Tyler Olander Explains Spring-Break Arrest, "Disappointing" Junior Season
Not all of that may have been apparent last season, when he struggled through what he termed a "disappointing" junior campaign, then compounded things by being arrested down in Florida on spring break. Oh, and then there was that rap video (a little more on that later).
On Friday, Olander, DeAndre Daniels and new teammate Lasan Kromah were down at the Madison Hoop Dreams Basketball Camp, taking questions from campers and signing autographs. Afterwards, I asked Olander about the spring break incident.
"Wrong place, wrong time," he said. "Basically, all the UConn people were staying in two hotels at the same time. You needed a wrist band to get in the hotel. My girlfriend was in the hotel, I wanted to get up there with her and it was past the hour, so they wouldn't let me up."
Olander was arrested on trespassing charges. He was allowed to enter a pretrial diversionary program, and the charges were dropped.
The punishment from coach Kevin Ollie probably stung more. Olander was barred form the UConn locker room and from team activities for a month. He was also stripped of his captaincy, though Ollie told him that he could win it back.
Olander, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright served as team captains last season.
Olander is still recovering from surgery on his broken left foot. He's been doing a lot of poolwork and was cleared a couple of weeks ago to do agility work on the basketball floor. He's probably still a few weeks away from being cleared for basketball activities, but is 100-percent confident he'll be ready once practice starts in mid-October.
As for last season: "Disappointing. Myself and the coaching staff expected a lot more of me, to have a bigger year. But that stuff happens. Sometimes, hard work doesn't pay off right away. I've just got to stick to it, hopefully my senior year will be a lot better. I really just want us to be successful. Maybe it'll be something like what we did in my freshman year. It doesn't really matter how I do, as long as our team has success like that, that would be special to me."
Olander is more of a face-up four man than a five, and perhaps he'll get to do more of that this season.
"I'd prefer that, I feel more comfortable. But, whatever the team needs. If I need to play the five, four, whatever, it's no problem. I think Amida (Brimah) will come in and help us. He's a tremendous shot-blocker, Kentan (Facey) is coming along in the weight room, getting stronger. Phil (Nolan) also will be good. I think with me and Phil in there, we can alternate between the four and the five, and depending who gets down the court first, who's in what position. We've got a lot of options."
Oh yes -- as for that video of Olander rapping that went viral (but no longer appears available anywhere, much to his delight, no doubt)? Seems he and Enosch Wolf were just having some fun on their last day in the Virgin Islands after the Paradise Jam last November, recorded the video and, somehow, it went viral.
He's caught some predictable flak from teammates.
"They just tell me, I should look for a different career option," Olander said with a smile, "and that (rapping) probably not the right path for me to take."