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NCAA champion emerges as favorite for Detroit Pistons head coach job

On the same day the Detroit Pistons finished their regular season, Dwane Casey stepped down as head coach, moving to the front office instead. Ever since, the Pistons have been trying to identify the right candidate to replace Casey, taking over a young roster full of potential.

The Pistons have already begun interviewing several candidates, and now general manager Troy Weaver may be getting close to making a final decision. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Kevin Ollie is “widely considered” the frontrunner to land the Pistons’ vacant head coaching position.

According to Shams Charania, Ollie is one of three finalists. The other two candidates set for another meeting with the Pistons’ top brass, including team owner Tom Gores are New Orleans Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins and Milwaukee Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee.

Ollie has operated as the head of coaching and basketball development at Overtime Elite, a professional basketball league for 16-20 olds since 2021. Before then, Ollie coached the University of Connecticut Huskies from 2012-18, where he led the program to an NCAA Division I tournament in 2014.

Only, Ollie found himself in the middle of some controversy at UConn when he was charged with “failure to monitor” the Huskies program along with three Level I violations. Those violations included: organizing summer pick-up games that didn’t register as allowable team activities, their video coordinator conducting impermissible instruction, plus a booster handing out additional benefits to UConn student-athletes.

Ollie was fired in March of 2018, but he’d later file a grievance and win $10 million when an arbitrator ruled in his favor, suggesting UConn fired him without cause.

Now, Ollie, who has helped develop two prospects expected to be top picks in the 2023 NBA Draft (twins Amen & Ausar Thompson), appears to be generating serious interest from the Pistons, who hold the No. 5 overall pick, may be in the ideal range to land one of the players Ollie is most familiar with.

Related: Top NBA head coach candidates for 2023, including Monty Williams and Becky Hammon

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