Kevin Ollie pushed the tempo for some of the fastest, most exciting UConn teams of all-time as the Huskies continued their rise in national prominence in the early 1990s. He averaged 6.9 points and 5.0 assists in 1991-95, including career highs of 9.8 and 6.4 as a senior as UConn reached the Elite Eight. That team lost to eventual national champion UCLA and could have been UConn's best team before the national championship of 1999. Ollie is third on the Huskies' all-time assists list with 619, trailing only Taliek Brown (722) and Tate George (677). He is the only player in team history to twice record 200 assists in a season (212 in 1994-95, 209 in 1993-94). Also, Ollie twice had 14 assists in a game. Only Marcus Williams, who twice had 16, had more in a game.
NBA highlights: Ollie has enjoyed an interesting NBA journey, having played for 11 teams in 13 seasons. Undrafted in 1995, he got used to being a free agent immediately. Though he has never scored more than 20 points in a game, or ever averaged 10, he has year in and year out found a spot on a roster.
For his career, Ollie is averaging 3.8 points and 2.3 assists. He has 2,496 points, 1,501 assists and 1,018 rebounds. He has started 100 of 662 games.
Life after UConn: Ollie, a Los Angeles native, fell in love with Connecticut during his UConn days and currently resides with his wife and two children in Glastonbury. And he keeps finding work in a career that started in the CBA with the Connecticut Pride.
Ollie, 37, spent last season as a little-used backup with Oklahoma City, adding another $1 million or so to his savings. He has come out of each season, each contract, each city knowing he has at least another season to give.
Why? Because he persevered. "I kept asking myself, 'When am I going to get my chance? When am I going to get my call?' " Ollie said in 2008. "No opportunity came knocking for me. I had to build my own door. I had to swim out to my ship. . . . Dedicate yourself, take chances and believe in yourself. If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything."
A handful of 10-day contracts and training camp cuts eventually gave way to a more lucrative and steady career. He has played important backup roles over the years with Philadelphia, where he had three stints, Milwaukee, Seattle and Chicago. In 2003, Ollie signed a five-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland.
Of course, he was traded to Philadelphia after the first year of that deal.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun