Wolf sidelined with concussion

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Brendan Allen after practice Wednesday at Gampel Pavilion. (Neill Ostrout photo)

Just as guard Shabazz Napier is working his way toward 100 percent, the UConn basketball team is dealing with another injury.

Center Enosch Wolf suffered a concussion in a recent practice and is out of action indefinitely.

The 7-foot-1 junior suffered two concussions late last season with the Huskies, hence the precautions being taken now. He apparently was suffering from a few headaches recently.

It’s just a guess right now, but it seems Wolf is likely out for UConn’s first exhibition Nov. 1 against AIC.

“Everybody is being very cautious around here. It’s his third concussion and we just don’t want get his fourth and then it gets to a point where he has to retire from basketball,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said.

“He’s feeling much better now. We just want to see when he starts doing his cardio if the side effects come back. Then we’ll have to hold him out,” Ollie said.

Ollie says Wolf should be back for the regular season opener Nov. 9 against Michigan State in Wolf’s native Germany.

With Andre Drummond in the NBA and Alex Oriakhi at Missouri, the Huskies are remarkably thin up front. Wolf is obviously expected to play much more than in his first two seasons in Storrs.

Teammate Tyler Olander (The Huskies’ junior forward who also may have to play some center) said last week at Big East media day that Wolf has improved greatly.

“He’s really improved a lot. He’s gotten stronger and he’s cut out all the bad weight,” Olander said. “He’s worked on his game and he’s really focused.”

“I don’t think the first two years he was here that he was really focused on basketball,” Olander continued. “He just came to America and enjoyed all the perks that has. I think he kind of forgot a little bit that why he was here was basketball. He really regained that focus at the end of last season and this summer.”

— IN OTHER NEWS Ollie has awarded a scholarship to sophomore guard Brendan Allen.

The 6-foot-3 Windsor High product played in nine games last season as a freshman with the Huskies. He gives the Huskies 11 scholarship players.

“Brendan is a guy that if I play him one minute or I play him 20 minutes, he’s going to be ready,” Ollie said. “We want guys like that who don’t rock the boat, no matter if you’re playing or not playing.”

Allen, who helped Windsor to the 2009 Class LL state title, says his attitude wouldn’t have changed if he wasn’t put on scholarship.

“It’s something I’ve always worked for. I always felt like there was a little something separating me and the rest of the guys,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t let that hinder me from working hard, but it definitely feels good to have a scholarship and be on the same level.”

— ANOTHER MINOR injury of sorts. Freshman forward/center Phil Nolan has flu-like symptoms and didn’t practice Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday’s workout.

— SHABAZZ NAPIER says his foot is somewhere between “92 to 95 percent” healed. Don’t know where he got that number, but anyway, Ollie says he’s been fine in practice lately.

“If he’s lacking any, I don’t see it,” Ollie said.

— THE HUSKIES came to Gampel Pavilion Sunday when they didn’t have to. Apparently the players had a short practice on their own, mostly going over offensive sets they felt needed some work.

A good sign, I would think.

— THERE WERE THREE officials “working” Wednesday’s practice for the Huskies. Ollie said he wanted the players to get used to game conditions.

As my colleague Ed Daigneault and I were discussing, such a move would probably have helped one former Husky the most.

Johnnie Selvie probably holds the record for most times stepping out of bounds over the end line. And he’s in the top five of travels-per-game. If such moves hadn’t been allowed in practice, perhaps Selvie would have been a little more productive in games. (not that he would have ever passed the ball, of course.)

— A COUPLE OF walk-ons have officially joined the team. They are:

Trey James, a 5-foot-9 senior guard from Middletown.

Dave Vandal, a 6-foot-2 senior forward from Stonington (and UConn-Avery Point).

Tor Watts, a 6-foot-1 junior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Terrance Ditimi, a 6-foot-3 sophomore forward from Stamford.

Neill

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About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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