UConn lost a piece of its 2013-14 national championship team on Friday as the university announced that sophomore forward Leon Tolksdorf has opted to transfer to American.
The 6-foot-8 Tolksdorf is a native of Germany and appeared in 13 games for the Huskies last season, averaging 1.2 points and 0.8 rebounds per game in 3.6 minutes a game.
“Leon did everything we asked him to do at UConn, on the court and in the classroom,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said in the release. “He came to practice every day ready to work hard and push his teammates to improve. He was a big part of our winning the national championship. We wish him the best of luck as he moves on.”
“I have enjoyed two unforgettable years at UConn and I am proud to have been part of the Husky family,” Tolksdorf said in the release. “I never thought I would call Storrs a second home, but being at UConn and knowing my teammates has had a huge impact on me. At the same time, I am also excited to accept this new challenge in my life.”
Although Tolksdorf never cracked the rotation in his two years at UConn, he’ll have a much better chance to thrive in the Patriot League with American. The Eagles are coming off of a 2014 NCAA Tournament appearance under first-year head coach Mike Brennan and they’re only losing senior starting center Tony Wroblicky.
American will replace Wroblicky’s production with Nevada transfer Kevin Panzer — who transferred into the program last year and sat out the 2013-14 season due to transfer restrictions — this season, but Tolksdorf should be counted on to produce and help offset the loss of Panzer when he eventually takes the floor for American.
The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.