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Nets add Ollie, Burrell to Vaughn’s staff

Ex-UConn and G-League coaches fill out Brooklyn bench

June 7, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Kevin Ollie didn’t get the job he wanted.

But the Brooklyn Nets are happy to have him.

According to ESPN, the Nets are filling out second-year head coach Jacque Vaughn’s staff with a pair of new hires, bringing in former University of Connecticut coach Ollie and Long Island Nets coach Ronnie Burrell for the 2023-24 campaign.

Ollie, who guided his alma mater to the 2014 national championship following a 13-year NBA career, was up for the Detroit Pistons opening this offseason.

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But that spot went to Monty Williams, leaving Ollie to the Nets, who are hoping to continue their on-the-fly rebuild after jettisoning Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during February’s trade deadline.

Ollie was working for the Overtime Elite program in Atlanta, helping to guide young players into the NBA. The 50-year-old Dallas, Texas native was fired by the Huskies in 2018 after being accused of failing to monitor his program following an investigation by the NCAA.

However, Ollie and UConn agreed on a settlement thereafter that paid the long-time point guard nearly $4 million.

Vaughn, who inherited Steve Nash’s staff after the former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player was fired seven games into last year, led Brooklyn back to the playoffs with a 45-37 mark.

Though they were swept by Philadelphia in the opening round, failing to win a single postseason game for the second straight year, new additions like Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith began to show signs of fitting in with the Nets’ mainstays.

Ronnie Burrell, shown here during his international playing career with Poland, is one of two new assistants on the Nets’ coaching staff. AP Photo by Mindaugas Kulbis

Brooklyn is loaded with picks heading into this month’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center, and could use those selections to make significant trades or rely on its staff to continue developing young talent.

Burrell has been at the forefront of that approach, earning G-League Coach of the Year honors this past season.

Ollie and Burrell will join a staff that also includes newly hired Jay Hernandez, who was with the Hornets before arriving in Brooklyn, and returnees Adam Caporn, Ryan Forehan-Kelly and Trevor Hendry.


Mets outfield prospect Alex Ramirez hit a game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Brooklyn Cyclones suffered a 5-3 loss to the visiting Greenville Drive in front of 1,952 fans at Coney Island’s Maimonides Park.

Ramirez, a 20-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, came up with two on and two out in the seventh with Brooklyn down 3-0 in the opener of this six-game series.

He smoked an offering from reliever Brock Bell over the left-field fence to knot the contest.

However, the Drive rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth off Kolby Kubichek (0-1) when Greenville’s Nick Decker bashed one over the wall in right.

The Cyclones were slated to return to the diamond Wednesday for a special Education Day 11 a.m. start.

The team announced earlier this week that it will be hosting its second annual Eastern European Night Sunday at 2 p.m.

Maimonides Park will be the setting for this Sunday’s Eastern European Night as the Cyclones host the Greenville Drive on Coney Island. AP Photo by John Minchillo

Last year’s inaugural heritage game was dedicated to Ukraine and served as a fundraiser for local organizations assisting with the humanitarian efforts in war-torn country.

“The Cyclones are hosting Eastern European Night with the goal of bringing our neighbors together and introducing baseball, the great American pastime, to a new generation of Americans,” said Brooklyn Vice President Steve Cohen.

“Fans will be able to enjoy an afternoon of great performances, great food and, of course, great baseball.”

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