Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vance Jackson excited about coming to Storrs; Kevin Ollie leaving?

Talked to Vance Jackson and his Prolific Prep coach, Billy McKnight, by phone the other night and wrote a story about how Jackson's role could be even bigger than originally anticipated next season, with the departure of Daniel Hamilton to the NBA.

No doubt, Jackson is excited to get to UConn. He's due to arrive on May 29 for summer courses, and plans to stay most of the summer.

Couple of interesting things: Jackson's prime recruiter was Karl Hobbs, who is now at Rutgers as associate head coach. One thing I neglected to mention in the article is that Jackson texts with Jalen Adams almost every day. The gist of those texts:

"We just talk about how excited we are for next year, and how we've got to come in and shock the world, because a lot of people are sleeping on UConn," Jackson said.

Also in the article, McKnight pointed out that Jackson struggled mid-season with his role on the team, and with the way shots were distributed on a team full of fellow D-1 players. Ultimately, Jackson figured it all out and ended the season with a flourish. McKnight said Jackson's biggest challenge as a freshman will be to find and accept whatever role he's asked to do in Kevin Ollie's offense.

Ah yes, Ollie. Didn't get a chance to ask Jackson or McKnight about the latest rumors that Ollie is interested in the Lakers' job, because the rumors hadn't quite surfaced yet when I spoke with the two. Plus, I highly doubt it's going to happen.

Sure, I've been told by someone within college basketball that one of the reasons Hobbs left UConn is because of the belief that Ollie will leave for the Lakers. Yes, it makes perfect sense that Ollie would want to return to his hometown of L.A. to coach one of the premiere franchises in all of sports -- particularly if he's given the autonomy he reportedly would like.

But I don't see it happening. Yet. He has a great recruiting class coming in. He has a daughter in high school in Connecticut and a son playing football at nearby Fordham. He's coaching the U18 national basketball team this summer. And plus, I don't see the Lakers giving Ollie everything he wants, or at least enough to lure him from so many of the things he loves.

Will UConn be Kevin Ollie's final coaching job? No. I don't believe it will be. But I strongly doubt that he'll be coaching the Los Angeles Lakers next season. He'll be coaching Vance Jackson & Co. at UConn.

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