(WTNH)–It’s no secret that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie has a special affinity for SMU’s Larry Brown. The two were inseparable during their time with the Philadelphia 76ers, when Brown was the coach and Ollie was one of the team’s veteran leaders.
When we spoke with Larry at AAC Media Day last year, he gushed about his former pupil, and the job he’s doing at UConn.
On Wednesday, Ollie spoke with reporters about the penalties levied against Brown’s SMU program. The Mustangs were banned from postseason play, and Brown was suspended nine games by the NCAA after it concluded that he knew about an academic cheating scandal and lied to investigators.
“We hate for that to happen to SMU,” Ollie told the Hartford Courant. “I’m going to talk about it personally, I’m not going to comment on the NCAA and the penalties and sanctions, but I just hate that to happen to a very dear friend.”
“I know they’re going to get better from the situation, hopefully go forward. We’ve got to go forward as a university, and as a conference. We’ve still got some great teams that are going to have the opportunity to play in the tournament,” Ollie said.
“Knowing [Larry], he’s been down a lot of times in his life. The good thing is, every time you go by him a week later, he’s back up and he’s at it again. I don’t think that’s going to change now. He’s going to look at it as a learning situation and get better from it. He’s a very great man, he’s been insturmental in my life and I wish him the best going forward.”
“I sent him a voicemail, just telling him I’m praying for him and I love him.”