UConn and head coach Kevin Ollie prepare for the difficult task of trying to repeat as national champions this season, but the head coach doesn’t seem to be shying away from the challenge.
Speaking to a crowd at the Crown Plaza Hotel this week, Ollie mentioned what it would take to repeat.
“It’s hard to repeat,” Ollie said. “I told the players after last season, ‘Don’t get drunk off success – a lot of people get drunk off success.’
“A lot of people can do it when their back is against the wall. Everybody in this room can do it with their backs against the wall because we fight – we’re all fighters. But can you do it when you’re on top of the mountain? How do you stay there? You stay there with character. Talent will get you there; character will allow you to stay there. You stay there with character, you stay there with heart, you stay there with will.”
Ollie using this as a motivational tactic is a smart technique and he should have plenty of hungry players returning. Captain and starting guard Ryan Boatright still has pro aspirations after his senior year, guard Rodney Purvis redshirted last year and Sam Cassell Jr. is entering the program as a new recruit.
Without Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels, the Huskies will need some new players to step up as scorers in crunch time and Ollie spoke about both Boatright and Purvis to the crowd.
Boatright will be a big part of this season’s UConn team and figures to be the most important player on the roster.
From Amore on Ollie’s comments about Boatright:
“Then Ollie gave the crowd a player-by-player run-down of his roster. Ryan Boatright, the lone senior: ‘Will be an extension of me.’ During the summer, he had Boatright moderate conference calls with the team. ‘I want him to be a great listener,’ Ollie said.”
Ollie also spoke on his new transfer guard from North Carolina State, Rodney Purvis, who is a former McDonald’s All-American and could be a big-time scorer if he gets rolling.
“My Ferrari is out of the garage,” Ollie said of Purvis. “I get to drive my red Ferrari now. I don’t know how long we’re going to have him – you know, our guys go to the NBA.”
Napier might have moved on to the pros, but the Huskies still have a lot of talented guards in the fold for 2014-15. It will be interesting to see if they can get through the American and how they’ll look heading into the Tournament.