Storrs — An exhausted DeAndre Daniels stretched out on the sidewalk outside of Gampel Pavilion shortly after finishing the annual Husky Run on Thursday.
Daniels stayed there for several minutes before moving to another spot where he continued to recover from the 3.4 mile run. For the second straight year, Daniels was the top finisher on the men’s basketball team, crossing the line in 18 minutes, 47 seconds.
The run sapped his energy.
“It was worth it,” said Daniels from a sitting position. “Me, being competitive, I’ve always liked to come in first in everything I do, no matter what I do. I had to come back out here and win it again because all the guys told me that they were going to beat me.”
Daniels, a sophomore forward, bettered his 2011 time of 19:31 and stayed close to the overall winner, UConn student Tim Isselee (18:39).
Sophomore Ryan Boatright was the second UConn player to finish with a time of 19:37. Junior Niels Giffey (20:18), freshman Leon Tolksdorf (20:20) and sophomore Brendan Allen (20:48) rounded out the top five Huskies.
Daniels will have an opportunity to play a significant role this season. He’s coming off what he considered a disappointing freshmen year during which he averaged 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds while appearing in 31 games, starting 12.
“This is going to be a big year for me,” Daniels said. “Since the summer, I’ve been working hard and trying to stay in shape and just work on my game.”
Evans’ never-ending run
Graduate student R.J. Evans of Salem is a newcomer to the UConn basketball scene. The former Holy Cross standout is quickly finding out he’s not in Worcester anymore.
Take the Husky Run.
Like most college basketball players, he’s not a big fan of running a distance longer than the length of a basketball court.
“I didn’t know what the course was like,” Evans said. “I felt like it was never ending my first time doing it. I’m definitely not a long distance runner. I like to run up and down the court. It was good to compete in the Husky Run.”
He finished in 25:02, making him the last Husky to cross the line.
Napier a spectator
As expected, junior Shabazz Napier sat out the Husky Run.
Napier, who had surgery last month to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, has been working out on his own. He hopes to participate in practice this weekend.
“It’s kind of frustrating, but it is teaching me to be patient…,” Napier said. “I want to be 100 percent. I feel like when I’m 100 percent I will definitely go out there and give it my all. And I’m close to it.”
News and notes
The Huskies wore blue t-shirts with “Talent is not enough” written on the back. … Gampel Pavilion doors open at 4 p.m. today for First Night festivities. … Highly-regarded recruit Noah Vonleh, a 6-8 forward, is expected to attend Saturday’s practice. … Other finishing times: freshman Omar Calhoun, 22:27; junior Tyler Olander, 22:28; freshman Phil Nolan, 23:35; and junior Enosch Wolf, 23:47.