Some good news on the injury front for Memphis, and it comes in time for the stretch run.
According to a report from Jon Rothstein, guard Antonio Barton’s broken right foot is out of a walking boot and he could be ready for the Conference USA Tournament, said Tigers’ coach Josh Pastner.
Barton, a 6-2 junior, has missed the last four games after injuring the foot in the early minutes of the Tigers’ 89-76 victory at Southern Miss. He’s averaging 6.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists so far this season.
It’s a bit of good news for Memphis, who haven’t sorely missed Barton in his absence. They’ve won all four games he’s missed and scored at least 80 points in three of them, including a 93-71 route of UCF in the game after Barton went down.
Where they have been missing him is at the defensive end. He averages a steal per game and is tasked with guarding the top or second-best guard for the opposition when he’s healthy. They haven’t had much of an issue with that recently, but will need him when they get into the NCAA Tournament.
Every team wants to be healthy entering the postseason, when the legs get weary and fatigue becomes a major issue. Depth matters more. Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford are performing well and Barton will just be a welcome piece coming back into the fold for a team that could be the lone bid out of C-USA.
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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.