UConn head coach Kevin Ollie had large shoes to fill when he replaced former head coach Jim Calhoun before the 2012-13 season, but the former Huskie and NBA journeyman passed every test with flying colors in leading UConn to the 2014 National Title.
Now, Ollie will reportedly be rewarded with a new contract, as the 41-year-old head coach and UConn officials begin to discuss the parameters of a new contract, according to multiple reports.
According to a report from ESPN‘s Andy Katz, Ollie could see his salary double from the $1.25 million that he made during the 2013-14 season. Ollie was on a seven month contract with the Huskies in his first season before UConn gave him a five-year deal worth $7.5 million in December of 2012.
Katz is reporting that UConn could pay Ollie somewhere between $2.4 million and $2.6 million annually with the new deal, as the Huskies look to reward Ollie for winning a national championship while also making him the highest paid head coach in the American Athletic Conference.
But there’s another big reason why UConn could be re-working Ollie’s deal: The lure of the NBA.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Ollie could be pursued by the Los Angeles Lakers for their head coaching job, but Yahoo‘s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that no NBA team has formally reached out to get in contact with Ollie.
The Lakers previously paid former head coach Mike D’Antoni $12 million over three years, so money won’t be the reason Ollie turns them down if they choose to pursue him, but the UConn head coach is fiercely loyal and would need a significant reason to leave his alma mater for the NBA, according to Wojnarowski.
Other NBA teams will also have interest in Ollie if their head coaching jobs open up — and Ollie will listen, according to Wojnarowski — but it will certainly take a lot to get him to leave Connecticut.
So if you’re Kevin Ollie, do you stay at your alma mater where you just won a national championship or do you bolt for the NBA when your stock is the perhaps the highest it will ever be?
If Ollie gets any serious interest or an offer from the Lakers — or anyone else in the NBA — that will be the big question.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: