Kevin Ollie returns to training with Overtime Elite basketball league – The Undefeated
From a four-year college career at UConn to a 13-year career in the NBA training his alma mater to a national championship, Kevin Ollie is a basketball player in perpetuity. So while the past three years away from basketball allowed him to spend more time with his family, being away from the game has been a challenge.
“I missed the smell of the gym,” Ollie said. “I missed developing young athletes and helping them achieve their dreams. “
Ollie’s coaching career at UConn came to an abrupt end with his dismissal in 2018, just four years after leading the program to his fourth national title. Ollie had been the target of a NCAA investigation which included an ethics fee.
But this fall, Ollie will return to the sidelines as the coach of the new Overtime Elite basketball league (OTE), which launch in september and pay school-aged players (between 16 and 18) six-figure salaries. Players who join the league will forfeit their remaining high school and college eligibility.
Ollie will have a dual role with OTE, with the additional title of Director of Player Development.
The addition of a coach who won a national basketball championship – Ollie is just one of four black coaches to win the title in a Division I men’s program – demonstrates the league’s seriousness, which intends to field 30 national and international players.
“There is no better coach for what we are trying to accomplish than Kevin Ollie,” said Aaron Ryan, OTE Commissioner and President. “Kevin’s resume speaks for itself… the respect and admiration he has earned from his teammates, the players he has coached and his fellow coaches is a testament to the impact he will have on the game. next generation of athletes preparing them for the pros.
In nine years at UConn, six as a head coach and three as an assistant, Ollie has helped develop four players (Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier) who have become first round of the NBA.
Ollie’s 2014 national title is only in his second season as a head coach, but after the win the Huskies would only reach another NCAA tournament under Ollie (2016) before to fire him in 2018. UConn fired Ollie with just cause after becoming the target of an NCAA investigation.
The allegations against Ollie included setting up a phone call between a recruit and UConn former Ray Allen, providing unauthorized meals to recruits during unofficial visits, shooting baskets with a recruit and doing not to supervise a trainer who was coaching athletes in Georgia and Connecticut.
Ollie denied the allegations, which were elevated to a Level I offense, with the claim that Ollie provided false or misleading information to investigators about knowledge of the call between Allen and the rookie. This charge was brought by Glen Miller, a former assistant coach who was released by Connecticut after the 2016-17 season. Miller is currently working as an assistant coach at the University of Saint Joseph under the direction of Jim Calhoun.
These allegations correspond to what happened at UConn under Calhoun: A former team leader helped direct a recruit to school by providing accommodation, meals and representation. But the outcome of that NCAA investigation was different, which only led to a three-game suspension for Calhoun in 2011. Calhoun, who resigned in 2012, received the remaining balance of his contract.
UConn’s dismissal of Ollie for just cause meant the school did not have to pay him the remaining $ 11.4 million on his contract. Ollie has challenged this decision and the case is ongoing. Arbitrator in the case, Marcia Greenbaum, died in January, delaying a resolution of whether Ollie is entitled to the balance of his contract.
“I cannot speak to these allegations. We’re still in the process of a legal battle and I hope my truth comes out soon, ”Ollie said. “Some people have their opinions on me, but it won’t be who I am. My identity belongs to people who know me. It’s what I bring every day, it’s a question of honesty and respect for others.
Even with the current family feud that involves the UConn administration, Ollie still has a connection to the university that he says is unbreakable.
“I love my university, I love the experience I had there,” Ollie said. “Our relationship now is that we’re sort of on different sides. I will say that my connection to brick and mortar, and the roads I have taken in Storrs, that will never change.
Ollie, after being out of the game for three years, is now focused on creating OTE, an expansion of the Overtime company that, since its inception in 2016, has helped introduce emerging basketball players to a national and international audience. Overtime helped kickstart the international popularity of high school student Mikey Williams and current NBA players Zion Williamson and LaMelo Ball.
Now the company has positioned itself to allow gamers to profit from their popularity.
The earning potential for players who choose to play in OTE goes beyond the six-figure salary. Players will also be compensated with bonuses, overtime equity, and income derived from their name, images, and likeness.
In today’s era, social media influencers get paid both by companies that sell merchandise as well as platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. While influencers with huge followers become millionaires, and even cheerleaders were able to monetize their positions, university athletes have long been excluded from collection.
“The system will never teach you your worth and your worth,” Ollie said. “I remember watching a high school game and Zion [Williamson] was playing and they had a Zion camera. I don’t think Zion has a share of it.
“Sometimes they’ll let you get a bite, but they won’t give you the whole meal,” Ollie added.
Ollie understands that there are many potential pitfalls in giving large sums of money to 16 year olds, this is where academic, financial and media training is important.
“Biggie said it the best: more money, more problems and, yes, that’s a lot of money at this age,” Ollie said. “But we want to prepare them, protect them and provide the people around them who are going to advise them to do the right thing. We want to make sure they have everything in the toolbox so that when challenges arise, they know how to solve them. “
Some purists will view the new league as undermining the current high school and college basketball system.
“It’s not for everyone, and the NCAA is for some athletes,” Ollie said. “It just gives young athletes other options. We want to have the opportunity to meet elite players nationally and internationally and let them know that this is our brand, and this is how we can support you and make you become a professional athlete.
It remains to be seen which top athletes will find the promise of a six-figure contract to give up a college career and play for OTE. But Ollie is thrilled to be involved in the genesis of a new model for athletics.
“It will be exciting for us to chart a trail that has never been traveled before,” said Ollie. “Being the head coach of this event is a unique opportunity, and I couldn’t pass it up. “