Offseason surgery is a standard thing for athletes. For college basketball players, knees go under the knife most often, with lingering ankle and foot injuries fairly common as well. UConn’s Omar Calhoun has spent four months of his summer overcoming an unusual surgery, however. According to the Hartford Courant, the rising sophomore suffered from something called femoral acetabular impingement, which required surgeons to shave down his hip bones.
Let’s take a momentary cringe break.
Calhoun is working hard to get back into playing shape as soon as possible. The Brooklyn native doesn’t want anything to get in the way of his appearing in the Huskies’ season opener, against Maryland at the Barclay’s Center.
Calhoun spent four weeks on crutches, then began the arduous rehab. His days are still filled with rehab exercises, stationary bike, elliptical trainer, pool work. He is just now getting on the court for some back-pedaling exercises and occasionally, as he did on Thursday, he sneaks in a few shots.
“I’m on schedule right now,” he said.
Calhoun had a reasonably productive freshman season with the Huskies, averaging 11.1 points per game and grabbing the third-most playing time for UConn. He’ll once again be sharing time in a guard-heavy rotation alongside established veterans Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Standing 6’5″, Calhoun can play swing in a three-guard lineup or spell either of his talented teammates. As long as those hips are feeling better, that is.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.