STORRS - When given a chance to play, UConn sophomore forward Kwintin Williams usually seems to display the kind of energy and effort that coach Kevin Ollie frequently preaches about.
But when the next game comes along, Williams is often buried back on the Huskies’ bench.
“It’s just consistency. As a coach, I make a decision, along with my coaching staff. We go by feel,” Ollie said in explaining his decision to limit Williams’ time.
Judging by his performance Sunday in the Huskies’ 83-79 loss to Memphis, the 6-foot-7 Anchorage, Alaska, native could be in line for more playing time.
“I thought he played tremendous,” Ollie said. “Hopefully he comes back tomorrow with the same practice, playing with that energy, and he’ll definitely be playing the next game.
“But we go off of practice in this program,” Ollie continued. “I’m not saying he wasn’t practicing hard but we have to see that each and every day, the evidence of him coming in and working hard.”
Apparently Williams’ efforts in practice aren’t up to Ollie’ standards.
Williams had eight four points and eight rebounds in a similar spot Feb. 10 against Wichita State, and was the only player to earn much post-game praise from coach Kevin Ollie for his performance.
But despite that seemingly breakthrough performance, Williams played just four minutes in the Huskies’ next game against Tulsa. He didn’t play at all three days later against East Carolina.
Ollie’s starting lineup has been as interchangeable as any other coach’s in the nation, and many thought Williams had perhaps even earned a starting role. But not only didn’t he start, for some reason Williams has been unable to even get a whiff of meaningful minutes for the Huskies despite some seemingly improving play.
Williams made it clear after Sunday’s game that he trusts Ollie’s decision-making.
“I feel like he does what’s best for the team and what he thinks we need to do to win. I just believe in him,” Williams said.
UConn will play its home finale Wednesday night against Temple. The Huskies will honor five players and their head manager before the game.
Terry Larrier, who will earn his degree this spring, will walk out and be acknowledged. UConn officials won’t confirm it, but it’s a sign that Larrier is leaving the program after the season.