Under Cliff Ellis, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have become a good team. Which is a nice thing to be, but in a one-bid conference, it’s less than satisfying. The goal is to not only win the Big South regular season crown, but carry momentum into the league tournament, earning the Chanticleers their first bid to the Big Dance since 1993.
CCU was attempting to get a leg over the wall in the upcoming season by blending experienced players with new recruits, allowing the backups to learn the ropes while the veterans shouldered the load. At a mid-major, the balance is delicate, and injuries hit harder than they might elsewhere. The Chanticleers will attempt to overcome just such an infusion of bad luck after finding out that freshman point guard Ronald Trapps injured his leg — literally almost as soon as he set foot on campus — and will be forced to sit out his understudy season.
From the Conway, S.C. Sun News:
Trapps had successful surgery Thursday to repair what coach Cliff Ellis termed a “torn patella” that will sideline the newcomer from Lancaster, S.C., for the duration of the season.
“Very unfortunate for him,” Ellis said. “He hurt it playing pickup, I think, the first day that they were all here. His knee just buckled.”
Trapps, who spent last season at Fork Union Military Academy, is one of seven newcomers on the roster this year and was expected to be groomed behind veteran starting point guard Kierre Greenwood in preparation for a larger role in years to come.
“He’s a guy that we wanted to groom with Kierre, but we’re just going to have to wait,” Ellis said. “It definitely was a blow to him. Nobody likes that kind of thing, but he knows there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s just part of the game, part of life. You just have to deal with it.”
In the Big South, the reward for a great season is a shot at the league tournament crown. Run that gauntlet, and you earn yourself a 16-seed more often than not. Booby prize though it may be, we’re certain Cliff Ellis and his Chanticleers would happily take it if they can get through this season without any more injury setbacks.