Basketball, Sports

Brittain’s debut headlines Case opener

Prior to the start of the season, coaches and players on the Boston University men’s basketball team preached health.

And rightfully so. The Terriers’ run through the 2007-08 non-conference schedule was marred by a series of untimely injuries that not only left the team – as BU coach Dennis Wolff repeated ad nauseam – ‘disjointed’ in practice, but handicapped the Terriers in games as well.

Turns out a constantly discussed clean bill of health wasn’t to be for the start of this year’s campaign, as 6-foot-9 junior Scott Brittain suffered a concussion in practice and missed the first two games of the season.

Saturday, however, Brittain will return to game action for the first time since last March as the Terriers (1-1) face St. Peter’s College (0-2) in their opener at Case Gymnasium. Thursday afternoon marked the first day the Ontario native practiced with the team since getting elbowed in the head on Nov. 10 – a span of 10 days without exercise.

‘I felt a little bit out of shape during the practice, but hopefully I’ll be good for Saturday,’ Brittain, who’s never missed more than one game in a season prior to this year, said.

‘He’s totally cleared and [practicing Thursday] was important,’ Wolff said. ‘He got a sweat up and he’ll have a chance to practice Friday. He gives us additional depth so we won’t have to worry about the foul trouble.’

Brittain was the team’s leading rebounder last season (6.3 per game) and a workhorse down the stretch. Because of BU’s previously undersized frontcourt, Brittain played center while averaging 27.9 minutes per game, getting to the free-throw line a team-best 159 times and blocking 32 shots. Preceding the addition of freshmen Jake O’Brien and Jeff Pelage, he was BU’s go-to-guy down low.

Now that the Terriers have bolstered their frontcourt and Brittain’s been out, it will be interesting to see how much (if at all) his role changes.

‘What’s gone on is that O’Brien and Pelage have taken advantage of an opportunity. So now what Scott has to do is fight to get back into shape and fight to get back into whatever position he can be playing,’ Wolff said.

O’Brien, who’s drawn an incredible amount of praise from Wolff thus far, will start Saturday. Wolff said he hasn’t cemented the starting lineup for the remainder of the season yet, though he anticipates O’Brien and Brittain being on the floor at the same time with Pelage spelling Brittain.

‘They definitely add a lot to our team, so it’s going to be a nice change,’ Brittain said of the newcomers. ‘Last year I think we were a bit undersized, so I’m looking forward to playing with them.’

Before Wolff named his starters for the season-opener against George Washington University (and before Brittain’s injury), the 15th-year bench boss was testing Brittain vigorously, knowing how vital he is to the success of the Terrier frontcourt.

‘I’ve been on him relentlessly for a kid that I really, really like,’ Wolff said Nov. 7. ‘I’ve said to him at the end of the year, you’ll either be on one of the all-league teams or you will hate me.’

Given BU’s adequate but certainly not overwhelming performances in its first two contests, seeing the Terriers at full strength will provide a good benchmark as to the true talent of not only the team as a whole, but the oft-criticized frontcourt as well.

‘During the offseason, if somebody would have said, ‘What do you think your team needs to improve?’ They would have said help in the post. We clearly have help in the post,’ Wolff said.

News & Notes: The Terriers lead the all-time series against St. Peter’s, 4-2. ‘hellip; BU is 198-84 (.702) all-time at The Roof. ‘hellip; Sophomore forward John Holland is likely to have a cheering section from St. Peter’s because of the school’s proximity to his high school (St. Benedict’s Prep). Two of the currently rostered Peacocks are from Holland’s alma mater. ‘hellip; The Daily Free Press is proud to announce the launch of a basketball blog that will provide insider analysis and multimedia coverage of the team throughout the course of the season. The blog will go live Saturday morning before BU’s game against St. Peter’s and can be found at

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