Two of Nation’s Top Point Guards Facing Potentially Serious InjuriesPosted by EJacoby on June 25th, 2012
It’s been well documented that the point guard position was not a strong suit of Division I basketball last year, and the same applies for the incoming class of freshmen players. The last thing we need is for some of the country’s elite lead guards to suffer setbacks this offseason heading into 2012-13, but it appears that’s exactly what has happened over the past week. NC State’s rising junior Lorenzo Brown is set to undergo knee surgery this week, and incoming Providence stud Kris Dunn suffered a recent shoulder injury that could require surgery as well. Brown’s procedure is notable as only ‘exploratory’ and should not leave him sidelined for more than several weeks, but knee surgeries are never good news for quick guards. It often takes far longer than the required rehab time before a player returns to 100% health and regains the trust to rely on his knee for all the cuts required during games. Dunn’s status, meanwhile, remains unknown but could become a far more serious issue that requires several months of rehabilitation. Both players could also end up fine for the upcoming season — still over four months away — but their teams could also become affected during parts or all of the year.
Brown averaged 12.7 points, 6.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore last season for a late-surging Wolfpack team that made a strong run to the Sweet Sixteen. The heady guard has terrific size at 6’5″ that enables him to see the floor well and defend at a high level; he even averaged half a block per game last year. He’s the leader of a preseason top 15 team who led the squad in minutes played last season. Luckily, Mark Gottfried’s team also has incoming McDonald’s All-American freshman Tyler Lewis as its backup point guard, but he is not ready or able to handle all the responsibilities that Brown does — Lewis would fit much better as a rotating reserve to start his career. Hopefully, Brown’s surgery doesn’t reveal anything particularly damaging and the veteran can re-join the team long before the season starts, but having a procedure to “discover the source of pain” leaves reason for temporary concern.
Dunn is the crown jewel of Ed Cooley and Providence’s strong recruiting class that is ranked #6 by ESPN. The incoming freshman was a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American who shares the distinction of top point guard prospect alongside Marcus Paige (UNC) and Yogi Ferrell (IU), depending on which rankings you consult. Dunn is 6’3″ and described as a “talented scoring guard and reminds us of a young Mario Chalmers” by ESPN. The Friars are also lucky to have some other talented guards and in fact may have the deepest backcourt in America next season. Joining Dunn is Jordan Brand All-American freshman combo guard Ricardo Ledo, a consensus top 20 recruit. Even better is that rising senior Vincent Council is arguably the best point guard in the Big East returning next year, having averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists , 4.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals last season. Bryce Cotton also returns for the Friars as a fellow 13 point-per-game scorer from last year. If there was one position that Providence could afford to lose, it’s point guard. But Dunn is the single most talented of the group with the potential to become a superstar lead guard. Friars fans hope his upcoming MRI results don’t show anything terribly significant, or else shoulder surgery could lead to multiple months of recovery.
There are plenty of solid point guards across the country to watch next season, including Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Isaiah Canaan (Murray State), Trey Burke (Michigan), Phil Pressey (Missouri), and more. But few PGs possess the all-around skills and upside of Brown or Dunn, two players with NBA potential because of their ideal size and athleticism to match their natural passing ability. Last year lacked several do-it-all stars from the point position. The only point guard who is a lock for the lottery during this week’s upcoming NBA Draft is Damian Lillard, and we didn’t even get to see him in the NCAA Tournament last season for Weber State. Here’s to hoping for speedy recoveries from Lorenzo Brown and Kris Dunn, two lead guards that could dazzle fans in 2012-13 if they’re healthy.
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him on Twitter @evanjacoby.