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Police: Sophomore basketball player at Brown in critical condition after being punched in head

Police in Providence, R.I., say a Brown University basketball player is in critical condition after being punched in the head in what appeared to be an unprovoked assault.

Deputy Police Chief Thomas Oates says 21-year-old sophomore Joseph Sharkey suffered severe head injuries when a man came up to him and hit him early Sunday morning while he was talking to a group of women on Providence's East Side.

Campus and city police responded. Oates says he doesn't know if Sharkey and the assailant knew each other.

A Rhode Island Hospital spokesman says Sharkey is in critical condition.

A Brown spokeswoman had no immediate comment. Brown's basketball team website lists Sharkey as a guard who played in high school at Northfield Mount Hermon. He's from Norwood, Mass.