UConn Basketball: Report Card for Kevin Ollie on 2013 Recruiting Trail

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2013

Kevin Ollie has shown he knows how to win games but can he build a program?
Kevin Ollie has shown he knows how to win games but can he build a program?Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Few can argue that Kevin Ollie's first season at the helm of the UConn men's basketball team has been anything but a success.

The Huskies (19-7, 9-5 Big East) have four games remaining and should reach the 20-win plateau, a feat that was considered far-fetched given the youth and turmoil surrounding this team at season's start. 

Many publications picked UConn to finish at or near the bottom of the Big East, and they enter the stretch run as a team that instead would likely be an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament had they been eligible.

But on-court success can only occur when you have a coach who is ready, willing and able to pound the pavement to secure the best recruits in the nation for the program. 

Thus far on that front, Ollie must receive a grade of incomplete. 

Of the Huskies three committed recruits for next season, two of them were signed by his predecessor, the legendary coach Jim Calhoun, but the third gives UConn fans reason to be optimistic.

Amida Brimah is a 6'10" power forward from Archbishop Carroll High School in Miami and has the potential to become the dominant big man that Ollie's club has lacked this season.

He is considered to be a little raw, but can be dominant down low while near the basket.

Brimah is known for his ability to run the floor well, given his size, and plays great defense in transition.

With his length and physicality, he can develop into the type of core player who, along with Omar Calhoun and Ryan Boatright, a championship team can build around.

But other than Brimah, there is really not much else to grade Kevin Ollie on at this point. 

It's hard to imagine that he will not be as successful off the court as he is on it. He's already developed a reputation as the type of coach that has the belief of his players.

Guys want to play for Kevin Ollie, and why not?

He's fiery, he believes in and loves the program, and he'll settle for nothing but the best not just from his players, but from himself as well.

And just one season into his coaching career, he's already talked about as one of the nation's best young coaches and it's brightest rising stars.

UConn is still one of the biggest, most successful basketball programs in the nation. And while we don't yet know how successful Kevin Ollie will be, we do know one thing for sure: He'll leave no stone unturned when trying to bring a winner back to Storrs.