Fuquan Edwin, C.J. Wilcox

Willard: Brandon Mobley injury ‘doesn’t look good’

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This was supposed to be a season of promise for Seton Hall, but now coach Kevin Willard has yet another reason to kick something.

Forward Brandon Mobley, went down with a separated right shoulder in the game. Today Jerry Carino is reporting that Mobley’s MRI on the shoulder isn’t helping matters.

“It doesn’t look good,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “Hopefully we won’t have to have surgery on it.”

The 6-9 Mobley, who is averaging 9.5 points per game, is now the latest in a long line of injuries for the Pirates, who are still a respectable 12-5 overall, but 1-3 in Big East Conference play.

In all, Mobley, a sophomore, is the sixth player to be hit with an injury this season. Patrik Auda (redshirting due to a foot injury), Brian Oliver (coming back from an ankle sprain), Aaron Geramipoor and Kevin Johnson are also on the mend from injuries and coming back. Aaron Cosby missed time in the preseason with a knee injury.

Injuries are something I’ll never fault a team for, short of the coaches just pulling a Billy Gillispie and putting their players through hell. Mobley has been a steady presence for Seton Hall all season, so it’s safe to say that this is the most significant blow to a Pirates’ roster that has seen it’s share of significant blows this year.

As far as a timetable for his return, there has been no word.

So who steps in for Mobley, should he be out for a lengthy amount of time? Carino mentions Haralds Karlis in the story. The 6-5 sophomore scored 11 points in the loss to the Friars. Center Gene Teague, a redshirt junior who trails only Fuquan Edwin averaging 12.5 points per game, will definitely be asked to take more of the load inside. There’s really no other healthy options, at least that would be effective. Look for Seton Hall to apply the “by-committee” title to a lot of areas, with so many injuries,

The situation isn’t insurmountable for Seton Hall. Getting guys healthy will be the key. But that’s going to have to happen while pushing through the final season of the Big East as we all know it. Four of their next six games are on the road and they include trips to Marquette, Georgetown and Pittsburgh with a home date against Cincinnati thrown in.

David Harten is the editor and founder of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.