Just this Tuesday, Virginia announced that freshman forward, DeAndre Hunter, will miss the entire NCCA tournament. Hunter was going up strong for a layup in front of the rim when Clemson big man, Elijah Thomas, swiped down aggressively at the ball, causing Hunter to land awkwardly on his wrist. For some odd reason, Hunter played through the final whistle and managed to clock in eighteen minutes the day after against North Carolina. The injury was classified as a broken wrist. The wrist will keep him out of basketball activity for three to five months.
Hunter is looked upon as one of the most productive bench players in college basketball. Just as a freshman, he was crowned ACC sixth man of the year. Virginia’s playing time distribution is based on a meager 8 men deep rotation, which makes things tricky here. Does this force Coach Tony Bennet to look further down his short bench or rely heavier on the starting five? Hunter had the ability to play either forward position and score at all three levels. By no means is he viewed solely as an offensive player, his contributions are endless on the glass and defensive end. To mask the loss of Hunter’s presence, the Cavaliers may look to start Rutgers transfer, Elijah Johnson at the point, which would move Devon Hall to the four man spot from his original small forward position. Many would point to the lack of size being an issue in that scenario, but Bennet has a lot of faith in Devon Hall. Hall is the most valuable player on this team with veteran leadership and experience. The seniors’ jack of all trades playing style allows him to virtually play the point through power forward position.
A player that needs to generate more production with the absence of Hunter is Mamadi Diakite. Diakite is a physical big who can rebound and defend at a high level. To keep the mantra of great Virginia defense alive, Diakite will have to crash the offensive and defensive boards while holding his own against bigger guys on the interior.
With Duke’s Marques Bolden hurt, now what?
Though Bolden isn’t the most integral part of the team, often times playing inconsistent minutes, his size and length will be missed. Bolden has the physical gifts and talent to be a relatively productive college ball player; however, his mental fortitude and effort are not up to par. There isn’t a big on the Duke roster that scores with his back to the basket like Bolden, but with the absence of consistent intensity, he plays second fiddle to Javin DeLaurier.
Bolden was apart of Duke’s historic 16’ recruiting class, comprised of six immensely talented players. 5 of out of those 6 guys were ESPN top 100 recruits and 3 of them already are in NBA (Frank Jackson, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum). The sledding has been tough for Bolden, transferring through this career has always been talked about.
Click HERE to read our injury analysis via Dr. Amar Patel
Duke center Marques Bolden suffers leg injury-Dr. Patel
Duke’s starting center Marques Bolden suffered a severe left knee injury in the early minutes of Duke’s rematch against UNC on Saturday evening.
The injury occurred on a block attempt, and his knee buckled and hit the floor on his descent. He limped off the court with assistance.
The injury could be a complex ligament injury to at least one or more of the main ligaments of the knee (ACL/PCL/LCL/MCL). There is also a chance that when he made contact with the ground he could have sustained a fracture. Updates will follow pending an X-ray and MRI. Regardless, he will most likely miss the rest of the season including the tournament.
This is the same knee that he had injured during his first two seasons with Duke and forced him to miss significant playing time.
How will Purdue adapt to the absence of Isaac Haas?
Heartbreaking news filled the likes of college basketball just this Friday, when it was announced Purdue senior, Issac Haas, will miss the rest of the NCCA tournament with a broken elbow. The big man was going up for a contested rebound, which caused him to fall directly on his right, shooting elbow.
The aftermath of the play had Haas grimacing in pain, laying on his frontside. Although there have been great attempts on Haas’s end to petition himself to the NCCA to be able to play through the injury, he will likely be out 3-5 months with season ending surgery.
This is a monumental blow for the Boilermakers. Going into season, the goal was nothing short of a national title. The specialization of talent that Purdue had extended far in many categories, along with their experience, instilled fear in many teams.
Positions 1-5 each had their specific skill set which complemented everyone perfectly. The emergence of guards, Carsen Edwards and P.J. Thompson, allowed for coach Painter to play a scoring combo guard along with a true point guard to provide an excess of offensive opportunities.
Beyond that, sharp shooting senior, Dakota Mathias, has been able to get open shots all year because of the respect his guards and big men command. Before the injury to Haas, their front court consisted of Haas, Matt Haarms, and Vince Edwards. Haarms has burst onto to the scene this year with his copious amounts of energy and a 7’3” 250 pound frame.
The freshman’s attributes are felt everywhere, but especially on the defensive end with his length and great ability to protect the rim. Senior Vince Edwards has played a pivotal role this year with his ability to score at all three levels. Edwards’ senior leadership somehow finds a way to shine bright during crunch time.
When everyone is a threat on the court, defenses can’t practice triage and show more attention to the best player. Often, Haas would require double and triple teams to be thrown at him, and with the displacement of attention, people like Dakota Mathias and Carsen Edwards got wide open shots.
With the subtraction of Haas, Purdue will have to rely on their playmakers to become more selfish. V. Edwards, Mathias, and C. Edwards will have to show up every night, staying ready for whatever is thrown at them, while understanding the bulk of scoring rests on their shoulders.
Haarms doesn’t have near the girth Haas had, but he must utilize his length and energy to dominate the offensive and defensive glass. The loss of Haas assumes there will be a decrease in offensive rebounding, which means Purdue has to make every shot count. The loss of Haas will simplify the opposition’s game plan tremendously and significantly changes the way the Boilermakers play basketball.