Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kevin Ollie talks about a number of topics

Had a nice chat with Kevin Ollie and Josh Carlton today. Look for story on Carlton in Wednesday's Register.

Here's some of what Ollie had to say about a number of different topics:
Kevin Ollie

(2017-18 outlook)

I think our ballhandling’s gonna be much improved, especially with Alterique coming back and Jalen coming off an outstanding season.

(Looking back on last season's disappointment, injuries)

“It happens, it’s part of the game, we’re not making any excuses about it. I’m just glad to see those guys healthy.”

“Two weeks left in the season, we were fighting for third. Then we kind of had a letdown at the end of the season.”

“I was proud of the guys overall. Proud of the coaching staff. We just learned a lot. I know I learned a lot. I had never been through anything like that in my career as a head coach or an assistant.”

(Alterique Gilbert)

"He's still not 100 percent. We're still kinda cautious with everything, He'll do some contact, then lean off that a little bit. In July, we're gonna allow him to go full-contact, 5-on-5."

"He’s a tremendous leader. He has a great work ethic, and just seeing him out there, I think it really helps our team and our psyche, just to see that leadership out there. He’s a pit bull on the basketball court. He loves what he does, and you can see it in everything he does – every behavior he does, he’s kinda like a quiet leader."

(Will next year's team try to run more, go with smaller lineups?)

“That’s got to be the game plan. We don’t want to go down and face set defenses all the time. But that goes back to defensive rebounding. If you want to be a great running team, you’ve got to play good defense and rebound the basketball.”

(Mamadou Diarra)

"Mamadou’s been going full strength, getting up at 6:30 a.m., working out with Carlos Daniels, coming back to practice center doing individual work. No swelling in the knee, no bad feedback, every day he's recovering and coming back stronger."

(Terry Larrier)

Terry Larrier
"Terry’s doing great. He’s a man on a mission ... Terry’s really stepping up vocally, in workouts, going above and beyond the things we ask. I think the switch has really flipped on by him.”

(Will it be good for UConn to go into next season with lesser expectations, a bit under the radar?)

“I’d love to be No. 1. I don’t run away from expectations. I don’t care if we’re eighth or 10th in the preseason – in Connecticut, they expect us to win. That’s the expectations that we come into each and every year, and that’s how we’re evaluated. I understand that pressure. I played here, I coached here. I like that pressure. I think that’s a privilege. If people want to call us an underdog, this and that, it is what it is. We want to just come in and play.”

“In February, when we’re coming back from SMU and you’ve got to get up for school at 8 a.m. and then come back in for practice – can you be committed then? That’s when I’ll know if we have a championship-caliber team.”

(Jalen Adams)

"Just being more consistent in big games – SMU, Cincinnati games. Stretch the defense more. He's a fantastic open-court basketball player. I want him to be known as one of the best defensive guards in our conference. That’s an area he can improve on.”

"His ankle was messed up the last three weeks. The way he gutted it out for us and gutted it out for me, and it’s not like we pushed him or anything. He wanted to play. That was big-time. Now, just giving him a little time to rest his ankle, get it back to full strength, that’s kind of what we’re doing with him now. But what he did those last three weeks … people didn’t write about that, but we knew about it. His ankle was bothering him. But he wanted to push through for the team and give it his all.”

(Does he think the program is still in good shape?)

“I don’t think, I know. Guys left, made their own decisions. It happens. I wish them the best of luck, but we have to move on. I don’t have time to be looking back. I’m running towards my destiny, and I think this program is running towards their destiny. We don’t have time to go back. We learned from it, we got through it. We’re focused on a new task this season to get the guys that are putting these jerseys on and going out here playing for this great university.”

“I know this program is in a good state. We’ve graduated guys, we did a remarkable job academically. On the basketball court, yeah, we took a step back. Everybody understands the different circumstances that happened. But, at the end of the day, I thought we played hard, we competed.”

“We have to win. I can’t keep going 15-17, we all know that. But I really admire the men that they’ve become. I hope everybody sees that, too.”

“We have a great program. It’s not for everybody. If you want to be here, come in with the mentality, you’re going to be successful. A lot of guys on that wall have done it, and it’s not all based on talent.”

(Will Antwoine Anderson help compliment Adams, Gilbert and Christian Vital in the backcourt?)

"(With a smile) Compliment? He’s gonna make them compete a little bit more, too. He’s really good. He’s what we need. He’s a push guard, he loves to play defense, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Those guys stepping up a little bit want to prove themselves. He’s kind of what we need. He’s got the veteran leadership, but then he also has the tenacity to get out there defensively. He’s very shifty with the ball, he’s gonna give us another ballhandler.”

(Josh Carlton)

“Very skilled, big body. It’s not like we’re telling Carlos to put 25 pounds on him. We want to get him more lean and physically in shape, condition-wise. Very talented around the rim, can rebound. He’s just got a big body. I expect him to compete for minutes. He could be, eventually, a person that we can throw it down low to. He can command a double team, eventually. But I really think his skill level is close to (Steve) Enoch’s. Enoch is better skilled than him now, but I kind of compare those two, skill-wise. Great touch around the basket. Hopefully, he can come in and compete for some minutes.”

"We want to get him more athletic, boost his jumping ability, his fast-twitch muscles, being able to react on defensive end. Only way they get on court is if they pick up defensive schemes. Hopefully, he can do that."

(Eric Cobb)

"He went through an ordeal at South Carolina, took whatever punishment came his way, then went to JUCO and proved himself there and did great academically. Now, he’s coming back to get his second chance to play Division I basketball. I really think he has that motivation in his heart to say, ‘Man, I went through some stuff, but I’m better now.’ I think he has a toughness that we kind of lacked sometimes last year against the bigger teams.”

"His fault, not his fault – he was part of it. I think he took that under consideration, how he needs to change his life, the circle that he was running with. Now he’s a better man for it. I’m very intrigued by him.”

(Keeping two scholarship spots open)

“Just in case Andre Drummond falls out of the sky. We’re working. Some 2018’s that can be 2017’s, and still some guys transferring, we might bring in transfer and have him sit out and be a part of our system while not playing. That would be ideal.”

Ollie said that Amida Brimah will likely play for Miami in the Orlando Summer League, then with Chicago out in Las Vegas. It seems the Bulls have the most interest in Brimah.

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8 Comments:

Blogger RichZ said...

I think you meant complement. Other than that, great piece.

June 27, 2017 at 6:02 PM 
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June 28, 2017 at 1:27 AM 
Blogger Steven said...

Finally he had learned a lot, maybe it will help him in next season. My Basketball Team game put focus on defensive rebounding, maybe it will help him also since he has announced this strategy for next season.

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July 25, 2017 at 8:02 AM 
Blogger Jon Galen said...

Gilbert has dislocated his shoulder each of his last 2 years in high school and as a uconn freshman, realistically, his chances of making it through this season are very small. Uconn needed to sign another guard, I disappointed to hear that Carlton is less developed than Enoch

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