STORRS - It was in some ways inevitable, but it was no less painful for the UConn menâ€™s basketball team to learn Thursday that Sidney Wilsonâ€™s appeal to the NCAA was denied. The 6-foot-7 freshman from the Bronx will not play with the Huskies this season.
UConn announced prior to its game with SMU that it had received word from the NCAAâ€™s committee for legislative relief denying its appeal of a decision not to grant Wilson a waiver. Wilson transferred from St. Johnâ€™s prior to the start of the academic year, but had hoped to avoid sitting out an entire year of competition as is normally required.
UConn and Wilsonâ€™s family applied for a waiver soon after he arrived in Storrs. That waiver application was denied in late December, after which the school appealed.
That, according to UConn officials, â€śexhausted all avenues that would lead to immediate eligibilityâ€ť for Wilson.
Wilson, who attended St. Raymondâ€™s High School in the Bronx before a year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, can continue to practice with the Huskies for the remainder of the season. He will have four years of eligibility beginning next season.
UConn may not be playing very consistently as a team, but its starting center is beginning to do so.
Not long after being given the starting job by coach Kevin Ollie, freshman Josh Carlton is coming into his own. The 6-foot-9 native of Winterville, North Carolina, was averaging 12.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in the three games before Thursdayâ€™s. Thatâ€™s after averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds over his first 16 games as a Husky.
â€śIâ€™m pretty satisfied but Iâ€™m more worried about the team, trying to get back on a win streak,â€ť said Carlton, who had 12 rebounds and five points in 31 minutes Thursday.
Over the last four games Carlton has made 17 of his 28 shots from the floor and 9-of-14 from the free throw line. Heâ€™s also cut down on fouls, committing just nine over that span.
â€śIâ€™m starting to find my comfort on the floor, not worrying about making mistakes out there and just playing my game,â€ť Carlton said.
No return game
For the first time since the American Athletic Conference began, two of its marquee programs will not meet twice in the regular season. Thursdayâ€™s game was the only scheduled meeting between UConn and SMU this season.
â€śItâ€™s so disappointing we donâ€™t have a home-and-home with them this year,â€ť SMU coach Tim Jankovich said. â€śOur fans want to see UConn. I hate it for them. â€¦ It just feels like a meaningful game. Thatâ€™s probably because of their success over the years.â€ť
Tyler Polley started in place of the injured Terry Larrier, joining Jalen Adams, Christian Vital, Antwoine Anderson and Carlton in the starting lineup. It was the 14th different starting lineup the Huskies have used through 20 games this season. â€¦ Andersonâ€™s 3-pointer with 8:37 to play in the first half, a shot that gave UConn a 20-14 lead, was his first triple in his last 21 attempts, dating to a Dec. 21 game at Arizona. â€¦ SMUâ€™s shooting percentage of 28.1 was the lowest by a UConn opponent since Syracuse hit 25.9 percent in a 52-50 loss to the Huskies Dec. 5, 2016 at Madison Square Garden. â€¦ UConn is 5-0 in Gampel this season.