Rodney Purvis couldn't put on the UConn jersey and play in games last season, so he had to make each behind-the-scenes moment count.

Late at night, sometimes after midnight, he and Ryan Boatright would walk back to Gampel Pavilion, turn on the lights and go at it, man on man.

"Not many people know this," Purvis said. "Me and Boatright were in the gym every single night, basically beating each other up, some days going back to the room not speaking to each other because one of us got the better of the other one that day. … I just appreciate Boatright. He's a great guy and I can't wait to play alongside him."

Purvis, who transferred from North Carolina State in April 2013, had to sit out last season, and had surgery in December to repair a torn labrum and stabilize his left shoulder. All the rehab work, plus the conditioning with strength coach Travis Illian, has Purvis (6 feet 4, 205 pounds) in prime shape. He played a little in a pro-am league back home in North Carolina this summer, and on Saturday he appeared in the Greater Hartford Pro-Am at Crosby High in Waterbury, scoring 26 points and showing some of the nifty moves that made him an elite recruit.