"The only way you gonna play is if you rebound," Ollie said.
Lubin was matched up in a 1-on-1 rebounding drill and was too passive for the UConn men's head coach's liking. Lubin, 260-pounds, has to hit the boards aggressively. Everyone on UConn is going to have to hit the boards. The message was sent on the first day.
That was drilled home in a half hour 1-on-1 rebounding drill.
The reigning national champions then finished with a fastbreak drill. All five players had to score a fastbreak layup in 26 seconds time. That's five fastbreaks in 26 seconds.
It wasn't by accident that Ollie ended the first practice of the season on Saturday with those two drills.
UConn wants to run this season, a lot. And to do that, the Huskies have to rebound, a lot. Everything else is secondary.
UConn no longer has Shabazz Napier, the Final Four's MOP and bailout shooter extraordinaire. The Huskies want offense to be easier now.
"We want to be a better fast breaking team than we were last year," Ollie said. "We want to run and get easy buckets. Shabazz is not here to bail us out with 35 footers at the shot clock. We want to run a little more and get our athletes out in space."
The Huskies were an even rebounding team last year and were only +0.3 on the glass after correcting the rebounding issues around the turn of the year. For most of the year, Napier led the team in rebounding at point guard.
As Ollie looks to construct this year's team he sees more size, athleticism and a much better potential rebounding team.
Center Amida Brimah is back for his sophomore campaign at 7-0 230-pounds and sophomore forward Kentan Facey is athletic and seasoned after a year as an understudy to DeAndre Daniels. The Huskies also have junior holdover Phil Nolan at 6-10 and then 6-foot-8 Lubin, who at 260-pounds is 30 pounds heavier than anyone else on the team.
That's just up front. The Huskies also have a versatile and athletic forward in blue chip freshman Daniel Hamilton -- an explosive slasher at 6-foot-7 -- and then also a pair of physical guards in transfer Rodney Purvis and JUCO transfer Sam Cassell Jr. The Huskies averaged 34.9 rebounds a game last year. The leading returning rebounder is Ryan Boatright and 3.8 per game, but Ollie doesn't want his 5-10 point guard to equal Napier's feat.
"I don't want the point guard leading us in rebounding," Ollie said. "I want us to be plus on the backboard. We want to get it up to the (plus) 3s and 4s. We got great guards who can offensive and defensive rebounding. I expect Rodney (Purvis) to get 5 or 6. If Shabazz can get 5 or 6 , Rodney with his athleticism can get 5 or 6. I think our big guys will rebound at a higher rate. Amida won't average three rebounds like last year. Kentan will step up and has the ability to be our best rebounder."
The reason for the rebounding is to get out and run.
Ollie wants to feature the fastbreak even more so this year. UConn was 140th in the nation in scoring per game at 71.8 per game. He wants to increase the pace, using UConn's athleticism, and also increase the ease of scoring. Ollie prides rebounding and ball-handling and sees a team that can rebound and run.
Last year UConn played three point guards at a time in Napier, Boatright and Terrence Samuel to great affect late in the season. He wants to have four ball-handlers on the floor at one time to really get the running game going. With talented and skilled wings such as Purvis(6-3, 215-pounds) and Hamilton, that might be possible.
"My dream is to have four guys get it off the backboard and be a point guard," Ollie said. "That's what I am recruiting for. We were close last year with the three point guards and a couple of forwards who can push it. That's my dream. I want four guys who can get it off the rebound and let's play fastbreak basketball. I don't want to call a lot of plays. I can if we needed to, but I don't want to. I want us to use our athleticism."
Making the game easy is the goal for the 2014-15 Huskies.