Fired former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie allegedly committed multiple NCAA violations that led to his dismissal last spring, according to a report released Wednesday by the Hartford Courant.
Ollie was dismissed from the position after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign as he’s been in a battle with the school over the remaining $10 million on his contract. Since Ollie was fired for just cause, the school is trying to withhold that remaining money as the case will proceed to arbitration. UConn president Susan Herbst upheld the school’s decision to terminate Ollie for just cause on Tuesday as he is still, technically, suspended without pay.
According to documents obtained by The Courant under a Freedom of Information Act request, Ollie and his staff committed multiple violations, including an impermissible phone call between Huskies legend Ray Allen and a recruit. Multiple UConn players were also sent to work with an outside trainer on campus, and later, in Atlanta. Another violation occurred when Ollie shot baskets with recruit James Akinjo during an official visit as the video was posted by Akinjo’s guardian on Twitter. The video was later deleted.
Among the 1,355 pages of documents that The Courant obtained, it includes the NCAA’s transcripts from their investigation as well as UConn’s case to terminate Ollie as head coach.
Perhaps the worst violation includes the alleged involvement of the trainer, as Ollie allegedly had a friendship with Derrek Hamilton. During the 2015-16 season, Hamilton allegedly worked out UConn players after hours during on-campus workouts as well as off-campus workouts. Three players also allegedly traveled to Atlanta to train with Hamilton as the players were fed, transported and housed for free — all of which are NCAA violations.
The NCAA has yet to proceed with any action against UConn as 900 pages of the report were based on the NCAA’s interviews and findings. Former UConn coach Glen Miller was also granted immunity in exchange for his testimony to the NCAA regarding the violations.
These alleged violations are a new step in the Ollie case, as the case does not look great for him to receive the remaining $10 million on the contract. Ollie and UConn still have to go through arbitration, but the release of these documents, and alleged violations, is very hurtful to Ollie’s case.
Memphis and new head coach Penny Hardaway continue to land quality talent as the Tigers pulled in Louisville transfer forward Lance Thomas on Friday.
A former top-150 recruit in the Class of 2017, the 6-foot-8 forward never got settled in with the Cardinals as he only played in 50 minutes during his freshman season.
Although NCAA rules normally force transfers to sit out a season if they haven’t graduated, Thomas plans on filing for a waiver that would allow him to play as early as next season, according to a report from Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. Thomas is arguing that his freshman season at Louisville changed after head coach Rick Pitino was fired before the season even started.
If Memphis gets Thomas next season, it would significantly help their frontcourt depth as Thomas could potentially see a healthy amount of minutes.
Since taking over the Memphis program a few months ago, Hardaway has landed a quality six-man recruiting class that includes three four-star guards. By getting Thomas, the Tigers bring in a frontcourt piece with some upside to compliment the group of freshman guards.
Thomas has three years of eligibility remaining — regardless of what the NCAA rules with a potential waiver — so Hardaway and his staff will have plenty of time to work with him over the next several years.
Wichita State forward Markis McDuffie is withdrawing from the 2018 NBA Draft and returning to school, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
The 6-foot-8 McDuffie dealt with a broken foot during his junior season that limited him to 22 games as he averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, a healthy McDuffie was far more consistent, and productive, as he averaged 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
With McDuffie coming back, the Shockers get a veteran forward who will be asked to be a team leader on a roster with a lot of new faces. McDuffie will likely be asked to be more of a scorer this season, as Wichita State’s roster will have some question marks entering 2018-19.
USF landed a major addition on Friday as the school announced the signing of Oklahoma State transfer guard Zack Dawson.
The 6-foot-3 Dawson is a former consensus top-100 prospect coming out of high school as he’ll have to sit out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer rules. A native of the region, Dawson will have three years of eligibility remaining once he’s able to play again.
Dismissed from Oklahoma State on Dec. 14 for violating team rules, Dawson averaged 4.4 points and1.6 assists per contest as he only suited up in five games for the Cowboys. Once Dawson is eligible to play for USF, he gives the Bulls a potentially dynamic backcourt along with rising sophomore guard David Collins.
“We are excited to welcome Zack back home to Florida as a member of the Bulls family,” USF head coach Brian Gregory said in a release. “He is a dynamic and versatile guard who can impact the game in a variety of ways. Zack comes from one of the best high school programs in the state, South Miami High School, so he immediately brings a championship attitude here to the University of South Florida.”
This is a really nice pickup for the Bulls, as they utilized a local transfer to help bolster the roster. Landing top-100 kids out of high school is going to be tough until USF boosts its basketball credibility. But getting a former top-100 player on the transfer market is a solid approach to building the Bulls into a respectable threat.
Cincinnati junior Jacob Evans will keep his name in the 2018 NBA Draft by signing with an agent.
The 6-foot-6 Evans told Yahoo’s Shams Charania on Saturday that he’ll be turning professional on the eve of an important week at the NBA’s draft combine in Chicago. Evans is one of the players scheduled to participate in the event, as a solid week there could solidify him as a first-round pick.
As a junior with the Bearcats, Evans was the team’s leading scorer as he put up 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 37 percent from three-point range. Also effective on the defensive end, Evans averaged 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
With NBA teams putting a premium on two-way wings, Evans has the potential to vault up draft boards with solid workouts over the next several weeks. Many mock drafts currently list Evans as a late first-round pick.
The loss of Evans is going to really hurt Cincinnati, as the Bearcats now lose three of their top four scorers from last season’s AAC championship team. Without Evans in the lineup, Cincinnati will have to rely heavily on veterans like Jarron Cumberland and Cane Broome to provide a scoring lift until some of the team’s unproven players begin to step up.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The American Athletic Conference will hold its men’s basketball tournament in a new arena in North Texas in 2020.
AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco announced Wednesday that Dickies Arena in Fort Worth has been selected to host the tournament for three years, starting in March 2020. That is only four months after the facility is scheduled to open.
On the same day of a groundbreaking ceremony for the 14,000-seat arena last April, the NCAA announced that first- and second-round games of the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament would be held there. The NCAA women’s gymnastics championships are scheduled there from 2020-22.
The closest AAC school to the new arena is SMU, with its campus in Dallas about 40 miles away.
Orlando will host the 2018 AAC tournament, which moves to Memphis in 2019.