Germany

UConn’s Niels Giffey to represent Germany in 2013 EuroBasket

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In three seasons as a member of the UConn basketball program, 6-7 forward has held the same general role. Provide some versatility at the forward position, with his size allowing Giffey to handle responsibilities at both the three and the four for the Huskies.

But there’s always the hunger to do more, and such is likely the case for Giffey (4.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg in 2012-13) given the fact that he’s entering his senior season. The question: how much will Giffey’s summer experience with the German national team help him when he returns to Storrs?

Giffey’s averaged 7.5 points per game for Germany, which is playing scrimmages in preparation for the 2013 European Championships that begin on September 4. His best outing came against France’s national team, which included pros Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum, as he scored 13 points in the scrimmage. With five more games to play ahead of the actual tournament, Giffey will have plenty of opportunities to hone his skills in game action before returning to the UConn program.

But roles within teams tend to be different, as we saw earlier this summer with former Villanova guard Mislav Brzoja. With UConn returning guards Shabazz Napier (17.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, Ryan Boatright (15.4, 4.4) and Omar Calhoun (11.1, 3.9 rpg), as well as sophomore forward DeAndre Daniels (12.1, 5.5 rpg), how much room is there for Giffey to score during his senior campaign?

Each of those four players finished the season with possession percentages of 20% or higher, with Boatright (24.5%) and Napier (24%) leading the way as expected (stat courtesy of kenpom.com). Giffey, by comparison, factored into just 13.7% of UConn’s possessions in 2012-13, which despite being an improvement when compared to his percentage as a sophomore (12.2) is still nearly two percentage points lower than the number he posted on UConn’s national title team (15.4).

Ultimately his summer experience with the German senior national team will benefit Giffey, but that won’t necessarily mean drastically higher numbers in the scoring department in his senior season at UConn due to the role he plays.

Enosch Wolf won’t be walking on at UConn next season

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About a month after his legal issues stemming from an on-campus altercation were cleared up (the charges were dropped), UConn center Enosch Wolf was reinstated by head coach Kevin Ollie. But that move came with a caveat: if Wolf were to return to the program in 2013-14 he would have to do so as a walk-on, as George Washington transfer Lasan Kromah received the last available scholarship.

On Friday it became official that Wolf will not be back in Storrs next season as Telekom Baskets Bonn, a professional team in Germany, announced that it has signed the 7-1 center to a two-year deal (the announcement is in German, for obvious reasons).

After playing in 14 games during his first two seasons at UConn, Wolf saw action in 22 contests last season for the Huskies (13.7 mpg) in 2012-13. Wolf averaged 3.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game before his season came to an end in February.

Wolf’s best outing came in a loss to N.C. State on December 4, as he scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the 69-65 defeat.

Ollie didn’t have many options inside to choose from last season, but UConn still managed to win 20 games thanks in large part to guards Shabazz Napier (17.1 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Ryan Boatright (15.4, 4.4). Freshmen Omar Calhoun (11.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and DeAndre Daniels (12.1, 5.5) were also double-digit scorers, and this quartet will be expected to lead the Huskies in their first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

But how much of a threat they can be to early favorites Louisville and Memphis will depend on what UConn gets from its big men. Senior Tyler Olander (4.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg) struggled for much of last season, and UConn will need more production from both he and sophomore Phillip Nolan (1.4, 2.1). The Huskies will add freshmen Amidah Brimah and Kentan Facey this summer.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.