Nov. 9, 2012
RAMSTEIN, Germany --- Every so often, the airmen and women at the Ramstein Air Base get to take a day off from the rigors of military life and relax on what's known as Appreciation Day.
Friday was one of those days and in addition to recreation basketball games, a jumping house for the children of military families, and wrestling in inflated sumo wrestling suits, the military people got a visit from the UConn basketball team.
The Huskies, greeted by a rousing cheer when they were introduced to the crowd of a few hundred, signed autographs, posed for pictures, watched all the activities and mingled with those on hand.
"We can't give back enough to these people who are out here protecting us every day," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "We hope to honor them by giving them a great game to watch tonight."
UConn will open the 2012-13 season in the first Armed Forces Classic Friday night (6:05 p.m. tip on ESPN), challenging 14th-ranked Michigan State in a converted airplane hangar at Ramstein. The venue will seat some 3,100 people, mostly military personnel.
The Huskies will step foot on the game court for the first time on Friday afternoon during a one-hour shootaround, then they will attend a VIP function at the base Officers Club before their final preparation for the game, which will actually start on Saturday morning (12:05 a.m.), Germany time.