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March 23, 2014

Ex-coach steals some of UConn's thunder

(Continued)

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t talked to lots of other people with a tape recorder or those with a vested interest in basketball. And this is what I’ve heard from multiple people: Calhoun is telling them how great he feels. He says if he felt this good two years ago, when he had spinal stenosis, a fractured hip from his bike accident and a small growth removed from his lung, he wouldn’t have retired in the first place.

He clearly has the itch. And with Jim Calhoun, the scratch is almost always public.

Consider what some of his former players said Friday when asked about the reports as they prepared for Villanova on Saturday night in the third-round NCAA game.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that he misses the game,” Ryan Boatright said in the First Niagara Center locker room. “He’s around us all the time. You can see it in his eyes, when we were getting ready for the game (before St. Joe’s), then after we won the game. You could just see it. I know he misses coaching, but I don’t know what his process of thinking is right now.”

Niels Giffey?

“He actually asked me a similar question a little bit down the stretch when he looked into getting involved with certain national teams,” the German said. “You can just feel his desire to be involved in basketball because he loves this game and he’s such a great basketball mind.

“To be honest, at this point, I just want him to be happy.”

Do I think Calhoun is a distraction to the Huskies as they enter the Villanova game? No, that would be too strong a term. I do think he had a hand in needlessly upstaging the Huskies for at least one day. He just can’t stop himself.

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