Sunday, December 7, 2008

A chance to step up

If Brandon Crawford’s knee injury becomes a prolonged absence to the Jax State basketball team, freshman Stephen Hall just might be called upon to pick up the slack.

The Gamecocks got hit with their first serious bit of adversity in the James Green Era when Crawford, their leading scorer, sustained what team officials would only call a “right knee injury” during a game-day practice Saturday before the Gamecocks’ OVC opener at Tennessee Tech. He did not play in the game.

Since no one would say specifically what the injury was, it can only be assumed it’s anything from a sprain to a tear to a simple bump. The latter seems unlikely considering Crawford left the building after the game on crutches and a sleeve.

Green didn’t want to give a prognosis of the injury after the game, deferring to the team’s training staff. He appeared, however, prepared to move ahead even if Crawford isn’t available.

Luckily for the Gamecocks, they have the luxury of time to allow Crawford to heal. They don’t play a real game again until Dec. 17 at UAB. They do have an exhibition with Reinhardt on Saturday.

“I don’t know much about it until we find out a little more, but it is a nice break,” Green said, “but I’ve always been of the philosophy, not that we don’t care about guys being hurt or discipline reasons or whatever, you’ve still gotta go play. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to go play, and I thought our guys did a good job of that (Saturday).”

If Crawford isn’t back quickly, Hall, also a 6-6 forward, proved his ability against Tech to give comparable quality minutes.

Hall, an early signee who kept his commitment through the coaching change, scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Golden Eagles. His previous career highs were 18 points in the double overtime victory at Georgia State and eight rebounds against VMI.

“I think Hall and (Nick) Murphy had more production (in Crawford’s absence), probably had more minutes to get more production,” Green said. “I don’t know how many minutes we played (Amadou Mbodji) and Geddes (Robinson), but it appeared just from me looking at their minutes (in the box score), Geddes’ minutes probably weren’t as many as he normally gets, but part of the reason is they had (big players) stepping up shooting 3s, and we thought we needed to get out there and cover them a little bit better being smaller.”

It also would help the Gamecocks' inside presence if they could get 6-7 Brylle Kamen back. He has been out since the season began for administrative reasons pertaining to his status as an international student. He reportedly has fulfilled a suspension for games played overseas, but his paperwork, according to JSU officials, remains clogged up in the NCAA process.

No comments: