Ollie Tries to Block Out Distraction

Huskies will need big seasons from Rodney Purvis and Amida Brimah

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Earlier this week, coach Kevin Ollie spoke with CBSSports.com about the 2014-15 Huskies, particularly the group of players tasked with defending UConn's national title. Gone is Shabazz Napier, but Ryan Boatright remains and NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, a former McDonald's All-American, will also be in the backcourt.

CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein asked Ollie about what we can expect from Purvis, who has been in Storrs for over a year and is eager to get back on the floor. Specifically, can Purvis step into the lineup and be one of the great UConn guards?

"He's got to work for that," Ollie admitted. "You can't just say that. Potential is a bad word and he does have potential to be one of the more explosive players in our history here, but the guys that are in that conversation now -- they just worked and worked and kept getting better. Daniel Hamilton is the exact same way. He's got great potential, but at the end of the day, God-given talent has to change into skills, hard work and toughness -- especially mental toughness. All of those great players were mentally tough. When we got in do or die situations, they always made the right plays and hopefully the new guys that are here have that same makeup."

Ollie was also asked about sophomore Amida Brimah, who was a pleasant frontcourt surprise last season, especially on the Huskies' title run.

"The same thing, but I don't expect to see just flashes," he said. "I expect him to be a consistent player for us. People really didn't see his offense, but he's gotten so much better in that area of his game. He's got jump hooks now that he can go to over his right or left shoulder. He's doing that a lot more effectively and now we just want him to rebound. That's what I'm pushing him towards -- I want him to be a monster. He's still going to be able to block shots, but I want him to be the total package as a player and he's certainly capable of doing that."

About defending that title... So what do the Huskies need to do this season?

"We've just go to pay attention to details right now," Ollie said. "You can't be distracted by the crumbs, because the cake is at the end of the season. A lot of people are grabbing for the crumbs and get frustrated if we lose a couple of games here or there but you need to understand that we want to go after the cake. We want to be right when the time is right in March and April and we can't distracted because injuries happen or something happens where we're not playing our best basketball. We need to stay with the program. We need to stay with the process. We have to have the mindset that if we're always learning then that's when we're most successful."

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