Colorado State University's Carr fights to get his shot off under pressure from Murray State University's Canaan during the first half of play in their NCAA basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville

Second ACL tear ends career of Colorado State guard Jesse Carr


Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season Colorado State guard Jesse Carr, who posted averages of 7.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a redshirt junior, was expected to be valuable piece for Larry Eustachy’s Rams. But a torn ACL changed that, requiring Carr to sit out the entire 2012-13 season.

Carr received a sixth season of eligibility, and with the Rams losing all five starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team he was expected to provide some needed experience in 2013-14. However Carr re-tore his ACL, which will not only rule him out for this season but result in the end of his college career. Colorado State announced the sad news on Wednesday.

“This is just a devastating injury,” Eustachy said in the release. “Jesse worked harder than anyone to get healthy and get back on the court. This is going to be an extremely tough time for him, but our coaching staff and the entire program are behind him.”

With Carr now out the Rams are left with juniors Jonathan Octeus and Daniel Bejarano as their most experienced perimeter players. Bejarano averaged 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his first season as a Ram after transferring in from Arizona, winning Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year honors. Octeus was also a valuable reserve last season, posting averages of 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Given CSU’s heavy personnel losses both were already needed to raise their production in 2013-14; the loss of Carr means that they way in which Bejarano and Octeus perform as on-court leaders becomes even more important. Colorado State also has redshirt junior Dwight Smith, who sat out all of last season, sophomore Joe DeCiman and three freshmen (Enrico Bueno, David Cohn and Carlton Hurst) competing for minutes on the perimeter.

It’ll be tough for the Rams to account for the on-court experience lost with Carr re-injuring his knee, but it’s even tougher to digest the way in which Carr’s CSU career has come to an end.

“Since this is all new I don’t exactly know what my plan is going forward,” Carr stated. “I do know that while I am here I want to help the team and coaches in any way possible.

“I also realize how lucky I am to have received the education that I did, and even luckier to have been around the people that I’ve been around here at CSU. It has been a rollercoaster-like experience but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.

Coach Hamilton likes mix on Florida State basketball roster

ACC Basketball Tournament: Florida State v North Carolina
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State is the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference that returns all five of its starters from last season.

For most teams that would be cause for celebration. For coach Leonard Hamilton it means he is hoping the struggles of the past two seasons have been valuable experience.

The Seminoles had their first practice on Wednesday as they are looking to bounce back from a season in which they went 17-16 and didn’t play in a postseason tournament for the first time in 10 years.

“We have five starters returning from a team that won 17 games. We have guys that have been around, who know their shortcomings and can pass on their wisdom to the younger players,” Hamilton said.

With an experienced roster and a highly regarded recruiting class, Hamilton is hoping to lead the Seminoles back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, which is also the year they won the ACC Tournament.

Jarquez Smith, the leading returning scorer from last season, said the open gyms before the start of practice have been extremely competitive as the incoming recruiting class has tried to assert itself early.

“We’ve been going at each other’s neck and it has gotten very competitive,” Smith said. “Everyone is fighting for their position because the guys coming off the bench are just as athletic as who is on the court.”

The newcomers feature Dwayne Bacon (a McDonald’s All-American selection), Terance Mann (the Gatorade Player of the Year in New Hampshire) and Malik Beasley (the Georgia 1A Player of the Year). There’s also Chris Koumadje, who at 7-foot-4 will be the tallest player in school history, and Benji Bell, who helped lead Northwest Florida State to the JUCO National Title.

“This is a very confident and focused group of inexperienced players,” Hamilton said. “They want to make something special happen but aren’t taking anything for granted.”

Two things that Hamilton will look to work on during preseason practices is defense and figuring out his rotation. The Seminoles suffered from a lack of depth last season but this year he could have a roster that goes 10 deep and allows him to go to more of a full-court pressing style of defense.

Xavier Rahan-Mayes led the team in scoring last season, averaging 14.9 points en route to becoming the first freshman in ACC history to score 30 or more points three times. The one thing he said he noticed in preseason practices were that everyone played off each other’s strengths.

Florida State’s first exhibition game is Nov. 2 against Lynn University before opening the season on Nov. 15 against Nicholls State.

“I think we have a pretty good combination of experience and an influx of new players. Any time you have that type of scenario you appreciate it,” Hamilton said. “It looks like we have it moving in the right direction. We’ve had a good offseason and regrouped.”