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Ollie Aims to Outwork Others on Recruiting Trail

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Ollie Aims to Outwork Others on Recruiting Trail

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PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 19: Kevin Ollie head coach of the Connecticut Huskies yells against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on January 19, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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Abdul-Malik Abu, one of UConn's top targets for the class of 2014, will reportedly make his unofficial visit to Storrs on Wednesday. If the Huskies land Abu, he would join Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton in coach Kevin Ollie's strongest recruiting class yet. And to hear Ollie tell it, that's the annual plan: out-hustle everyone else for the nation's best players.

"Just work hard, challenge yourself each and every day," Ollie said Monday at Jim Calhoun's Celebrity Golf Classic at the Golf Club of Avon (via the Hartford Courant). "I'm going to try to outlast the rest, whether it's on the recruiting front, working out guys, having a relationship with the guys."

Ollie explained the process, one that involves UConn officials at every level.

"Kids want the head coach to call, some guys want to be recruited only by the head coach," the coach said. "But at the same time, assistant coaches make the initial contact. Others don't care; they want to have a good relationship with all the coaches. We just have to figure that out. ...

"(President) Susan Herbst is our closer. The president is our closer, I'm just one guy whose part of the process. You can call me a starter, a closer, a middle reliever -- I just want to get the kid. My wife can be the closer, I don't care who gets the accolades, I just want to get the kid. … And if we don't, we move on and try to find the next one. …

"I don't really get caught up in the name and the ranking," Ollie said. "If the kid doesn't fit my eye and have the right attitude, I'm not going to take him. Of course, you look at rankings and see who is there, but once I put my eyes on him, you formulate your own rankings. I can get a top 10 guy, but if he doesn't have the right attitude, it's all for naught."

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