Ollie, Calhoun Aren't Expecting a 'Championship Hangover' With Huskies

AVON – Had a chance to talk to Kevin Ollie today at Jim Calhoun’s charity golf tournament, the culmination of a weekend of activities for the former Huskies.

My topic was “championship hangover,” with the Huskies soon to get back to work for the new season.

“It’s just different teams, and this team is going to be different,” Ollie said. “We’re going to continue to have our principles. Every year is different, every player is different every player comes in with a different mindset.

“We’re just trying not to let complacency set in, where you just think it’s going to be done and you’re some kind of special team. You were a special team last year, but this is a whole different team and there are different opponents you’re playing against and you’ve got to come out with that hungry mindset again - that you’ve got something to prove each and every minute you’re on the basketball court. If you don’t do that, you’re going to sit down with me. Everybody understands that, and if you don’t you understand that, hopefully you do understand that soon once we get in practice.

“Because that’s where you play, you play in practice and you earn your minutes there. Hopefully everybody has that mind set, and what started it was in our training in the offseason. We have a tough, strenuous training regimen that we do and it kind of weeds out players that are not dedicated. Then we can go in and reinforce that and say, ‘You’re not going to make it through the first day of practice if you’re in this type of shape, because you can’t even do these little things we’re doing now. It really opens people’s eyes up and they say, ‘We’re still working. We’re not sitting back and laying down on a national championship, we’re trying to build upon it.”

Jim Calhoun, who won three championships, sees new challenges and storylines for individual players on this team. Following the 2010-11 championship, the Huskies had everyone back, expect Kemba Walker, so expectations were very high.  

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Calhoun said. “This is a new group of kids. [Rodney] Purvis wants to prove he can play, the [Daniel] Hamilton kid is very talented, Ryan [Boatright] wants it to be his team. Amida [Brimah] probably didn’t get as much playing time, with different injuries he had.

This is a different team and a different atmosphere. If you had two or three of the same guys, it would be one thing, but it’s a different team. And they’re in a league which, in my humble opinion, they’re the most talented. I know SMU is good but I still think we’re the most talented. I think Amida is going to make that much of a difference, especially now that he’s healthy.”


Ollie said there are no “new additions” coming to the Huskies for 2014-15. “It’s never too late,” he said, but there is no one on the horizon, as far as fifth-year transfers are concerned. He talked about the decision to extend a scholarship to walk-on Pat Lenehan:

“He just deserved it. Our scholarships are not full and he deserved it. He was a key component of our winning the national championship with his dedication, playing in practice and doing the different things he’s doing, being an outstanding student. That’s what we want our student athletes to represent, and that’s what he represents. We did very, very well in our studies again this year. Hopefully it’ll be coming out soon that we got another perfect [APR] score. It’s been great momentum, not just on the basketball court – a lot of people focus on that - but what we’ve done to change our infrastructure academically. Kids are buying in and we’ve giving then the support system.”


What is Ray Allen going to do? Caught up with Ray, and others, and will have all that up on the main website soon. Up to the outing at Golf Club of Avon, some $7 million had been raised for cardiac research at the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiac Research Center at UConn Health.

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