Jim Calhoun enjoying the ride

HOUSTON -- Winding through a lengthy answer to a question about Kemba Walker's leadership skills, Jim Calhoun was discussing how brief his actual interaction with his players is.

"I have the kids for two, two-and-a-half hours a day," he said.

No one snickered or even so much as arched an eyebrow but Calhoun still hastily continued.

"I'll make sure it's only 20 hours a week, by the way," he said, alluding to the NCAA limit on practice hours. "I'm sorry. I lost myself. One of those things I've been used to for a while now."

He was joking, of course, but if you know Jim Calhoun even a little bit, you know that neither the aside nor the zinger was unintentional.

This has been a strange year for Calhoun, an emotional tornado for an emotional coach. He has been flogged publicly by the NCAA, charged with a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance; yet he has done perhaps the most masterful coaching job of his career, cajoling and coaxing a team that relies on four freshmen to a national championship game.

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