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NEW YORK -- Jim Calhoun still hasn't decided whether he will continue coaching UConn next season -- but he certainly sounds like someone planning to coach.
The 69-year-old Hall of Famer, who won his third national championship last month when his Huskies beat Butler in Houston, spoke animatedly about the players UConn has coming back next season and the schedule the team will be facing, meeting with reporters in Manhattan.
"I'm trying to do everything humanly possible right now to prepare ourselves like I'm the coach next year," Calhoun said.
Calhoun was in town to accept the New York Athletic Club's Winged Foot Award, given each year to the coaches of the NCAA men's and women's basketball national champions.
I'm trying to do everything humanly possible right now to prepare ourselves like I'm the coach next year.” -- UConn coach Jim Calhoun
It has been a very busy offseason for Calhoun so far, filled with events like this one, after he joined Adolph Rupp, John Wooden, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski as the only coaches to win three or more men's national titles. (He and his team were at the White House on Monday, to be honored by President Barack Obama.) That, said Calhoun, is a big reason why he hasn't made a final decision on his future yet.
"It's too close. The afterglow is still too good. So I've gotta get a little more distance away from it," Calhoun said. "I think June is a good month. I think I don't have that much planned in June. We've got a family vacation away, 10 days on the beach and all that kinda stuff. That'll be a good time. Because I haven't gotten away from the game.
"I've gotta remind myself ... that there are some things that aren't as pleasant, and you're not gonna win every game, and you're not always gonna have a Kemba [Walker] that you not only love as a kid, admire as a player, but can depend upon like a rock. So I don't wanna look at negativity, but I gotta look at realism. What would I feel like when I stepped on the court next year? And I don't know that right now. I know right now I'm kinda like in a dream world."
If Calhoun does come back, he won't have Walker, who is headed to the NBA after an incredible junior season, averaging 23.5 points per game. But almost every other contributor to last season's national title will return -- including rising sophomore swingman Jeremy Lamb, who blossomed as the season progressed.
Lamb could have gone to the NBA as well -- "He would have gone in the first round [of the draft] this year, that much I can guarantee you," Calhoun said -- but he elected to return to the Huskies.
"We expect him to be a 20-point [per game] scorer next year," Calhoun said.
Also, UConn will add 6-foot-2 freshman guard Ryan Boatright, the high school player of the year in Illinois, and the No. 73 player overall in his class, according to ESPNU's rankings.
"He's as incredible an athlete as you're gonna see," Calhoun said of Boatright.
And UConn has one more scholarship spot it can fill on its roster, after reserve guard Jamal McCoombs-McDaniel decided to transfer following his on-campus arrest for marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession on April 21.
"We can add one more [player], and we plan to," Calhoun said. "We're trying to figure out now, where we feel the most comfortable."
Calhoun admitted on Wednesday that one of his two sons would like him to retire, while the other would like to see him continue coaching. He also admitted that he has been approached by at least one television network, inquiring whether he'd be interested in doing some TV analysis work.
But he still sounds like a person planning to be working a sideline next season.
When asked by a reporter what would make him stay, considering all the goals he's already reached and the three championships he's already won, Calhoun answered with a poignant story, about a picture in the newspaper of Walker and his game-winning shot against Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament in March.
"I asked Kemba -- and I've done this with [former players] Ben [Gordon], Emeka [Okafor] -- to sign the picture for me. He signed it, 'Forever your son, Kemba.' That'd be a reason I wanted to continue to coach," Calhoun said. "'Cause if I can still have impact on the Kemba Walkers of the world, or the Jeremy Lambs of the world, the [Roscoe Smith] and those guys, then I'm doing something every day worthwhile."Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.