UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Kentan Facey might have had a limited on-court role in the UConn Huskies' run to a national championship, but it was an educational first season.
"I'm a lot more experienced coming into this season than last season," Facey said prior to the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Classic last Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. "I was aware of the high level that was needed to compete here, but that one year taught me a lot and I'm definitely feeling good about the position I'm in."
Facey has spent the summer working out in Storrs and attended summer classes with fellow sophomores Amida Brimah, Sam Cassell Jr. and Rodney Purvis along with freshmen Daniel Hamilton and Rakim Lubin.
"One year of lifting and stuff definitely helped," said Facey, who has added muscle and thickness to his 6-foot-9 frame. "I feel a lot stronger right now."
UConn coach Kevin Ollie said earlier this month at his golf tournament that Facey was having a productive off-season.
The Huskies will need help from Facey this season with DeAndre Daniels opting to forgo his senior season and Niels Giffey having graduated. UConn has a limited number of bodies in the frontcourt on its 10-man roster. Brimah, junior center Phil Nolan and Lubin are the only other options at the center/power forward spots.
"I've just been working on my whole game and try to do what I need to do to help the team as much as I can this season," Facey said. "The same thing we worked on last year, we are still working on this year, but the fact that DeAndre left means that everybody on the team, not just myself, will have to do a little more in order to be as good as we were last year."
Off the bench, Facey averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 23 games, scoring a career-high 10 points against South Florida in mid-February on 4-of-5 shooting. He also pulled down a career-best nine rebounds in a non-league game against Maine, but was the fourth or fifth frontcourt option on most nights.
Facey played just three minutes in the postseason -- two coming against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals and the other against Villanova in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
"Any basketball player would be frustrated about not playing, but it's just what you took from it," the 21-year-old Jamaica native said. "Coach Ollie always said to me was be ready for an opportunity and that's what I did the whole year."
Facey almost missed his freshman season at UConn due to eligibility issues related to his school in Jamaica, but was cleared to play a few weeks before the season. While he was waiting for clearance, Ollie delivered a similar upbeat message.
"He's one of the best coaches I've ever had at that," Facey said.