Written by; Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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Life has been pretty good to Kevin Ollie. He enjoyed a long NBA career, has a loving family, was an assistant under his mentor Jim Calhoun and now after two seasons at the helm of UConn, Ollie has a National Championship. With Ollie arguably working his dream job at his alma mater, what would it take for him to leave the University of Connecticut? A prominent NBA franchise that is in dire need of a coach like Ollie who possesses leadership and guidance.
If you haven’t already heard, Mike D’Antoni has resigned as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach after not receiving a contract for the 2015-2016 season. Since D’Antoni actually thinks that he is a championship caliber coach, the one-year deal just wasn’t good enough. In all honesty, I think that this is the best thing for the Lakers because it allows them a fresh start. They can finally put the D’Antoni over Phil Jackson decision behind them and choose the right coach this time around, and if you ask me, that coach is Kevin Ollie.
Ollie grew up in South Los Angeles during the 1980’s when Magic Johnson and “Showtime” were on center stage. The L.A. native is also only 41-years old which fits the latest mold of young coaches trying their hand at the NBA game. While all of those ideas make sense and they could be contributing factors, the most important thing to Ollie is team chemistry and culture. Since the Lakers have lost theirs, the right guy for the job may be the best at it in the college game today.
When an iconic coach like Jim Calhoun leaves a premier program, you never really know how the new coach is going to fit in. Luckily for the Huskies, they hired a guy that had bought into the program and the philosophy that Calhoun had built over his time at UConn. Since taking over the reigns at Connecticut, Ollie is 52-18 with, of course, a National Championship under his belt. You can say that it was Calhoun’s recruits that did all the work, but they could’ve just as easily rebelled against Ollie if they didn’t believe in him. The way they believed in each other and Ollie’s philosophy during March Madness just goes to show that if you believe, anything is possible.
Ollie believed in the culture that Calhoun brought to UConn, but he also understands the culture that is the NBA. While egos and shoe endorsements fill a locker room, Ollie played for 12 different NBA organizations during his 13-year career and was able to understand the role as a teammate and a role model. From the likes of Kevin Durant to LeBron James, Ollie is widely respected for his leadership and ability to mentor younger players. Since the Lakers are full of them with Nick Young, Robert Sacre, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly and MarShon Brooks, Ollie seems like the perfect fit. We all know that the Lakers will always be Kobe Bryant’s team for as long as he is there and it takes a special coach to get the most out of him. As a former competitor, Ollie knows what makes Kobe tick and once all facets of the Lakers organization buy in together, the hiring of Kevin Ollie just makes too much sense.
This move may never happen and Ollie could continue to build the UConn dynasty, but for a man who seems to enjoy a challenge, the opportunity to come home and mentor the Los Angeles Lakers back to NBA dominance seems like a deal too sweet to pass up.
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