Some people are made for certain types of fights. Fights that don’t make sense. Fights that can be lost easier than they can be won. UConn basketball doesn’t make sense. It has brought three National Championships to a rural campus in the middle of a tiny state with no pre-existing tradition, recruiting base or now major conference affiliation. It is one year removed from a post-season ban, and two years removed from the retirement of Jim Calhoun, the coach who built this program from nothingness. UConn basketball could, and perhaps should, regress to an anonymous mediocrity befitting it’s limited resources, but next Saturday night, the Huskies will be playing in the Final Four.
In 1991, a skinny point guard took his talents and a chip on his shoulder from Los Angeles, California to Storrs, Connecticut to play for the newly-minted Big East contender. He was a fine Huskie for four years, but went undrafted on graduation. He played two years with the Connecticut Pride of the CBA before making an NBA roster. He stayed in the league for thirteen years, playing for twelve teams and never averaged more than 27 minutes and 8 points per game. He was, however, brought to Cleveland to mentor Lebron James, named captain of the Minnesota Timberwolves while playing only 17 minutes per game, and played his final season in Oklahoma City where Kevin Durant credited him with “showing him the ropes.” On Saturday night, Kevin Ollie will coach the Huskies.
Kevin Ollie is made for this fight.