Q&A: Did Ollie’s contract status hurt UConn with Brandon Austin?

Q: Kevin, Do you think KOs contract situation affected Brandon Austin’s decision? That was a brutal loss for the program. Missed opportunities now, will really hurt in ’14 and ’15.

– Steve Connaughton

A: I can’t be completely sure because I never talked to Austin throughout his recruitment. After Xavier Rathan Mayes didn’t work out, I’m sure UConn had many of its eggs in Austin’s basket. The bottom line: It’s going to be difficult for Ollie to pull in big-time players until he gets a long-term deal. Right now, UConn has two commitments — Terrence Samuel and Kentan Facey — for 2013. If the the Huskies lose anyone early to the NBA Draft, they could be in trouble — talent-wise — in 2013-14. I’d expect a long-term deal for Ollie sometime in the middle of the season, and maybe when that happens, UConn can add pieces for 2013 and 2014.

As for Austin, he would have been a huge addition. I agree. But it’s possible that he just liked what Providence has going on, and that Ollie’s contract didn’t necessarily make-or-break his choice.