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Connecticut reportedly signs coach Kevin Ollie to multi-year extension

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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_

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.