Jim Calhoun Rumors
What if Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant had played for the UConn Huskies in his one-and-done college season? Former UConn coach Jim Calhoun said Durant told his friend Rudy Gay, who starred at UConn, he was coming to UConn for the 2006-07 season before he ultimately landed at Texas where he averaged 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists and then became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
“He was going to come,” Calhoun, who had led UConn to NCAA titles in 1999 and 2004 ahead of the Durant recruitment, said in a phone interview after he made similar comments Saturday on Sirius NBA Radio. “He didn’t tell me personally, no. He told Rudy that.” He added: “That summer , he and Rudy Gay went to France, I believe it was, with Nike, and as he got off the plane [in the U.S.], he told Rudy, ‘I’m going to see you. I’m going to see you. I’m going to room with you.’ So they made their plans to be together.”
Jim Calhoun said of Kemba, “Once he gets his reads … I think he’s going to bring, like every player, what he does well. What Kemba does well is lead. Even though he’s only an eight-year veteran, he’s a hungry guy. He wants to win. I know talking to him the end of last season, ‘What’s going to make your mind up? Because it’s your decision, certainly not anybody else’s.’ And we talk a lot, and he says, ‘Winning. I want to win. I’m at that point in my career. God’s been good, and I’ve made money, but I want to win.’”
Jim Calhoun: “And he’s here to win, and that’s his whole goal is to win. Even when he came back from China, he was sneaking over here (to the Celtics’ practice facility) a lot more than a lot of guys would have after a whole NBA season and a month and a half playing for Team USA. He was over here trying to play the best he can.”
Expanding on Walker’s free agent call, Calhoun said, “He balanced the factors. He knew about Brad. I knew about Brad, coached against Brad. He knew who the coach was, he knew Danny (Ainge), he knew what the Celtics represent. And most importantly, I guarantee, I don’t care what anybody could have offered him, that was the No. 1 thing he kept mentioning, winning.”
Caron Butler’s statement on UConn’s Jim Calhoun. “Coach Calhoun single handily changed my life from the moment I stepped onto the University of Connecticut campus and joined his program. He knew my background, understood me as a young man, welcomed me with open arms and helped me embrace my talents. He was the first one to really believe in me and told me that I could have a great future in basketball if I continued to work hard. It was his guidance and direction that made me believe it too. He defines what a coach and player relationship can be when it is built on trust and mutual admiration. It is a special bond that allows for both people to have the opportunity to excel in their greatness. I will always be grateful to him for allowing me to have that with him.
Connecticut basketball alumni are expected show up in force for their former coach Jim Calhoun’s biennial charity game. Saturday evening’s event at the Mohegan Sun arena benefits the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the UConn Health Center. Players say it also gives them a chance to say thank you to the 70-year-old Calhoun, who has coached UConn to three national championships. Kemba Walker and Rudy Gay are among the NBA stars who have confirmed they will be there.