The New Haven Register ran this story earlier this week.http://www.newhavenregister.com/articles/2012/04/23/sports/doc4f95f47698f89205288194.txt?viewmode=fullstoryUCONN MEN'S BASKETBALL: Sense of stability would help Huskies
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
David Borges, Register Staffdborges@nhregister.com
/ Twitter: @DaveBorges
Kevin Ollie, left, would be Jim Calhoun's choice as a 'coach-in-waiting' should UConn decide to go that route.(AP file photo/Jessica Hill)
Alex Oriakhi is going to the University of Missouri, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond to the NBA. Roscoe Smith is off to other pastures, as well, where he’ll presumably be allowed to play his preferred small forward position, rather than power forward.
And Michael Bradley may be moving closer to his Tennessee home, though there’s still a chance he stays at UConn.
Jim Calhoun? No definitive answer yet, and possibly none for a while. Heck, he didn’t officially announce he was returning to coach another season last year until September (not long after Drummond had committed to UConn).
But the longer Calhoun waits to decide whether he’ll return for another year, another couple of years, or simply retire, the more UConn gets burned on the recruiting trail. Just ask a prep school coach who has had several players recruited by the Huskies over the years.
“If you’re asking me as someone who would advise a kid, I’d have a hard time telling him he’s going to play for Jim Calhoun for four years,” the coach said. “And I don’t think, unless they have a much better year next year, that he’s going to have a guarantee that he’s going to be able to name a successor. Those are pretty big sticking points.”
Those around the program are looking — practically begging — for some sort of stability to be instituted with the program. Recruits know Calhoun, who turns 70 next month, won’t be around forever, but if UConn were to name a “coach-in-waiting,” so to speak, it could go a long way towards easing recruits’ minds.
“Any time you can show continuity, where the program is going to be, you allow a kid to make a four-year decision — regardless of whether he wants to be in college for four years,” said the prep coach.
While assistant coach Glen Miller has an impressive resume as head coach at both Brown and Penn, Kevin Ollie would almost certainly be the choice as the program’s coach-in-waiting. Although he had never before coached at any level before being hired as a UConn assistant two years ago, Ollie is a respected former UConn player and 13-year NBA veteran who has already made splashes on the recruiting trail.
While replacing Calhoun with a sexy name like VCU’s Shaka Smart might make more headlines, keeping things in the UConn family might be a more reasonable way to go in the long run “so that your program isn’t being set back four years, instead of just one,” said a source close to the UConn program.
Calhoun wants Ollie to be the man, but it’s unclear how school president Susan Herbst and new athletic director Warde Manuel feel about it. Manuel was said to be lukewarm to the coach-in-waiting idea at first, but has been able to spend some quality time with Ollie lately that could change his mind. Continued...
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Of course, Calhoun is still the Huskies’ head coach and still has two more years left on his contract, which he has said in the past he intends to honor. He was in Pittsburgh this past weekend watching 6-foot-11 recruit Bradley Hayes play in the Under Armour Hoop Group Jam Fest, and there’s no reason to believe, at this point, that he won’t be coaching UConn for at least another season.
UConn currently has eight players on scholarship for next season — Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, Niels Giffey, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, Enosch Wolf, Holy Cross transfer R.J. Evans and incoming freshman Omar Calhoun of New York City.
Bradley has asked for and received a release from his scholarship and is looking into transferring to a school closer to his Chattanooga, Tenn., home, so that he can be closer to his ailing grandmother, who has cancer. He has visited Western Kentucky, and Belmont and UT-Chattanooga have also called to inquire about the 6-10 sophomore. However, UConn is making an effort to keep Bradley in Storrs by mapping out a schedule that would allow him to fly back to Tennessee every few weeks while maintaining his summer school and workout schedules.
The Huskies will still be penalized a scholarship next season due to NCAA violations in the recruitment of Nate Miles, meaning they have either three or four to dole out (depending on Bradley’s decision). The school is still in the mix with two prized big man recruits — Hayes and Chris Obepka of Long Island. But if the Huskies don’t land a big name this spring or summer, they’ll likely save some scholarships for the following season when they should be back to the full allotment of 13.
That should give the program the ability to attract some top recruits for 2013-14. Provided the Huskies can show the program has some stability moving forward, that is.
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