UConn in the Pros: Where are Shabazz Napier and the 2014 UConn Huskies today? 

Governor Dannel P. Malloy greets the 2014 NCAA National Champion UConn Huskies Men’s Basketball team as they arrive at Bradley Airport the day after their championship game. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 2014, the UConn men’s basketball team went on one of the most improbable runs the NCAA tournament had ever seen, capturing the program’s fourth national championship as a seventh seed. Led by the lethal guard tandem of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, Connecticut was victorious against Saint Joseph’s, Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida and Kentucky to stand alone on top of the NCAA mountain. Nine years later, the entirety of the 2014 roster and coaching staff have embarked new chapters in their basketball careers somewhere else. So where exactly did they go? 

Starting Five: 

G Shabazz Napier (2010-2014): The MVP of the 2014 team was drafted No. 24 overall in 2014 by the Charlotte Hornets (pick traded to MIA). Napier spent six years in the NBA with the Heat, Magic, Trailblazers, Nets, Timberwolves and Wizards before going overseas. Napier currently plays with Olimpia Milano of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A and the EuroLeague. 

G Ryan Boatright (2011-2015):  After four terrific seasons and sensational play during Connecticut’s title run, the 5’11” guard went undrafted following his senior season despite averaging 17 points per game. Boatright bounced around the G-League and eventually took the overseas route, currently playing for BC Parma of the VTB United League. 

F DeAndre Daniels (2011-2014): After scoring 16 points per game during the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Daniels was drafted No. 37 overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2014 NBA Draft. Daniels jumped around G-League rosters from 2014-2016 before going to play in Italy, Russia, the Dominican Republic, Finland and New Zealand. Daniels currently plays for the Townsville Heat of the NBL1 North. 

F Niels Giffey (2010-2014): Despite averaging just 8.4 points per game in 2014, Giffey’s blistering 48% shooting from behind the arc served as a major contribution during Connecticut’s title run. Following graduation, Giffey returned to his home country of Germany to begin his professional career. He currently plays for Bayern Munich in the Basketball Bundesliga and the EuroLeague.  

C Phillip Nolan (2012-2016): Averaging a career 2.1 points per game, Nolan wasn’t quite known for his scoring abilities, but rather his size and defensive presence. Nolan and Amida Brimah platooned at the center position throughout the tournament, but it was Nolan who made all six starts. Following graduation, the 6-foot-10 center played for Team FOG Næstved in Denmark during the 2016-2017 season. That year, Nolan made a game-winning free throw that won Fog Næstved the Basketligaen Championship. There is no record of Nolan playing anywhere professionally since 2017. 

Head Coach Kevin Ollie: Following the retirement of Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun, Ollie was named interim head coach ahead of the 2012-2013 college basketball season. In just his second season, Ollie was able to lead the team he played for to the program’s fourth national championship. The UConn head coach would be linked to NBA coaching vacancies following the 2013-2014 season, but he would ultimately stay at Connecticut where many thought he would be for years to come. After four 20+ win seasons, two tournament appearances and a national championship in his first four years, things began to go south for the Huskies. After back-to-back losing seasons, Kevin Ollie would be fired after six years as UConn’s head coach. An ugly wrongful termination lawsuit between the coach and the university would follow and eventually lead to a settlement in which he was rewarded 3.9 million dollars. Ollie recently stepped down from his position as the head of coaching and basketball development for Overtime Elite, a professional basketball league co-founded in 2021 by Dan Porter and Zack Weiner for top players between 16 and 20 years old. Following the departure of head coach Dwayne Casey, Ollie has been linked to the Detroit Pistons head coach vacancy.  

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