his wish yesterday, as George "Good Cop" Blaney--an oldworld basketball nanak whose presence o ccasionally takes some sweat off UConn's back--was relegated to his role of assistant.

The Huskies, a team burning to reverse the George Mason curse and snare Calhoun his third national championship, tormented Texas A&M to the tune of a 99-62 clobbering. Jeff Adrien, the first player to talk to Calhoun after the Chattanooga win (via cell phone), turned in one of his best performances during his four-year stay at UConn.

The muscle-bound forward was lighting up the Aggies with his mid-range game, hitting 11 of 16 from the floor and finishing with 23 points.

A.J. Price, who seems to thrive in big stage games of this ilk, dropped a game-high 27 points and canned four treys.

Stanley "Sticks" Robinson, whose minutes dipped during a January-February drought, played 35 minutes and added 12 points. Robinson, a feast or famine forward, hasn't shown this type of consistency all year. Calhoun, 66, has had his fair share of health problems.

He admittedly lost his patience trying to convince workers at the University of Pennsylvania hospital to let him leave and coach his kids to the win Saturday. "I bribed my way out of there as quick as I could," Calhoun told the New York Post’s Steve Serby.

"I started bargaining, using tickets, anything I possibly could to get out of there as quick as I possibly could . . . T-shirts being sent to their children, their next of20kin . . . anything I could think of . . . to get out of there as early as I can."

There were no verbal lashings yesterday. No player in the UConn locker room was put on blast by their coach. Nothing of the sort. Just a dominant UConn team that's burning to give their sizzling senior group (Price, Adrien, Austrie) and possibly their coach a memorable sendoff.