UConn embodies Danny Hurley’s relentlessness

UConn embodies Danny Hurley's relentlessness

The Connecticut Huskies have seized the character, and the eagerness, of their coach. They arrive after you. They get after you. They beat you up inside. They put on you down exterior. They lead you by a few factors and you work: we’ll be tremendous.

A couple of minutes later, you’re down 10.

A couple of minutes after that, you’re down 15.

And earlier than it, Danny Hurley and his Huskies are simply steamrolling over you. There have been numerous good tales scattered throughout the brackets at this NCAA Match. Proper now there may be one steamroller. There’s one beast. It’s headquartered in Storrs, Conn., and is certain for Houston subsequent week.

“We simply form of received again to the staff we had been early within the season,” Hurley mentioned within the jubilant aftermath of a 82-54 Elite Eight evisceration of Gonzaga that capped a merry tour by means of the West Area through which UConn took a blowtorch to 4 opponents, profitable by a mean of twenty-two ½ factors per sport.

“The Huge East is the perfect convention within the nation and we went by means of some struggles,” Hurley mentioned. “However as soon as we received out of that league and began taking part in nonconference groups once more, we had been OK.”

It’s a return to splendor for UConn, which has gained 4 NCAA Tournaments since 1999, however had stumbled upon tough instances when it spent a number of sad years in exile within the AAC within the latter days of the Kevin Ollie period. Now UConn is again as a foundational member of the Huge East, and a Closing 4 entrant, and the single-hottest basketball staff on the planet.

UConn coach Dan Hurley celebrates after their 82-54 victory over Gonzaga to clinch a berth in the Final Four.
UConn coach Dan Hurley celebrates after their 82-54 victory over Gonzaga to clinch a berth within the Closing 4.
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“I can’t wait to climb that ladder,” Hurley mentioned of the nets beckoning to be reduce.

Should you bear in mind Hurley as a participant, that is all acquainted to you. He was all the time a bulldog, all the time led along with his coronary heart. It wasn’t sufficient that he was Bobby Hurley’s child brother, he was additionally Bob Hurley Sr.’s youthful son.

The Hurleys of Jersey Metropolis have lengthy been one in all basketball’s royal households, however they’ve all the time been way more salt-of-the-earth than to-the-manor-born. None extra so than Danny, who ran the present for P.J. Carlesimo again at Seton Corridor, who spent 10 years mastering the craft of teaching at Newark’s St. Benedict’s Prep earlier than hitting the bottom working as a head coach at Wagner, after which at Rhode Island.

Now he’ll coach within the Closing 4. Son of a legend. Sonofagun.

“One factor no person will ever be capable of accuse Danny of,” his father informed me final yr, “is that he ever rode my coattails, or rode Bobby’s coattails.”

The outdated man laughed at that.

“Really,” he mentioned, “I’d wish to see somebody strive.”

UConn coach celebrates with his team after their Elite Eight win over Gonzaga.
UConn coach celebrates along with his staff after their Elite Eight win over Gonzaga.
Getty Photographs

Fifty-three weeks earlier, the Huskies had crashed and burned in Buffalo, first-round upset losers towards New Mexico State within the 2022 NCAA Match. Bob was there watching his son, and felt sick for him. However not as sick as Danny did.

“It’s arduous,” he’d mentioned that evening. “[We had] a very good yr, however we performed poorly within the NCAA Match.”

The seeds had been sown that day. They bloomed in Albany, with blowout wins over Iona and St. Mary’s, and blossomed in Las Vegas, with annihilations of Arkansas and Gonzaga. The second half Saturday was a 20-minute joyride, the UConn contingent at T-Cell Area giddy with pleasure, the walk-ons getting loads of run. Danny and Bobby embraced on the finish.

So did Danny and Bob Sr. A lot to have fun, a lot to anticipate.

And why not? No basketball staff wherever on the planet is taking part in higher proper now. They’ll’t get to Houston quickly sufficient.