ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Head coach Kevin Ollie of the Connecticut Huskies holds the trophy after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
One of the many benefits to winning a national title is that it gives you instant cred in the recruiting game. Not that coach Kevin Ollie needed any; by all accounts, he's a tireless worker on the recruiting trail, but in the competitive business of finding good young basketball players, every advantage help.
And high school players are taking notice.
"[Ollie] is different because he's up front with you," says 6-6 Dwayne Bacon, whom the Huskies have shown a lot of interest in (via the Hartford Courant). "He'll tell you what plans he has for you coming in, and this is coming from a national championship coach."
Another UConn target, Carlton Bragg, a 6-6 forward from Cleveland, added: "The way they develop players, they just came from a national championship ... how they all came together when it was hard. ... "[Ollie] plays open, brings players into the family," Bragg said. "I love his coaching style."
Also not overlooked: How well the program develops guards. Tremont Waters, a 5-10 point guard told the Courant: "All the point guards they produce are doing well, doing bigger things," he said, "and Shabazz Napier graduated, which is very important to me. ... [Ollie] is an open guy. He forces you to get comfortable and [doesn't] make it seem like it's only basketball; he wants you to be part of the family."
UConn may not land all -- or any -- of these players but the message is clear: Ollie is well-respected not just for his ability to coach, but to connect with the kids and their families. It's a huge advantage in a very competitive business. And, right, flashing that national championship ring doesn't hurt either.