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.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.
The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.