With legendary coach John Calhoun leaving UConn amidst NCAA sanctions against the school, it seemed that Huskies basketball was going south. It very easily could have. However, coach Kevin Ollie, who took over for Calhoun, has made sure UCONN stayed on track by competing on a national scale. Already winning his first national championship, Ollie is on the fast track to become one of the top coaches in college basketball.
Having a postseason ban could have easily forced star Shabazz Napier to transfer to a team that he could win a national championship with. Coach Ollie convinced his star player that the Huskies was that team even though he would have to wait an extra year. It’s safe to assume that Napier is happy he was convinced by his new coach as he has now reached the mountaintop in college basketball. In fact, he was the star player on college basketball’s national champion.
Napier’s case is going to be a good recruiting pitch for Ollie going forward as he builds UConn basketball back up to the great program that it was. Of course, winning a national championship was already a huge step in that process. As the first No. 7 seed to ever win the title, UCONN capped off an unlikely season with an even more unlikely tournament run. This is the season that Ollie needed to put the Huskies back on the map.
Though it’s very early in his coaching career, Ollie already has some hardware for himself. There’s a good chance that he could have a couple more pieces in the next few years if he can motivate and coach the way he did this past season.