Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kevin Ollie's golf tourney has now raised more than $1 million for kids with disabilities

Kevin Ollie's golf tournament has now raised more than $1 million over the past 15 years to support people with disabilities in sports. Here's the press release:

Former UConn players (l. to r.) Donny Marshall, Kevin Ollie and Ray Allen.
The 2016 Kevin Ollie Charity Golf Classic presented by Walmart and PMR/Prime Materials Recovery, Inc. broke records and smiles on and off the course.

This is the 15th year of Kevin Ollie's involvement in the Tournament and with the $170,000 raised this year the Tournament has now donated more than $1 million to help support people with disabilities through sports.  For the first time, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Lake of Isles in North Stonington hosted the event.

"Our goal is help give every child a shot," Coach Ollie said.

But the event was not about playing golf—because every child deserves a shot.  For thirty years, Tournament proceeds have underwritten many programs and athletic events for athletes with disabilities on the world stage and weekend warriors, including Paralympic Gold Medalist Paul Nitz, Ivan Lendl’s Wheelchair Tennis Camp, Connecticut Sled Hockey, and The Miracle Field in West Hartford. Ollie is now building Kevin's Kourts, inclusive basketball courts throughout Connecticut.  Coach Ollie announced that he anticipates breaking ground this Fall in Waterbury on the second "Kevin's Kourt", with a previously announced grant from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).

Coach Ollie was joined by NBA star Ray Allen, Southern Connecticut State University Men's Basketball Head Basketball Coach Scott Burrell, TV Basketball Analyst Donny Marshall, NFL Legend Sterling Sharpe and UConn team mates and other former players.

Earlier in the weekend Coach Kevin Ollie and his UConn Coaching Staff hosted a clinic for 80 area Tribal youth at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Community Center.

“It’s an honor to partner with the Kevin Ollie Charity Classic.  I’ve witnessed firsthand how inspiring and influential Kevin’s organization is in working with disabled youth,” says Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.  “These programs not only provide access to sports that help build confidence, but also helps kids establish valuable problem-solving and teamwork skills that they’ll use the rest of their lives.”

The Kevin Ollie Charity Classic also announced its annual 2016 Schamback Award Winner, Paige McCullouch-Casciano, a recreational therapist at Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital who co-founded an adaptive rowing program in Hartford; and 2016 George McLaughlin Award Winner, 17 year old David Gelfand. Although born with Proximal Focal Femoral Defiency, missing the bones between his  hip and foot on his left side, David captains the Weston High School swim team.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Who writes this stuff, anyway?

Here's the UConn season preview that I wrote for Lindy's.
The magazine should be on news stands in a few weeks. Incidentally, they've got UConn ranked No. 16 preseason, and Cincinnati right behind at No. 17. I agree the two are neck-and-neck. Really, flip a coin as to which team deserves to be preseason AAC champs.

There are no other AAC teams in the mag's Top 40. SMU was going to be, until Larry Brown retired in early July. I say that SMU, Memphis or Houston could be NCAA tourney teams this season.

And if you want a sleeper, go with UCF (Johnny Dawkins, Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor, A.J. Davis.)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Makai Ashton-Langford will make official visit to UConn Sept. 8-10

Spoke with Makai Ashton-Langford before the Big Strick Classic on Saturday night. Here's what he had to say:

(how his summer's going)

“Obviously, it was a great time winning the championship, after coming up short last year. It was a very fun summer – especially playing with a group of talented guys, and against a bunch of talented guys.”

He added that the three things he needs to work on the most this season are: handle, jump shot and defensive footwork.

(on his recruiting)

“I haven’t cut the list yet, but the top three that have been recruiting me a lot were UConn, Providence and Louisville.”

“I’ve always loved UConn.”

(What he's loved about UConn)

“Just what they do to their point guards. They get them to the next level, they really develop their game. If they need help shooting, they’ll help them shoot. If they need help handling the ball, they’ll help them with that. I just really like what they do with their point guards.”

Ashton-Langford said he's visiting Louisville Sept. 1-3, then UConn Sept. 8-10.

(what's he looking for in his school?)

“I’m really good with all the coaches. I really want to have a good relationship with the coaches. All the little things – who they’ve been recruiting, stuff like that, who’s really thinking about going there. Point guard-wise, who they have coming in to help me for the coming years to try to win a national championship.”

(would he mind going to a program that already has an established point guard?)

“That wouldn’t matter to me.”

(would he like to play alongside Jalen Adams, perhaps?)

“That’s my boy. We played AAU together, played Rivals together. I know him pretty well ... That would be fun. That would be fun.”

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Maui Invitational ticket packages go on sale Monday

For those UConn fans thinking of heading to Maui to watch the Huskies play in the Maui Invitational in November, some info:

Ticket packages for the 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Round, which will be held Nov. 21-23 at the Lahaina Civic Center, will go on sale to the public on Monday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m. ET (9 a.m. HT).

Tickets can be purchased at or by phone at 1-800-325-SEAT.

Select school Booster ticket packages, which provide access to all three Tournament games for a particular school, will be available for purchase. All-Tournament reserved tickets, which grant access to all 12 games at the Lahaina Civic Center, will also be on sale.

This year’s field features Georgetown, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee, UConn, Wisconsin and host Chaminade. Since 1999, this year’s teams have combined for six national championships and 15 trips to the Final Four. In all, the field has combined to win 14 national titles, make 40 trips to the Final Four and earn 194 NCAA Tournament berths. The Tar Heels, Ducks and Badgers are projected as Top-10 teams once the 2016-17 season begins.

Select Travel Packages remain on sale and include game tickets, accommodations at an official host hotel, Maui Jim sunglasses and customized fittings, game day shuttle service and more. For more information, visit or call the Tournament’s official travel department at 800-856-0024.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie will tee off in Travelers pro-am on Wednesday

Kevin Ollie and Jim Calhoun will each play in the Travelers Championship celebrity pro-am on Wednesday.

Ollie will tee off the first tee at 12:20 p.m.,  in a group with UConn hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh, women's basketball assistant Chris Dailey and PGA Tour pro J.J. Henry.

Calhoun will tee off 20 minutes later, also off the first tee, in a group with Javier Colon, Ming Tsai and tour pro Freddie Jacboson.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

AAC, SEC, ASUN conferences form officiating consortium

The AAC, SEC and ASUN conferences will collaborate on officiating, it was announced on Wednesday. Here's the press release:

Commissioner Mike Aresco announced today that the American Athletic Conference, the Southeastern Conference and the ASUN Conference have formed a men’s basketball officiating consortium.

The consortium was established to allow the three conferences to collaborate on all officiating matters related to recruitment, education and training, scheduling and evaluation of officials in the sport of men’s basketball.

Mark Whitehead, recently named coordinator of men’s basketball officials in the SEC, will serve in the same position for The American and the ASUN and will oversee all operations of the consortium.

“I want to thank Greg Sankey for inviting us to join this officiating consortium which includes the SEC and ASUN,” Aresco said. “This partnership will ensure that we have the highest quality basketball officiating as well as the best evaluation and training of our officials group. We look forward to closely working with coordinator of men’s basketball officials Mark Whitehead and our colleagues at the SEC and ASUN.”

“We are pleased to be collaborating with The American and ASUN to continue the enhancement of men’s basketball officiating,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We are focused on improving the quality of men’s basketball officiating and this consortium, with the leadership provided by Mark Whitehead, provides officials with coordinated assigning between our three conferences, offers opportunity for efficient evaluation and training of officials, and continues the SEC’s efforts to strengthen its commitment to men’s basketball.”

“Partnering with elite conferences in the SEC and The American continues to showcase our commitment to enhancing the level of basketball officiating with our league,” said ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “We look forward to the men’s basketball officiating consortium providing top-level training as well as systematic assigning and evaluations for our officials. This collaboration will create great benefits for all three conferences.”


Monday, July 25, 2016

New ABA team in Springfield to be coached by Dr. Steve Sobel

There's a new ABA franchise starting up in Springfield, Massachusetts this season, and it will be coached by Dr. Steve Sobel, who also coaches Rodney Purvis's team in the Greater Hartford Pro-Am and who dedicated Sunday afternoon's win to the memory of Purvis's "brother, Tyrek Coger.

Here's the press release announcing the new team, which will be called the Springfield Sting:

The American Basketball Association (ABA) is bringing its first franchise to Springfield, Massachusetts during its 50th anniversary season. Coined the Springfield Sting, the organization will boast the best professional talent from the Greater Springfield area and beyond. The season commences in November 2016. The Sting will be joining the ABA’s Northeast Division for the start of the 2016-17 season, alongside teams in Boston, Providence, New York, Long Island and New Jersey.

The franchise will be owned by Zach Baru of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Baru’s past experience in sports and entertainment includes the Springfield Spirit of the National Women's Basketball League, the Greater Springfield Pro-Am Basketball League, the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League and the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.

Dr. Steven Sobel has been hired as the team’s first General Manager and Head Coach. Sobel, a former Division II star at the University of Hartford, has spent over 40 years coaching collegiate and professional basketball teams and players. During the offseason, Sobel is at the helm of the Springfield Slamm of the Greater Hartford Pro-Am Basketball League. Sobel is also a nationally recognized Motivational Speaker and author of The Good Times Handbook - Your Guide to Positive Living and Exciting Life.

“We are excited to bring professional basketball back to the city of Springfield. With Dr. Sobel at the helm, and potential supporters already reaching out, the possibilities for success here in the community are endless,” said Zach Baru, Springfield Sting Founder/Owner.

Further information about the Sting is available on the team’s official website,

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