VCU’s front court depth took a hit on Tuesday morning, as junior big man Jarred Guest dislocated his ankle.
Guest will be out for six-to-eight weeks, which means that he should be cleared — if not in shape — for the start of games.
Guest, who averaged around 10 minutes per game as a sophomore, injured the ankle during a morning workout on Tuesday. NCAA rules allows players two hours of individual instruction with the coaching staff per week, so long as the groups are made up of less than four players, and it was during one of these workouts that Guest hurt the ankle.
There will be plenty of big bodies at Shaka Smart’s disposal next season. Juvonte Reddic may be the best big man in the Atlantic 10 while Florida State transfer Terrance Shannon joins the program and will be eligible immediately. Freshman Mo Alie-Cox should be able to provide minutes as well, and with Jordan Burgess eligible and Treveon Graham back for his junior season, VCU will be able to play four-guard lineups quite a bit.
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.