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UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie talks stairs and escalators

By Jeff Jacobs, The Hartford Courant Published: November 11, 2012

Oh, Ollie has a bunch of sayings.

“The ship might not come into land. We're going to swim right out to it. I promise you that.” That one, a variation of a quotation attributed to Jonathan Winters, is about the future not being given to you, that you have to take it.

There's the, “First you bring the sugar and then the hot sauce.” That one, of course, means you say something encouraging before you lay down the law. And there's the, “You can make a suit 15 different ways out of the same material. Coach (Jim Calhoun) and I are made out of the same material.” That's Ollie's way of saying the presentation might be different, but the message in the end is the same.

“I try to use (the sayings) sparingly, I don't want to use them all the time,” Ollie said. “I am trying to make a point, and I try to use word pictures. I think it resonates with guys. Instead of a, b, c, d, they can picture things in their own minds. It's all about while plowing through life, make sure you see others more importantly than yourself.”

Folks might remember the story of Napier walking out of Wells Fargo Center last February in Philly with a book tucked on his arm after he hit a 29-foot shot with 0.6 seconds left to beat Villanova. Ollie gave him that book.

It was, “Every Day a Friday,” by Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in America. It's about being happier all seven days a week through hope and joy.

“He gave me that book, he told me to read it,” Napier said. “I realized a lot of the things he was saying were in the book. I went up to him and said, ‘You don't make all this stuff yourself.' He said, ‘I know, you've got to copy a lot of people's good stuff.'”

“He has a lot of sayings. Some of them he's playing around. Some of them I really take to heart. And if you think about them, they're true. He wants to make you a better person. He doesn't want you to take the easy route. He'd rather it be hard now and easier in the long run. So your future and your family's future will be easier. My own mom was brought up hard. She tried to make life easier for me. That's what you want to do.”

Ollie said he gets parts of quotes from books and alters them to his own way.

“You've got to switch it up a little bit,” Ollie said. “You can't be plagiarizing anything. That thing about escalators I saw in a book, but it didn't say cowards. It's just came out that way.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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