Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Roster Moves -- Eve of Season Openers, 2010

Health & Other Issues
The public posting of rosters that comes in the 6-8 weeks before the first exhibition games will usually trigger another round of announcements. Most of the academic bad news was cleared in late August (for a change). To this point the transcripts have been cleared (or not...except for Dieng), academic casualties have been tallied and announced. Small squad practices that typically start when classes resume almost always initiate another spate of injuries, or injury reports. The pre-practice physicals sometimes reveal deeper problems passed off as pick up game nicks and bruises, like James Bell's (multiple) leg fractures identified last September (2010). The small squad workouts can trigger crazy random injuries as well, like the achilles tear that sidelined Marquette's Junior Cadougan in September of 2009. The transition of small practices into the full squad practices seemed to come off without a hitch. Sort of. Full contact practices have triggered been another, late preseason outbreak of the injury bug. The rigors of getting to early morning practices (and then off to classes?) has triggered fallout of a different kind, a few discipline-related actions as well...

DePaul -- The Blue Demons pronounced Eric Wallace's season over just before the start of fall practice. The Ohio State transfer who has already sat a season per the NCAA transfer rule, suffered a fractured left tibia and fibula and will see no games in 2010-11.

Louisville -- In a very rare bit of good news, freshman Gorgui Dieng has been cleared to play by the NCAA. Deng was declared ineligible academically at the end of September, but the Cardinals appealed that ruling and news on October 26 was the appeal was granted.

St. John's -- Senior forward Justin Burrell, according to reports, broke the second metacarpal in his left hand at the end of a Friday (10-15-2010) practice, and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks. Surgery to repair is not planned, hence the relatively short recovery time. This is not Burrell's first brush with the injury bug as the senior missed games in 2008-09 and 2009-10 due to injuries.

Villanova -- A redshirt season, strongly hinted last month, probably not in the cards for freshman James Bell. News from a preseason team meet-and-greet event suggests that best case for Bell's rehab will have the freshman cleared to practice in late November with game action to follow (in December?). Senior Antonio Pena rolled his ankle during a Midnight Madness scrimmage, and return to practice in early November, but logged 17 minutes (& scored 7 points and 11 boards) in Villanova's exhibition win over the University of DC last Thursday. The Wildcats' other freshman, JayVaughn Pinkston, was reportedly involved in an altercation at an off campus fraternity party. No shortage of speculation on a punishment, but as of 11/10/2010, nothing has been announced.

West Virginia -- The Mountaineer staff may have to keep their roster on a chalk board, as guard Casey Mitchell was suspended indefinitely on October 15, fifth year senior wing Jonnie West rejoined the program on 10/19, Mitchell was reinstated 10/25 and Coach Bob Huggins suspended freshman Noah Cottrill on Octber 28 for an "indefinite period of time".

Assessing the Impact
A thin DePaul squad has become even thinner. John Templon over at Chicago Basketball blog takes a longer look at the Blue Demon squad a and what options Coach Purnell may have at this point.

For strongest positive impact, Louisville has to feel pretty good about getting Deng for the season. With incoming players not incoming and injuries to two returnees, (and Jared Swopshire's multi-game suspension) Louisville is hurting for bodies -- warm bodies. The 6-10 freshman Deng is better than a warm body and is expected to provide immediate front court help.

If the range for suspension time is Truck Bryant and Casey Mitchell, then expect Cottrill back at some point in the a window that stretches from just before their season opener (November 12) or their first serious game at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (November 18), to just after the point where Coach Huggins realizes Bryant, Mitchell and Mazzulla need help in the back court. The latest round of suspensions and re-instatements may have been faster than usual, but WVU fans have begun to notice these multiple scrapes are becoming uncomfortably "normal" for the program. Speculation about Cottrill, like Villanova's Pinkston, appears to have (far) outrun any real news or announcement. But West Virginia will need scorers this season, so Cottrill will have a role should he be re-instated.

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