Greenwich High’s Wolf is Gatorade hoops Player of the Year in CT

Greenwich High School senior Alex Wolf applies the defense during the team's CIAC class LL quarterfinal game against New Britain High School — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich High School senior Alex Wolf applies the defense during the team’s CIAC class LL quarterfinal game against New Britain High School — John Ferris Robben photo

Throughout the basketball season, Greenwich High School senior center Alex Wolf has always been about the team first.

Whether it was helping out any way possible in practice, as one of the team’s captains, or playing strong under the basket during games for Big Red, Wolf did whatever it took to make the Cardinals better.

Now the Greenwich big man is being rewarded for all his hard work and dedication to the sport, as Wolf was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

“I couldn’t be more happy for Alex, his family, the school and his team,” Greenwich High School head coach Bill Brehm said. “Alex deserves it, both on the court and in the classroom. He works really hard, every day in practice. As a captain, there’s nothing more important than putting your money where your mouth is. You can say what you want, but he actually does it.”

The Gatorade Company, in association with USA Today High School Sports, has been awarding athletes for the past 29 years. Wolf is the first-ever Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year to come from Greenwich High School.

“It’s definitely very exciting and it’s a huge deal,” Wolf said. “I was looking at all the players who won it from all over the country and these guys are going to Duke, Kansas and all these other big time schools. It’s pretty excited and I’m very grateful that I was able to receive such an honor. It’s a very prestigious award.”

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior averaged 16.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and eight blocks per game while recording 18 double-doubles this past season and five triple-doubles. He led the Cardinals (24-4) to the CIAC class LL semifinals. A 2014 First Team All-FCIAC selection, he scored 15 points with 11 rebounds in Greenwich’s 59-54 win over New Britain in the Class LL quarterfinals.

Wolf has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Greenwich Library and as a youth basketball coach.

Wolf started his school day on Friday just like every other day. However, shortly after the bell rang, things took a much more exciting turn.

“Coach Brehm was texting me that I needed to come to his office and I was thinking what I did wrong this time,” said Wolf, with a smile from ear-to-ear. “I found out I won the Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year and I was really excited. My family is really proud of me and it’s just awesome. There’s going to be a banner up in the gym with my name on it and I’m waiting for it to come. I really want to get a picture with it.”

Brehm said that Wolf, both during practices and games, takes to the hardwood like he has a motor that is turned up as high as it can go and just runs up and down the court.

“At the end of the day, his jersey and shorts are completely soaked,” Brehm said. “He’s sweating profusely and kids don’t like to play against him in practice because he sweats so hard, is so strong and he goes so hard. It’s not easy to go hard every single day and gives so much time and effort to basketball and in the classroom. He’s a tough kid, really strong, never quits and deserves the award as much, or more than anybody in the state. I couldn’t be happier that he got the award.”

Even teams that compete against Greenwich High School notice the hard work Wolf puts in to improving his game.

“Alex Wolf is so important to Greenwich’s success,” said Andrew McClellan, head coach at Ridgefield High. “He’s got the best motor for a big man. He plays 100 percent all the time and he causes a lot of problems around the rim.

Wolf joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Players of the Year Kurt Steidl (2012-13, Ridgefield High School), Kris Dunn (2011-12, New London High School), Andre Drummond (2010-11, St. Thomas More), Brandon Sherrod (2009-10, Stratford), Greg DeSantis (2008-09, Notre Dame Catholic High School), Allan Chaney (2007-08, New London High School), and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (2006-07, South Kent School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Having Wolf in the lineup for two seasons as a member of the Cardinals has been a huge addition for the team. For Brehm, having Wolf in the lineup brought back memories of another quality big man that walked the halls in Greenwich High School.

Clay Graham was another dominating center for GHS, both in the classroom and on the basketball court. He just finished his senior season as a captain of the Colgate University basketball team. Graham finished this year averaging 14.1 points per game and grabbed 82 rebounds.

“Clay kind of set the bar for a big man at this school, both academically and athletically,” Brehm said. “Alex is kind of taking it to the next level. Playing basketball here has allowed Alex to do things that a big man has never done here. Alex has now set the bar even higher for any other player that plays for us.”

While Wolf’s honor is a dream come true, so was his senior season with the Cardinals. Big Red finished the year with more wins than any other boys basketball team at the school. In addition, the Greenwich hoopsters advanced to the class LL semis for the first time in school history.

“This season was, by far, my favorite basketball season ever, even my travel basketball teams,” Wolf said. “I’m going to miss it. All my teammates and coaches were amazing and we all went hard at it in practice. It was a great experience and a phenomenal season. We broke the school record and that was amazing. It was quite the achievement, but it was too bad that we weren’t able to put up a banner here this year.”

Now, it’s time to focus adding some green to his wardrobe, as Wolf is graduating from Big Red in June. He will be playing basketball for Big Green, at Dartmouth College starting in the fall.

“I’m going to continue to work on my post moves and definitely will be doing strength training and conditioning,” Wolf said. “I want to also increase my vertical a couple of inches before I get to Dartmouth. I’m going to be also working on my jump shot and maybe play outside a little more. I just want to continue to get better, so that way I can help Dartmouth as much as possible.”

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