Purdue head coach Matt Painter announced on Monday that redshirt freshman forward Jay Simpson’s basketball career has ended following the discovery of the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyotrophy (HCM).
HCM is the heart condition that claimed the lives of other basketball players including Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, Kevin Duckworth and Jason Collier.
“Obviously, this is very tough and upsetting news to take. You never want to see a young athlete’s career end in a fashion like this. Jay had a very bright future in our program and we are disappointed that he will not be able to continue his basketball career,” Painter said in the release. “We are very fortunate that our doctors were able to detect this condition early, which will enable Jay to live a long and healthy life.”
Purdue team doctor Greg Rowdon also explained how HCM affects athletes in the release.
“HCM is a disease which causes structural abnormalities to the heart and may lead to sudden death in young exercising athletes. It’s discovery precludes the participation in competitive sports,” Rowdon said.
This is awful news for Simpson and you certainly have to feel for him as his basketball career has come to an unfortunate, premature end.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Simpson appeared in 26 games and averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12 minutes per game this season. The school announced that Simpson will remain on scholarship and he’s set to graduate in May of 2016.
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.