Connecticut has signed head coach Kevin Ollie to a five-year extension after he guided the Huskies to a 9-2 record to begin the 2012-13 season, Andy Katz of ESPN.com is reporting.
Ollie took over as the head of the Connecticut program after longtime coach Jim Calhoun retired in September and he was granted a seven-month deal at the time. An official announcement from the school is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.
Prior to taking over as the head coach, Ollie had long-standing roots with the university. He played for the Huskies from 1991-95 and graduated from the school before going undrafted in the 1995 NBA Draft. He would later play in the NBA for more than a decade.
Ollie then joined the UConn staff as an assistant in 2010 and was the heavy favorite to become Calhoun’s successor when he retired.
Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier told NBCSports.com at Big East media day that players on the team were motivated in part to help Ollie earn a long-term deal.
Ollie has helped the Huskies to a strong start, despite no possibility of postseason play. Connecticut is barred from the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament due to an NCAA ban that stems from a low APR score.
“I don’t see obstacles, I see opportunity,” Ollie said at Big East media day. “It’s always been tough. I don’t see it like a lot of other people see it.
“Whether it’s seven months, seven years, or 27 years [at Connecticut], I’m going to take it one day at a time and I’m not going to take it for granted.”
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.