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Sidney Wilson leaves St. John’s, joins UConn basketball team

September 2, 2017 GMT

For Sidney Wilson, UConn was always near the top of his list. Perhaps at the very top.

But when he initially made his collegiate decision back in May, Wilson selected St. John’s. The chance for the Bronx native to play for his hometown school was just too much.

Not even a week into summer courses, however, Wilson already wanted out. He announced he was leaving St. John’s earlier this week, and on Friday, Wilson pledged to UConn.

“The legacy of the program speaks for itself,” Wilson father, Sidney, Sr., said by phone on Friday. “Coach (Kevin) Ollie’s a stand-up guy. A lot of coaches would have taken it personal. But he was very welcoming. He wanted him again. He always wanted him. That never wavered.”

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And neither, apparently, did Wilson’s fondness for UConn.

“They were neck-and-neck,” Wilson, Sr., said of the Huskies and St. John’s. “It came down to coming home and being home. Until the whole aspect of home came into, it (UConn was) probably No. 1.”

Wilson’s mother, Pauline, passed away in March, 2015. Sidney, Sr. sent his son up to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire to get away from home — and all the memories that were there — for a while.

The family thought Sidney was ready to return home when he committed to St. John’s, but it “wasn’t a good fit,” according to his dad. “The memory of his mother was just a little too much.”

Wilson is a 6-foot-7, ultra-athletic small forward who was the No. 71 overall recruit in the nation, per rivals.com. He could help the Huskies this season, though that would seem unlikely. Since Wilson enrolled in and took summer courses at St. John’s, he is considered a transfer and would have to sit out the 2017-18 season, per NCAA rules, unless he’s able to attain a waiver. That is something the family and school are looking into right now, said Sidney, Sr.

dborges@nhregister.com; @DaveBorges