Whatever happened to... Johnny Wolf?

Johnny Wolf was the kind of player every program wants. He was a hometown kid (St. X), whose parents had both graduated from Xavier. Further, his uncle, Steve, had ties to the Musketeers on the television side. Johnny's ties to the school were not the only reason he was a good recruiting catch, he was also the D-I co-player of the year for Ohio in the 2004-05 season. With standouts like Brandon Rice and Keenan Christiansen already on the roster at Wolf's preferred point guard position, playing time and success seemed within easy grasp.

Unfortunately, not every storybook tale has a happy ending.

Johnny started his Xavier career well, playing 20 minutes against Eastern Illinois without turning the ball over once. Actually, Wolf protected the ball like his livelihood depended on it all year long, averaging less than a turnover per game in over 16 minutes of average playing time. Wolf didn't shoot the ball particularly well (40% from the floor) but he didn't ever shoot his team out of a game. After scoring 10 in a loss to the despicable Adam Morrison and Gonzaga and finishing the season ranked 22nd in the conference in offensive rating, it seemed like Wolf was following the family line through Xavier.

It ultimately wasn't Johnny Wolf's play that ended his chances at Xavier, it was Kelvin Sampson. Sampson was beginning his slide toward the precipice in Oklahoma at the time, and his young Ohio native point guard wanted out. The 2006-07 season, then, was Drew Lavender's first at Xavier. While Wolf was good with the ball, he wasn't as good as Lavender, while he could score a bit, he couldn't compete with Burrell or Raymond (or even Adrion Graves) in that department. With his gifts outshone at each position he played, Wolf watched his playing time fade away.

It's no secret that every ballplayer wants minutes, and Johnny Wolf was no different. Seeing the writing on the wall at Xavier, he left before the 2007-08 season. Wolf's destination was UNC-Wilmington, an also-ran in the CAA. During his next year of eligibility, Wolf started and, not facing the same level of competition, averaged 13.9 points per game. With more opportunity, Johnny turned the ball over more, but still managed an assist to turnover ration of nearly 2-1. Wolf saw his numbers drop after a knee injury the next season, but he still managed the second most minutes on the team. Unfortunately, his career ended without another shot a playing on a big stage.

Johnny Wolf entered Xavier with a chance to be the best player in a family of decorated Musketeers. Thanks to the recruiting foibles of Kelvin Sampson though, he ended up toiling in relative anonymity in North Carolina. Sometimes the fairy tale doesn't end like it should.

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