Ollie Under Fire Leads the NCAA Basketball News and Notes

Rodney K

You’d think late June would be the slow time of year in college basketball, but that’s not been the case. Interesting headlines keep rolling in, so let’s check out what you may have missed over the past week, most notably the story involving former UConn coach Kevin Ollie.

Ollie Fired and Under Fire

Months after firing Ollie, the University of Connecticut has concluded an investigation that determined Ollie committee NCAA rules violations during his tenure. They were minor violations, such as shooting baskets with a recruit during an official visit and setting up a phone call between a recruit and former Huskies star Ray Allen. Ollie also knew about a few players working out with a trainer not employed by the university while on campus. Apparently, those are all rules violations.

Things got even worse for Ollie this week when GlenMiller, a former assistant at UConn, claimed that Ollie committed even more egregious violations. For instance, he says Ollie paid for the mother of an unnamed recruit to live in a Connecticut apartment so she could be near her son. Miller also claims Ollie fired his former agent when the agent refused to help Ollie recruit, suggesting Ollie’s agent was paying players to commit to the Huskies.

The fact that Ollie committed NCAA rules violations is important because it means UConn no longer has to pay him the $10 million left on his contract. At the time he was fired, Ollie disputed that the school had “just cause” to let him go after back-to-back losing seasons. However, any rules violations Ollie committed or were aware of would be enough to justify the firing and save UConn the money left on his contract.

It’s worth noting that the fight continues and that Ollie is not officially fired, even though the school has already hired DanHurley to replace him. Ollie is technically suspended while he fights the school’s choice to fire him with “just cause.” Ollie will get an arbitration hearing and could take the case to court as he attempts to recover the $10 million left on his deal.

Former Dukie Coaching Again

In less dramatic news, former Duke point guard Chris Duhon has joined the coaching staff at Illinois State. Duhon will serve as an assistant for Dan Muller’s team. After nine NBA seasons, Duhon worked as an assistant coach at Marshall. However, he was suspended in 2015 following a DUI arrest and ultimately resigned in January 2017. However, Muller and Illinois State are giving Duhon a second chance. The Redbirds have finished third place or better in the Missouri Valley in each of the past four seasons, so they are a solid mid-major program.

The Other Kind of One-And-Done

The KentuckyWildcats are getting another one-and-done player, but this time it’s a graduate transfer in Reid Travis. The 6’8’’ forward was arguably the most sought-after grad transfer on the market this summer, ultimately choosing Kentucky over reigning national champion Villanova. Travis averaged 19.5 points per game last year while earning All-Pac-12 honors. If Travis clicks with PJ Washington, the Wildcats could have one of the best front-courts in the country. With another talented recruiting class coming to Lexington as well, Kentucky is poised to be legitimate national championship contenders next season.

Leaving the Pack

Many view the Nevada Wolf Pack as a top-10 caliber team for next season, but they’ll have to do so without forward Josh Hall. The rising junior announced this week he’s transferring to Missouri State. Hall was a minor contributor for most of his two seasons in Reno. However, he scored 13 points per game, including the game-winning basket against Cincinnati, during Nevada’s NCAA Tournament run this past March. However, with both Caleb and Cody Martin returning to school, McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown signing with Nevada, and a few transfers joining the team, there doesn’t figure to be much room for Hall with the Wolf Pack anymore.

Coming Home

One of the more unusual college basketball odysseys is coming full circle. Forward Akoy Agau has decided to finish his career at Louisville, more than five years after starting his career with the Cardinals. The 6’8’’ native of Sudan played sparingly with the Cardinals from 2013 to 2015. He then sat out a year while transferring to Georgetown. After one year with the Hoyas, he moved again, playing as a graduate transfer at SMU last season. Agau was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility, and so a few courses short of earning a Master’s Degree he will transfer those credits to a pre-MBA program at Louisville. He will also provide the Cardinals and new head coach Chris Mack with some much-needed depth in the front-court.

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