In 2012, Leon Tolksdorf arrived in Storrs, Conn., from Germany, unsure of how to interact with some of his teammates. He knew his fellow Berliner Niels Giffey and had played on a club team with the brother of another German player on the roster, Enosch Wolf, but relating to his peers from Brooklyn or Chicago was a new experience.

During the final timeout of Sunday’s East Regional final, after Giffey had made the first of two free throws to give Connecticut a 59-51 lead with six seconds remaining, Ryan Boatright, a 6-foot guard from Aurora, Ill., sought out the 6-8 Tolksdorf and jumped into his arms to celebrate.

The Huskies have affectionately given Tolksdorf the nickname Schnitzel, a meal he has served for his Jamaican and African teammates, who in return have treated him to dishes of plantains and yams.

The bond that has carried Connecticut (30-8) to the Final Four this season was formed when the program reached a nadir.

When Kevin Ollie was hired at Connecticut to succeed the Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun in September 2012, the Huskies had been barred from postseason play for that season because of poor academic performance. Three players had left the program in the aftermath.

Two weeks after he took the job, Ollie brought in Dr. Joe Carr, a sports psychologist, to meet with the team. Over the course of one weekend, the Huskies spent about 30 hours working with Carr, sometimes in sessions that lasted eight to nine consecutive hours, according to Boatright.

Initially, Connecticut’s players were skeptical of what was perceived as another formulaic team chemistry exercise. Boatright said that none of the Huskies wanted to attend the sessions or even talk at first, but that now Carr “is a part of this team,” and “after we had that meeting, our chemistry was unbelievable.”

“We went from all being friends to becoming family,” the sophomore Phillip Nolan said.

Since 1999, Carr has spoken to about 40 college teams, as well as N.B.A. players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Carr was suggested to Ollie by the Massachusetts assistant Shyrone Chatman. UMass Coach Derek Kellogg, who had previously worked with Carr, said his reputation among professional athletes gave him “street credibility” among younger players.

“He’s kind of cool — he has the lingo and talk,” Kellogg said. “And the credentials he has opens the eyes and ears immediately.”

North Texas Coach Tony Benford first met Carr when he was an assistant at Marquette, during its runs to the Round of 16 in 2011 and 2012.

“He’ll start with probably your toughest kids or one of the kids everyone really respects,” Benford said. “You see one of those guys open up — everyone else kind of falls in line. Everyone has a story they want to tell.”

During Connecticut’s sessions with Carr, the German players heard teammates recount seeing friends killed. They realized the pressure to succeed put on American high school stars, sometimes as a result of the players’ socioeconomic background.

“Some of my teammates, they’ve experienced a lot of tough hits during their childhood,” Tolksdorf said. “Sometimes you might say something to hurt them you won’t even realize.”

Tolksdorf continued: “It’s hard to describe what basketball means to them to support their families at one point. That’s pretty different to what we’re used to in Germany. That’s a good thing to know.”

During the 2011-12 season, Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier was coping with the death of a friend from his hometown, Roxbury, Mass. A sophomore at the time, he did not know how to channel his emotions with his teammates, which led to tension.

“We knew each other pretty well, but that meeting just broke a lot of people down; it made people open up,” Boatright said. “You just got to see, like, the inside to our teammates’ lives and see why they act the way they act sometimes.”

Carr said one of his first steps was to redefine “chemistry” to Napier and the Huskies. He used the acronym RARE to represent four concepts: relationships, accepting challenges, recovering from mistakes, and executing coaches’ directions.

“Shabazz in particular, he was an isolator,” Carr said. “Coach Ollie’s patience made it easy for ’Bazz to thaw out.”

Ollie said Carr’s work helped Napier’s maturation over the past two years.

“He has an amazing gift; his personality is dynamic,” Ollie said of Napier. “He’s a true leader, and people follow him. Earlier in his career, he was not trusting, and shying away from that. He’s also vulnerable now. Before he wasn’t able to show his weaknesses and own up.”

Kentan Facey, a freshman forward from Jamaica, said the team had joined together to help its international players overcome language barriers.

“A brotherhood doesn’t really defer based on ethnicity, or whatever you may call it, nationality,” he said. “As long as you understand that there’s a brotherhood and it’s stronger than anything you encounter in your life, then that’s going to help you overcome anything that comes up.”

One of Carr’s basic lessons is getting players to critically judge one another’s daily performance.

After Connecticut’s victory over Michigan State in the East Region final, Ollie talked about his team’s “level 5” championship mentality, which is one of Carr’s main teaching points. Benford said his point guard Chris Jones is rated on a scale from 1 to 5 each day by his teammates, to gauge how vocal he was during practice. John T. Reilly, the coach at Gannon, has players rate the energy level of their practices on the same scale, and he keeps the results in a book to monitor their progression.

“The opportunities are endless,” Ollie said of the mantra. “You can take a roof off a team. Now we’re trying to go to a level 6.”

Ollie had previously worked as an assistant for Calhoun, but he inherited a team that had lost two of its top players to the N.B.A., Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb. In search of leadership, players said that Carr’s visit made them all accountable.

Carr periodically checks in with the team during the season and is available to talk with the players over the phone throughout the year.

This season, Carr met with the Huskies before a pivotal late-season home game against 11th-ranked Cincinnati. The unranked Huskies defeated the Bearcats, 51-45, a win that players said spurred their run to the Final Four. On Wednesday, Carr met with the team as it prepared for Saturday’s semifinal against top-seeded Florida.

“I think Dr. Carr steps in at an opportune time to make sure that the team could capitalize on the fact that we’re a really good team, and we could make it far in this N.C.A.A. tournament,” Facey said. “Having him come in and bringing us closer together in a sense helped us to be where we are today.”