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.
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.
Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.
A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.