Thursday, April 3, 2014

Is Kevin Ollie Underpaid? Does Orlando Antigua Feels AAC Underrated? Did Niels Giffey Go Under-Questioned?

Kevin Ollie will make $1.25 million this year, per his current contract. His base salary is $400,000, and he earns an extra $850,000 through public relations, consulting and media payments.

That’s about middle of the pack as far as college coaches go. It’s nowhere near Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who’ll make more than $9.68 million this year. It’s also the lowest among this year’s Final Four coaches: Kentucky’s John Calipari will make over $5.5 million this year, Florida’s Billy Donvan will make $3.9 million and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan will make $2.28 million.

Still, Ollie will make more than established coaches like Creighton’s Greg McDermott ($945,725), Gonzaga’s Mark Few ($1.18 million) and St. Joe’s Phil Martelli ($902,651). He’ll make less than Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin ($1.5 million) but more than Providence’s Ed Cooley ($783,518).

And consider this: it’s about the same as Steve Masiello was due to make on a five-year contract with USF before it was learned that Masiello lied on his resume. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that Ollie is actually underpaid.

And it seems like AD Warde Manuel intends to do something about it, telling several outlets he intends to sit down with Ollie after the season and likely re-work the current deal. Of course, Ollie has made himself a little extra money over the past few weeks with UConn’s NCAA tourney run.

Per his contract, Ollie receives one-month’s base salary ($33,333) for reaching the tournament, another month’s salary for reaching the Sweet Sixteen and another for advancing to the Final Four. If UConn wins the whole thing, Ollie gets two months’ salary.

He also gets a $10,000 bonus if the team earns an APR of 930 or more (sources say the team will have a perfect 1,000 APR for the 2012-13 season), and possibly $10,000 more if the team reaches a certain GPA standard. So that means Ollie has already made an extra $110,000 this year, and is two wins away from $66,666 more.


*** We've got a bunch of UConn special section stories on our website right now. Do check them out.

*** Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua accepted the job as South Florida's new head coach earlier in the week. He met with the media throng on Thursday, and was asked how unfortunate it is for him that USF is in the American Athletic Conference, not the Big East.

"I don't know, because the American Conference is pretty good. I don't know if you noticed but there's a team in the Final Four that plays in that conference. I think it's a great conference. It's not the old Big East, but that conference is no longer together. I just think you've got very competitive teams in the conference, and I'm excited about the challenge to see how we compete in it."

*** Here's the transcript, from ASAP Sports, of some of the questions Ollie, Donovan and Niels Giffey were asked at Thursday's press conference:

Q.  Kevin, did that win over Florida do anything special for your team?  Was that a turning point of any kind? 
COACH OLLIE:  No, we were playing good basketball before that win.  But we have so much respect for the program of Florida and how hard we have to play to get a victory like that.  It really helped going forward playing against a different scheme and playing against a pressure that they apply each and every play.  It really allowed our team to understand what level we have to play and compete to ultimately get to a Final Four. 
They have been on a great roll since that time in Storrs and we respect their program immensely.  For us now, it hasn't done anything.  Coming out with the victory, that's four months ago.  They had a different team.  We're a different team.  They had some players hurt at the time, now they're back in the rotation with Kasey Hill and Chris Walker now. 
So we're going to have to play at a level five.  We're going to have to play with the energy and passion and we're going to have to play together to hopefully continue to play on until Monday. 

Q.  For both coaches, the depth perception out there on the court a little bit different than it is normally in college basketball in the Arena because of its size and configuration.  Did both you guys feel that your players are adjusting to that depth perception problem that that court might give you? 
COACH OLLIE:  Yeah, same.  I really appreciate the NCAA giving us this opportunity.  Back in 2011 down in Houston, we didn't have a 90‑minute practice.  It was the open practice that we're going to have tomorrow and then the shoot‑around.  So this really allows our players to see the ball going in.  We always want to see that.  Just seeing them get used to and relaxed and shooting in a venue like this is a great opportunity for us. 

Q.  Kevin, would you share with us what it's been like to have your mother, with all she's been through, along for the ride with you and now here at the Final Four. 
COACH OLLIE:  Yeah, it was wonderful.  Yesterday she got cleared to fly and that was great news.  I have her back in Connecticut with me, she's been going through chemo with me at home.  And my wife has done a beautiful job taking care of her and being there when I was able to continue to do my job.  Just to see her get cleared, and she can come back home.  She lives in Plano here, and to come back home before her next surgery has just been a wonderful thing. 
It's going to be great to see her.  She wanted to come down to Madison Square Garden, but I was, like, No, save up your energy for the Final Four.
So it's great to have her come down and she's going to come down with my wife today. 

Q.  For both coaches, all four teams have terrific back courts.  Is that a reflection on the old saying that it's a guards' game and is that what it takes to get to this level? 
COACH OLLIE:  That's the word I believe in.  Filling your roles and having your identity and understanding when you get to this point, don't go off script.  Don't try to be something that you haven't been the whole season.  You definitely want to take advantage of different things and different matchups, but at the end of the day, you want to play hard and you want to play for each other. 
Shabazz will be the first person to tell you that he can't do it without his teammates.  He can't do it without Phillip Nolan setting a screen for him to come off a screen and roll and get a wide open look, wide open shot.  He can't get an outlet to start a fast‑break if Amida don't block a shot or get a crucial rebound like he did in the St. Joe's game where we were down by three and he got an and‑one. 
So we rely on the team.  It's not an individual.  But Shabazz is a great player, a great leader, and that's the one thing I see, he's an extension of me.  I asked him to do a lot.  Not only be a facilitator, but score out of necessity when we get down to the thick of the thing, the thick of a moment when he needs to make a play.  He does a great job of that.
But it's all about a team and he'll be the first one to say that.  He's a humble kid.  Ryan Boatright is a humble kid and they know how much they're able to do their job because of the other guys playing their role and doing it at a great place. 

Q.  Billy, what's it like to coach against a shot maker like Shabazz Napier when you know that you can maybe play the greatest defense in the world and he can just negate that sometimes.  Then for Kevin, what's it like to coach a guy like that? 
COACH DONOVAN:  Well, he's obviously a terrific player.  But I think that the other thing, too, you got to realize, and Kevin touched on this, there's two things:  One, they do a good job of their team filling roles.  He's really smart, he knows when to go, when to pass.  I think he understands the length and time of a game.  He's played a lot of minutes over his career.  He's been in big events and big venues. 
But I also think that Kevin really puts him in some very, very unique situations that he can do the things that he does.  Because he can beat you with drives, he can beat you with shots, he can beat you from behind the line, and he can also beat you passing the ball.  I think with the way UCONN runs their offense and the situations Kevin's put them in, it makes it even that much more difficult dealing with him.  Because you can run and just go trap him, but he's going to go find one of those guys, and you're going to leave someone open for a three.  You can try to cover the three and someone's going to be rolling to the basket.
So I think Kevin has done a great job with his team putting all those guys in position to really be successful and play at the level he's been able to play at. 

Q.  Kevin, Ryan was saying the other day that couple weeks ago you guys watched the Florida game again.  I was wondering when that was, what was your reason for showing it and what do you think that your team got out of it going on to this run? 
COACH OLLIE:  I really thought that they got at what level of intensity we got to play at.  It's been written, we showed it after the Louisville game, and they thought I was going to come in and show that tape. 
But I have so much respect for Florida and what they did throughout this whole year and being on this streak and the consistency.  That's what I love.  They play one way and one way, that's it.  They don't play another way.  They play hard, they play together, they are unselfish.  I just wanted our guys to see how we were rotating, how we were playing, how we were challenging them and that they can have that same experience again and play that same type of way. 
Florida's No. 1.  We competed at a high level against them.  Don't think that losing to Louisville that we all are going to stay here.  We're going to move on.  We're going to get better from it.  I think that through struggle, you get progression.  And that was a struggle for us. 
But if you don't stay there and you keep believing in yourself, that this might happen.  Guys believed that and we had the team I wanted to put it in.  It wasn't no big thing.  We just showed a couple plays and we got to work and we got back on the practice court and we let everything happen that was going to happen.  But we were going to build off of it. 
I think everybody was looking at the 33‑point loss as a problem.  We were looking at it as a possibility for us to get better as a team.  I think that's the kind of mindset that we have to overcome different distractions that we have been having, not the Louisville game, for two years now.  Being band, not being able to go to the post‑season last year.  They always had the next play mentality.  I think it's great for a team to always have that mindset that can you get better from any distraction and it's not going to stop you from your destiny as a team. 

Q.  Kevin, twice you've mentioned how in this game Saturday your guys are going to have to perform at level five.  I wondered if you would define level five. 
COACH OLLIE:  It's just a championship mentality.  It's playing together, playing unselfish, playing as five and not just one.  Because sometimes you get to this stage and you want to play as one and you want to go off and be an individual.  But that's not going to work. 
The whole of our team is better than the sums of its parts.  We know that.  The only way that we can get here and perform at the best possible way is for everybody to be focused in on us.  And that's our ultimate goal each and every day is, us.  How can we improve as a team.  Hopefully we can do that Saturday night. 

Q.  A question about DeAndre Daniels for both of you guys.  Billy, what have you seen from him in the past couple games that he really seems to have stepped it up and become an offensive force for them more so than earlier?  Kevin, was there a light that kind of went on with him recently?  He's really stepped it up in the past couple games. 
COACH DONOVAN:  I think that Kevin would probably answer more than I can.  I would say this:  We recruited DeAndre some coming out of high school.  I was always impressed with his length, his offensive ability.  It looked like earlier on, and Kevin can probably talk to more to it, just struggled to find his way.  I think he's probably come to grips with who he is as a player and how he needs to play and how Kevin wants him to play to impact his team. 
But to me, he's really become extremely versatile.  He posts up, he shoots threes, he's putting it on the floor, he can start the break, he passes, he rebounds, he's playing really hard for their team.  I think watching UCONN now and getting prepared for them in December, there's no question he's really continued to progress and grow. 

Q.  For both coaches, with all the talk happening in college football about a possible union that may be developing, I'm wondering as far as basketball is concerned, if you feel like players deserve more benefits than they're already getting. 
COACH DONOVAN:  I think the players do deserve more things.  There are certain things that I think are outdated and don't make sense in a lot of ways.  What those things are, should they be paid?  I don't know what it is.  But there needs to be more done for the student‑athletes, in my opinion. 
They make an incredible investment.  They obviously are generating a lot of dollars on college campuses, and I don't know what the solution is.  I do know that there needs to be a better way to take care of them in a way that maybe would not jeopardize or violate them being considered professionals.  I think there's ways that we can do that. 
The idea that a kid can't get a free hamburger somewhere, it doesn't make any sense to me.  What's the big deal?  How is that hurting anybody.  I get, Well, then it leads to this and this and this.  I get some of those thoughts.  But there's some common sense things I think that we can do to insure that from a normal student activity life they can have money in their pocket and be able to do things. 
COACH OLLIE:  For me, pretty much the same thing.  Just think the game has changed.  This venue has changed.  I remember when I was playing in college when we went to the tournament, we wasn't playing in venues like this.  Everything has changed and evolved and in some way, somehow, the student‑athlete, that dynamic has to evolve and change. 
Like I don't know which way is going to lead, but some way, somehow we're going to all make a sacrifice and get in a room and see how we can make a change for the student‑athlete.  Just like Billy said, not flying the parents up to see a game.  And they allow their kids to come to the University of Connecticut all the way from LosAngeles, California, which I came.  Some things like that has to change.  Hopefully we can do that.  Hopefully we can keep the integrity of the NCAA and the student‑athletes, but everything in life is always evolving.  I think we have to get to a point where it's evolving. 
I love to see the student‑athletes when they graduate have some kind of medical benefits or something out there to give them a leeway until they're able to get a secure job with health benefits.  Just something like that or along those lines I would like to see that happen. 

Q.  Niels, you're one of the few guys you, Shabazz, Tyler, that have actually been to a Final Four.  Does the atmosphere and all that goes into it, does that sort of equalize things?  Is everybody sort of as star struck, whether a senior, freshmen, sophomore, is it kind of hard to manage all that? 
NIELS GIFFEY:  It's kind of tough to manage these first days, just getting in here, taking care of the media.  You have to stay focused on what you got to done the court.  That's the most important thing, I think.  You can't be too impressed with everything that's going on, the gym, the different crowd that's going to be out there and all the attention that's focused on you. 
So just stay with your group as much as you can, stay with your teammates.  That's really what I'm trying to tell my younger guys that haven't been here before, just try to have fun, enjoy this moment as much as you can. 

Q.  For Niels and Scottie, there's so much attention paid on making it to the NBA.  How do you guys value just having a really great college career? 
NIELS GIFFEY:  I think it's interesting to see the different people, like Shabazz stayed for four years and he made that conscious decision to get his degree and wait for the next step for another year.  I think it's just a great opportunity to grow as a person and a player on a different level where it's not all about business, where it's not about money.  It's about family and getting together as a group. 
I think I had my personal experiences with the national team over the summer, and I talked to the guys and they told me all the time of stories, so I was really happy with all of the decisions that I made to play for four years and not go overseas. 
So it's just a great opportunity to build something at a university where you can always go back to.  You will always have that family and that basis.  I think that's why people should consider taking four years, getting their degree, and really making an impact on your university. 

Q.  For Scottie, what makes Shabazz so different and difficult to guard compared to some other point guards that you've guarded this season? 
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:  I think that's his ability to pull up from anywhere and the quickness that he pulls up and with the efficiency that he makes difficult shots.  That's what makes him hard to guard.  He also has the ability to get in the lane with his quickness and his first step.  So just the different weapons that he has on offense is what makes it hard for him to be guarded. 

Q.  Scottie, wanted to ask you about Napier.  Can you relive the experience of that game.  I know you got hurt, too, and you lost and you watched him hit a winning shot.  How much does it means to you to get another crack at that defensive assignment? 
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:  Well, I always like guarding guys that are challenging to guard.  But as far as getting another crack at playing them, it's really not about that at all.  I would be happy to play anybody in the Final Four, because I'm just happy to be here with an opportunity to advance. 
So they're a great team, they have obviously played great up until this point, so it's going to be a tough game for both of us.  Hopefully we'll come out with a lot of high energy and ready to play. 

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