Count Ray Allen among the legions who have no idea what coach Jim Calhoun has planned for his immediate future. Even before Calhoun fractured his hip in a cycling accident last weekend no one knew whether the 70-year-old Hall of Fame would coach this season. As has become an annual event, Calhoun was noncommittal on the specifics but the assumption was that he'd return to the bench because, well, that's what he's done for more than 25 years in Storrs.
"I have no clue what [Calhoun] is going to do," Allen said Friday via the Hartford Courant. "But I know when you've been doing something a long time, there's an emotional attachment to it. It's like a tree planted in the ground. You can't just cut it down; there are complicated roots planted under the ground. It's not a decision you make overnight."
And while UConn athletic director Warde Manual has previously stated that there will be no coach-in-waiting situation once Calhoun finally does step down (conventional wisdom had that gig going to assistant and former UConn guard Kevin Ollie), Allen recognizes that Ollie is more than capable of taking over the program.
"He started out in the D-League and he never had a guaranteed contract in the NBA, yet he got in 13 seasons," said Allen. "A lot of guys are drafted in the first round and don't play three years because they don't work hard enough. So he's a great example. ... The game had changed. They used to say in the NBA, you had to coach in the D-League; you had to coach overseas and come back and be an assistant before you get the opportunity to be a head coach. That's changed. You have to be able to motivate your players, you have to have good people around you and you have to be a great recruiter. Kevin has been around the program [as an assistant] for three or four years now. He played here; he knows what it's about, what's expected with the media here and so forth. … We're trying to build men here."
There have been no official announcements but reading between the lines it sure sounds like Calhoun will coach not only in 2012-13, but beyond. He has two years remaining on his contract and he's made it clear that he'd like to get the program back to its national standing. Due to NCAA sanctions, that won't likely happen this season, but it's reasonable to think that the Huskies could be back in conversation in a year's time. Then the question becomes: when will Ollie (or whomever the university has in mind) move into Calhoun's job.