Kevin Ollie’s one-year contract has been a hot topic — nationally and locally — over the past few days. There seems to be a push within the UConn fanbase for a long-term deal, which would presumably help on the recruiting front. Between Ollie’s uncertainty and the deteriorating Big East, it must be awfully difficult for the Huskies to recruit right now.
I sought out some words of wisdom from Fox Sports national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels. Before we get into Daniels’ comments, some other recruiting notes.
*If Ollie does get an extension, don’t expect it to happen until first semester grades are released. A source familiar with the situation told Hearst Connecticut that the UConn administration wants to be sure the team is performing in the classroom under Ollie’s watch.
*Xavier Rathan Mayes, who selected Florida State over UConn and Illinois, divulged that Ollie’s contract situation “was an impact because it’s not a sure thing that he will be back.” No one in Brandon Austin’s camp wanted to comment. Austin, a 6-foot-6 guard, chose Providence over the Huskies in late November.
*Daniels on Ollie’s contract: “It’s incredibly unique. I haven’t seen anything like it outside of interim coaches. But, you know, I think very highly of Kevin Ollie as a coach and as a recruiter. I think they did him a disservice by giving him a one-year deal, but I also think he’s good enough at his job where he’s going to overcome it.
“It’s bound to have a little bit of impact (on recruiting), and I’m sure that opposing coaches are using it against them, but at the same time, I don’t think we should doubt Kevin Ollie. He’s a really good recruiter, he’s a guy who knows how to build relationships and is truly good at his job so while it may be a hindrance to him, I think it’s something he’ll end up overcoming.”
*Daniels on UConn’s recent classes: “In 2013, they have a guy in Kentan Facey who I think can help them. And in 2012, they have a guy in Omar Calhoun who is very talented. So they have a couple of guys who will be able to help them, but long-term not necessarily the success that UConn has had in the past 10 years on the recruiting trail.”
*Daniels on Facey and Terrence Samuel: “Facey is a guy who will give them some minutes right away. From a rebounding, shot-blocking standpoint, he can help them. He’s a good athlete, he’s bouncy and I think he can find some minutes. Later in his career, he’ll be a lot more effective than he is as a freshman, but that kind of goes for most guys…I think with Terrence Samuel, he’s a tough, hard-nosed player. I think later in his career at Connecticut he can help them. They needed a guard, they needed a guy that can handle some on-the-ball duties and Terrence Samuel can do that in a pinch.”
*Ollie on recruiting with one-year deal: “I talk about the attitude, what we do here on a daily basis. We develop our kids — the track record speaks for itself. Hopefully you come in here and trust that this coaching staff is going to be here for a long time.”