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.”
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
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