Kevin Ollie: Extension Exactly What UConn Needed to Attract Jahlil Okafor

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Kevin Ollie of the Connecticut Huskies directs his players in the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the Jimmy V Classic on December 4, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

UConn was going to struggle to reel in recruits until it extended Kevin Ollie’s contract.

On Saturday, that problem was solved. Andy Katz of ESPN reported that Ollie had agreed to a five-year deal with Connecticut.

Let the recruiting begin.

Despite winning two national titles and making the NCAA Tournament eight times in the past 10 years—not to mention their loads of NBA talent—the Huskies haven’t had success on the recruiting trail this season. They’ve only received two commits, and just one is ranked in ESPN’s top 100 prospects of the class of 2013: power forward Kenton Facey, who just snuck onto the list at No. 100.

Now that UConn’s future is secure, though, it should become a recruiting juggernaut once again.

Enter Jahlil Okafor.

Emeka Okafor led Connecticut to a national championship in 2004. Will his cousin attempt to do the same?

ESPN ranks the 6’9”, 270-pound younger Okafor as the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2014. He’s being recruited by Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Ohio State, but his family history with the Huskies could give them an edge.

According to Max Preps, Okafor is averaging 22.6 points per game, and he had a three-game run this season in which he went 34-of-39 from the field.

But let’s just say that UConn can’t sign Okafor. Not all would be lost.

According to ESPN, Connecticut has already offered scholarships to six undecided 4-star prospects, all of which are ranked in the top 60 in next year’s class.

Sure, it doesn’t matter how many scholarships the Huskies offer or to whom until they sign on the dotted line. But it’s undeniable that their 2014 recruiting class has potential. And after a solid 9-2 start to the season, the only thing standing between them and fulfilling that potential is a successful Big East campaign.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.