It was bad enough for Tom Pecora’s Fordham Rams to drop their first three games of the regular season, but things got even worse as senior forward Chris Gaston had to deal with pain and swelling in one of his knees.
As a result of the issue Gaston is undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on the knee and will have to sit for the next month or so. For a program still looking to find its way in the second season under Pecora, this is the last thing Fordham needed to have happen.
Gaston, who averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last season, was a preseason All-Atlantic 10 selection and will be a key piece for the Rams if they’re to qualify for the Atlantic 10 tournament for the first time since 2008.
With Gaston out the Rams become very young inside, as freshmen Ryan Rhoomes and Travion Leonard will compete for minutes along with sophomore Luke Zivkovic.
Rhoomes (21 mpg) and Leonard (16.7 mpg) were already part of the rotation, averaging a combined 7.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while Zivkovic averaged just eight minutes per contest in Fordham’s first three games.
While Zivkovic will see an increase in minutes, more of the scoring load will likely fall upon the shoulders of leading scorers Branden Frazier (14.3 ppg) and Bryan Smith (13.0 ppg) with wing Jeffrey Short needing to raise is 6.3 ppg average.
Fordham, who has lost all three games by double figures, plays its next two games away from the Bronx as they’ll take on Penn and Fairfield in Preseason NIT consolation pod action (hosted by Lehigh) on Monday and Tuesday.