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UConn men’s basketball: Isaiah Whaley returning for graduate year

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After some deliberation, the 6-foot-9 forward has decided to play one more season in Storrs.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

UConn men’s basketball will have one of its premier players back for another year as senior Isaiah Whaley will return for the 2021-22 season, according to a release from the school.

Whaley will exercise his fifth-year option as offered by the NCAA because of the pandemic and will return for the next year without taking one of UConn’s 13 scholarship spots. He shared the news in dramatic fashion via social media on Tuesday afternoon:

“Isaiah has worked extremely hard to become one of the most productive players in our program,” head coach Dan Hurley said. “His tireless work ethic, his leadership, and his attitude epitomize the type of player we want at UConn. I couldn’t be happier to welcome him back for another season.”

The 6-foot-9 senior will be a key member of UConn’s frontcourt rotation next season, reprising his role as the four-man next to Adama Sanogo. The frontcourt will also feature incoming recruit Samson Johnson and redshirt sophomore Richie Springs.

Whaley was named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year this past season after posting some impressive numbers. His block percentage was 20th in the nation while his offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding percentages were 10th and 18th in the Big East, respectively.

He will provide some key experience for a UConn program that is still anchoring its roots in the national scene once again.

“I am very excited to be able to return to UConn for another season,” Whaley said. “I think we took a big step forward this year and I want to help the program continue its rise as we go after championships.”

Whaley will finish his degree in Urban and Community Studies this year and will return for a graduate year.