Dan Hurley holds his hands in a diamond above his head, yelling across the court for his team to follow the play. Within two seconds, his hands move to his head and he spends the rest of the possession looking at the floor. His team did not score.
It seems like he throws his hands up after every play. Depending on the context, it could mean “You gotta be kidding me,” or “Whatever, man” or “Well, I’m glad they finally did what they were supposed to.”
Hurley takes pride in the simple things. Offensive rebounds, hustle plays, throwing yourself on top of innocent cheerleaders to save a ball from going out of bounds. When Christian Vital did just that, Hurley came running over to help him up as the officials called the media timeout. And what did he say to his player?
“NICE F-ING PLAY!”
I’m no lip-reader, but I can tell when somebody drops the f-bomb. Hurley does that every other word.
The score is 18-12. Sidney Wilson doesn’t box out on a Lafayette possession, giving up two offensive boards. Hurley points at him and probably says something profane. After the media timeout, Wilson immediately heads to the bench.
Hurley takes a long drink of orange Gatorade following that timeout. UConn gives up another offensive rebound and a second chance bucket, and there’s nothing Hurley can do but stare and hope that his silence speaks volumes.
Christian Vital has all the control in the possession after UConn takes a 27-14 lead. As he’s dribbling around on the wing, gearing up to take a shot, he travels. Immediately, Hurley taps Brendan Smith to replace him after the media timeout. In the huddle, Hurley walks through the circle, straight over to Vital, and tells him to take a seat.
The score is 32-16. Wilson gets subbed back in and lingers around half court while Lafayette brings up the ball. Hurley tucks his legs in and jumps off the ground to tell him to put some pressure on and guard his man. Wilson comes up to him during some Lafayette free throws to see what he’s doing wrong. Hurley says a few words, but he just shakes his head.
After a rebound, he screams “PASS IT!” to Alterique Gilbert as he runs through transition. You’d think the best passer on the team would know that, right?
Hurley really got his cardio for the day in, jumping all around when the Huskies were on defense. He screams, “DO SOMETHING!”
“ALL THE WAY UP! ALL THE WAY UP!”
“LET’S GO, YES!” He says this to Vital after he forces a turnover. He gives him a nice slap on the ol’ behind. That draws a laugh from us on press row.
The score is 45-27, and there is one second left in the half. Eric Cobb commits a foul. Hurley, in complete disbelief, turns to the bench and asks, “Why would you do that? Why would you foul with two seconds left?”
Then, after the buzzer, he says it to Cobb, but with a few f-bombs in between every word.
“He’s just setting the right example,” Jalen said about his coach. “You can’t just do it one day and then later on throughout the season, when people forget about it, you can’t just shy away from it. He’s just setting the right example for us as players that we have to be consistent.”
If Hurley is anything, he is consistent. In the first possession of second half, Gilbert steals the ball and then lightly lays one in. As Lafayette brings the ball back up, Hurley begins a 100-meter sprint next to the Lafayette player he wants Gilbert to guard, only to come to a screeching stop at half court and stand upright as if nothing just happened.
The score is 58-31. On a possession with a lot of passing between Tyler Polley and Vital, it ends with Vital hitting a 3-pointer and Hurley clapping a lot. But then, after Vital misses a trey on the next possession, a Lafayette player is able to get down the court because Gilbert wasn’t covering him. Hurley jumps off the ground and screams for Gilbert to get to him. Lafayette scores.
There was a moment, sometime around when UConn took a 30-point lead, that the Huskies took their foot off the gas pedal. Surprisingly, Hurley kind of did the same; after giving up an offensive rebound and a second-chance bucket, he didn’t go red in the face. When the team hit the floor for a loose ball, he calmly clapped his hands.
By the end of the game, he was telling his team on the floor—which consisted of Tarin Smith, Brendan Adams, Kassoum Yakwe, Sidney Wilson and Kwintin Williams—to calm down. Quite ironic, but he was right. It was 65-36 and Yakwe and Williams were flailing around just to get to the basket.
By the end of it all, UConn came out with a 90-63 victory. Hurley shook the hands of the opposing coach and players, then went behind the bench and began to socialize. His team is now 7-2. He’ll celebrate the victory, but when tomorrow comes around, he’ll get right back at it.
He’s got another win to get.