The Oklahoma City Thunder was watching one of its own on Monday night as Kevin Ollie guided his Connecticut Huskies to the national championship.
Ollie played one season with the Thunder back in 2009-10. It was one of his 11 NBA stops over the course of his 13-year playing career. He has been credited by many, including Kevin Durant, for changing the culture of the Thunder.
“It was an unbelievable feeling for me,” Durant said of watching Ollie and the Huskies win the championship. “I felt like I was a part of the team. With just having some UConn guys on the team and having KO here for that year, I felt a part of it. And I seen the joy that he had on his face and on their team’s face … You could tell how hard they worked by just looking at their faces. It’s one of those feelings you want to be a part of. Hopefully we get there.”
The Thunder convened at the team hotel Monday night to watch the game. Three current Thunder players — Jeremy Lamb, Caron Butler and Hasheem Thabeet — played at UConn and have been vocal in their support of their alma mater.
“I’m so proud and happy for him,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Well-deserved and earned. He’s going to go down as one of the great stories in the NBA how he made it and had all the success he’s had through all the hard work that he’s put in. He’s a guy that every organization has been better as he has been through that organization.”
Brooks said Ollie helped him during his time in Oklahoma City by having a positive attitude and a strong work ethic that rubbed off on a young team.
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