UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

uconn
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
0 Comments

STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Jahari Long following Willard from Seton Hall to Maryland

Wagner v Seton Hall
Getty Images
0 Comments

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Guard Jahari Long is transferring from Seton Hall to Maryland, following in the footsteps of coach Kevin Willard.

The Terrapins hired Willard following the end of last season. They announced the signing of the 6-foot-5 Long on Monday. Long played two seasons under Willard for Seton Hall.

He played only five games last season before a right knee injury ended his season. Long had surgery in December. He’s expected to be back at full strength for 2022-23.

“Coach Willard knows my history and I appreciate him welcoming me to the team at Maryland,” Long said. “He has pushed me to improve and stayed loyal to me over the years and I appreciate that. Now, I’m ready to show the Terp fans my skills as a guard and help this team win.”

Duke hires former Nike, NBA staffer to aid players with NIL

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

DURHAM, N.C. – New Duke men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer has hired a former Nike and NBA staffer for a newly created role with duties that include overseeing name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities for Blue Devils players.

The school announced the hiring of Rachel Baker as the program’s first general manager Tuesday. Duke described Baker’s role as helping players “enhance their personal and professional skillsets,” including NIL partnerships through her experience in sports marketing.

In a statement, Scheyer pointed to Baker’s “expertise in the business of basketball” as a resource for players and their families. It comes ahead of the first anniversary of college athletes being allowed to profit from their fame through NIL endorsements.

Baker spent eight years at Nike working with grassroots partnerships and event strategy for the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), which features top prep prospects. She also managed strategic initiatives between Nike and NBA star Kevin Durant, one of the apparel maker’s signature athletes with his own shoe line.

Baker’s year with the NBA included work on a task force for rebranding the WNBA.

Carey, Holloway become latest Georgetown players to transfer

Seton Hall Pirates v Georgetown Hoyas
Getty Images
1 Comment

WASHINGTON – Don Carey and Collin Holloway became the fifth and sixth Georgetown basketball players to enter the NCAA transfer portal this spring.

The school announced the moves Friday. Kobe Clark Timothy Ighoefe, Tyler Beard and Jalin Billingsley already entered the portal, and leading scorer Aminu Mohammed opted to test the NBA draft waters.

Carey previously declared for the NBA draft and is keeping that option open. He has one year left of NCAA eligibility after playing for Mount St. Mary’s and Siena before Georgetown.

The 22-year-old guard appeared in 54 games and started 48 for Hoyas, averaging 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game. Holloway averaged 9.2points a game during his Georgetown career.

The Hoyas brought in guard Brandon Murray from the portal after he decided to leave LSU, which fired Will Wade. Kevin Nickelberry, who was named Wade’s interim replacement and coached the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament, joined Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing’s staff.

Ewing is going into his sixth season as coach, with the highlight of his tenure being a surprise run to the Big East Tournament title in 2021. Georgetown went 6-25 overall and 0-19 in the Big East last season.

Georgetown lands ex-LSU guard Brandon Murray out of transfer portal

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Brandon Murray has chosen to transfer to Georgetown, a potential boost for the once-storied program coming off a 6-25 season with no victories in the Big East.

The former LSU guard picked Georgetown over Tennessee and Illinois. The Hoyas announced Murray’s decision, and he tweeted, “DC WHAT UP !!”

“I’m happy to welcome Brandon Murray to the Hilltop,” coach Patrick Ewing said. “He chose Georgetown, and we want to make him feel right at home. I am excited to see what he can do here and he is an important building block in our efforts to return this program back to national prominence.”

Murray was considered one of the top players in the NCAA transfer portal. He could have a role right away at Georgetown after leading scorer Aminu Mohammed decided to test the NBA draft waters.

A Baltimore native, Murray was named to the Southeastern Conference’s all-freshman team. The 6-foot-5 guard started 32 games for LSU last season and averaged 10 points a game.

Several LSU players entered the transfer portal in the aftermath of the firing of coach Will Wade amid what the school called “serious” allegations of NCAA violations. Assistant Kevin Nickelberry took over as the interim replacement and coached the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament.

Nickelberry joined Georgetown as an assistant and recruiting coordinator on Ewing’s staff in late March. Ewing at the time expressed confidence Nickelberry would be able to bring in top-level talent, and attracting Murray to join him from LSU is the first evidence of that.

Ewing is going into his sixth season at Georgetown, with the highlight of his tenure being a surprise run to the Big East Tournament title in 2021. The Hoyas’ .194 winning percentage this past season, made possible by an 0-19 record in conference play, was the second worst in program history.

Villanova’s injured Moore gets warm welcome at Final Four

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

NEW ORLEANS — An enduring image of the NCAA Final Four will be Villanova coach Jay Wright sitting on the bench with his arm around injured starting guard Justin Moore shortly before tip-off of the Wildcats’ semifinal matchup against Kansas.

His absence from the court was conspicuous during the first half, when Kansas quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead while Villanova’s offense looked stagnant.

Moore was a second-team All-Big East selection this season. The 6-foot-4 Moore averaged 34.4 minutes, 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per outing in 36 games. But he tore his Achilles in the final minute of Villanova’s regional final victory win over Houston last weekend.

Moore was dribbling against a defender and appeared to slip and fall. He then went back down after trying to get up.

Before the game, Moore spoke about the emotional support he’s been receiving from his family, Villanova and beyond.

“It was great for me personally. I needed people by my side. I was feeling hurt and down,” Moore said. “Them saying they love me and they have my back and giving encouraging words, that really helped me.”

Well-wishers have included NBA star Kevin Durant, who experienced a similar injury while playing for Golden State in 2019.

“He called me right away. He facetimed me,” Moore said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I was still a little bit off from the medicine. That, right there, kind of snapped me out of it. It was a great feeling.”

“He was telling me that my career isn’t over. It’s just begun,” Moore continued. “An injury like this, a torn Achilles, you can come back from it. In previous years, people would think your career is over, but he was letting me know that my career isn’t over. He said I can always hit him up for advice.”

Moore also described his recollections of the moment the injury happened.

‘It was really nerve-wracking and hard for me. We were winning that game and playing great basketball as a team and going into the Final Four,” Moore said. “People saw me crying and stuff. It was a lot of emotions going through. I had to sit back and take it all in.

“My family was there and my teammates were there to help me. If I didn’t have them by my side, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

CHURCH STATEMENT

Country singer Eric Church took considerable heat in San Antonio for postponing a sold out concert in the city on Saturday night so he could go to the Final Four instead.

Church is a North Carolina native and has been a lifelong Tar Heels fan. And he wasn’t going to miss North Carolina’s historic first NCAA Tournament clash against in-state rival Duke in the national semifinals.

Earlier Saturday, Church issued a public statement in which he thanked his fans in San Antonio for “letting me take my family to this game.”

“It took a minute to figure out how and when I could properly express my thanks,” Church said in the statement, who added that his way of doing so would be to hold a concert on Sept. 2 at the Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels. He described it as a “one of a kind free show for those of you who bought tickets and were planning to attend our cancelled San Antonio show.”