He might have been at the top of the basketball odds list for just about every coaching vacancy in the NBA – including the Los Angeles Lakers. But Kevin Ollie isn’t in a hurry to leave the team he just led to the NCAA Championship. Yahoo Sports’ own Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday night that Ollie has agreed to a long-term extension to stay with the Connecticut Huskies. The deal, which had yet to be signed as we went to press, was believed to be worth over $15 million over five years.
This has been an amazing year for Ollie. Back in January, the Huskies were out of the national rankings, after losing their first two games in the new American Athletic Conference, to the Houston Cougars (+8.5 at home on the NCAAB lines) and the Southern Methodist Mustangs (–2 at home). But UConn went 8-2 SU and 9-1 ATS over its next 10 games, got into the Tournament as a No. 7 seed, and the rest is history.
Now that Ollie is a championship coach, he’s going to get paid like one. The Cleveland Cavaliers were believed to be the NBA team most interested in his services, although the Lakers were also floated as a possible destination. Instead, if he signs this reported extension, Ollie will be returning to his alma mater on a deal that will pay him more than twice what he made last year.
And the Huskies are still getting a bargain. Although they’re losing senior guard Shabazz Napier (25.5 PER) to graduation, Ollie has once again made Storrs a premium destination for recruits, as it was when Jim Calhoun was in charge. The Class of 2014 features a five-star prospect in swingman Daniel Hamilton, and UConn will also be adding North Carolina State Wolfpack transfer Rodney Purvis at guard. Despite these additions and Ollie’s extension, UConn is a 50-1 outsider at Bodog to defend its championship.
Beavers Turn to Tinkle
The Oregon State Beavers won the 2009 College Basketball Invitational in Craig Robinson’s first year as head coach. Little did they know that’s as far as they would get during his tenure, which ended last month with his dismissal. The Beavs have been burning the midnight lamp trying to get a viable replacement in time for some much-needed recruiting. And they just might have their man. As first reported in Sunday night’s tweet from John Canzano at The Oregonian, Wayne Tinkle was expected to be offered the job on Monday, and so it came to pass.
Not many people are familiar with Tinkle’s body of work, and it might seem like a letdown for Beaver fans after former UCLA coach Ben Howland decided to take his name out of the running last week. But Tinkle did an outstanding job in his eight years as coach of the Montana Grizzlies, leading them to three Big Sky Conference titles and three trips to the Big Dance. The only question is whether Tinkle can stem the flood of players transferring from Corvallis. Sophomore guard Hallice Cooke made his departure official on Monday when he committed to the Iowa State Cyclones and coach Fred Hoiberg.
But I Don’t Want Any of That
Just to remind us that there’s more to life than college basketball betting, senior forward Brandon Sherrod is stepping away from the Yale Bulldogs and joining the Yale Whiffenpoofs – the school’s world-famous a cappella singing troupe. It’s definitely a move up the ranks for Sherrod; although the Bulldogs are coming off a trip to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament finals, the Whiffenpoofs (whose 1913 lineup included Cole Porter) are strictly top-shelf. “The Whiffenpoof Song” has been recorded by such giants as Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley. And there are presumably no restrictions on how much food Sherrod is allowed to eat.