STORRS – UConn went through its practice for the Syracuse game, and obviously the need to recalibrate for the loss of Enosch Wolf was a big part of the day.
Donny Marshall was in, helping out during practice, and he spent some time working one-on-one with Phil Nolan, the freshman who will now have to absorb some of the 13.7 minutes per game Wolf was playing.
“No more waiting, no more seeing,” Kevin Ollie said. “Phil’s going to learn by experience. We expect him to give us a spark, give us effort and energy. … Next man up.”
If Tyler Olander and Nolan get into foul trouble, Ollie will have to go with a smaller lineup that has Niels Giffey and DeAndre Daniels in together. It’s a look that worked in spots against Providence, when both Olander and Wolf fouled out.
“We play with the guys we have on the bench,” Ollie said.
Players were told not to comment on Wolf, who will appear at Rockville Superior Court today in connection with his arrest Monday morning. “It is what it is, man,” Ryan Boatright said. Ollie did not want to comment, beyond his statement released by the school on Monday.
“We’re going to let the legal process take care of itself,” he said.
Asked if he anticipated Wolf playing again this year, Ollie said, tersely, “He is suspended indefinitely.”
Asked if that meant Wolf could not be around the team at all, Ollie said, “You don’t see him here, so draw your own conclusion.”
Tyler Olander has been starting and playing most of the minutes, though Wolf has often appeared more effective in games.
“My role really doesn’t change,” Olander said. “… I need to be more involved, put more on the stat sheet.”
Ollie: “Tyler needs to get himself more involved. He needs to get rebounds, score. We want him to get double-doubles, and we believe he can do it. And he believes he can do it.”
The closest he came was 16 points, 7 rebounds at ND. Olander has scored only 18 points in seven games since.
Now, vs. Syracuse and beyond, Olander will have to try to be more aggressive – without getting into foul trouble. That may not be possible.
This will be last call for UConn-Syracuse as Big East rivals, as conference realignment breaks up another wonderful match-up. “I grew up watching Syracuse and UConn,” Ollie said.
“Man, it’s crazy,” Boatright said. “DeAndre Daniels and I were talking about that today.”
Olander: “Every [UConn-Syracuse game] is an instant classic.”
UConn will see a lot of zone defense, as it often does, but Syracuse’s brand of zone is different, more extended. “They’re long,” Boatright said. “They play their wings back deeper, take away the jump shot.”
The key, Ollie says, is move the ball size to size with extra crispness.
Bob Knight was to do the game with Brent Musburger for ESPN, but he is having a medical procedure. Jimmy Dykes will work with Musburger.