If you are a girl who aspires to play college basketball, one person you want to impress is Dan Olsen, who works tirelessly for espn.com and scouts players all over the country, taking just a handful of days off per year.
Olsen, who publishes the Collegiate Girls’ Basketball Report and has well over 100 college coaches as subscribers, has a local connection few people are aware of — he helped start Barry University’s women’s basketball program in 1988.
As the program’s first coach, Olsen went 7-17 but was 15-9 the following year and 26-4 in 1990-91. That last team made the NCAA Division II playoffs, reaching the Sweet 16 round. The 26 wins still stand as a school record for women’s basketball.
The season after Olsen and Barry parted company, the Bucs finished 3-24. In fact, Olsen won more games in his final season than his successor did in four years.
After Barry, Olsen was briefly an assistant coach at the University of Miami and opened the program at Lynn University, much as he had done with the Bucs.
But Olsen, bothered by the lack of job security that exists in coaching, left the business and became an agent.
When he found that industry distasteful, Olsen fell into what he’s doing now, which is taking about 175 flights a year, seeking to evaluate the nation’s top talent in girls’ basketball.
“My website has become the bible for college coaches who want to know the real deal about a player and not just the hyped-up version,” Olsen said. “I will spell it out for them. I have no agenda.”
Olsen, who is beginning his 10th year in his current position, knows everyone who is anyone in women’s basketball and said the University of Miami and FIU are in good shape with their coaching staffs and programs.
It’s no surprise hearing that about Miami, where coach Katie Meier is well established. Olsen said Meier does a great job developing players that other talent-evaluators undervalued.
Meanwhile, first-year FIU coach Marlin Chinn also drew praise from Olsen.
“Marlin is a good guy — he’s a hustler,” Olsen said. “He’s gotten some good recruits. “But administrators need to know this is not a two- or three-year fix. It’s more like four or five years.”
▪ Former University of Miami point guard Manu Lecomte, who started 40 games for the Hurricanes the past two years, is at Baylor, sitting out this season because of NCAA transfer rules. But he’s in line to be the Bears’ starter next season.
Baylor will graduate starting point guard Lester Medford this after this season. Other guards on the Bears roster are combo types, including starter Al Freeman and Top-40 recruit King McClure.
▪ Former Canes shooting guard DeAndre Burnett is at Ole Miss, sitting out this season as a transfer. He could emerge as a big-time player next season.
ACC ELITE COACHES
There are six active coaches in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and four are coaching against Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference: Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Louisville’s Rick Pitino.