Kevin Ollie

Kevin Ollie believes he’ll be at UConn for duration of his five-year deal

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Kevin Ollie spurned the NBA two weeks ago, agreeing to a five-year deal with UConn.

Several NBA franchises had targeted Ollie as a potential coaching candidate following UConn’s unlikely run to its second National Title in four years. If NBA teams want to make another run at the NBA journeyman turned college coach, they might have to wait.

“I have a five-year contract and I believe I’m going to be here the whole five years,” Ollie told Don Amore of the Hartford Courant on Tuesday at a golf event in West Hartford.

“There’s no place else I’d rather be,” Ollie added. “Questions about leaving [UConn], I kept telling you all the same things and you kept coming up with other questions. But I’m not going anywhere.”

Ollie’s new deal, signed on May 22, runs through the 2018-2019 season. He will be paid $2.8 million in the first year of his new contract, making him one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in country. If Ollie, 41, were to make the jump to the NBA in any of the final three years of his deal, he would have to pay a buyout of $1 million.

The 13-year NBA veteran was linked to multiple coaching vacancies this offseason. The Cleveland Cavaliers, owner of the No. 1 overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft, were reportedly pursuing Ollie the hardest while the Los Angeles Lakers were considering reaching out to him.

In two seasons as the UConn head coach, Ollie has amassed a 52-18 record. Despite losing All-America point guard Shabazz Napier, the returning and incoming perimeter for the Huskies makes them a preseason top-20 team.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.