Dylan Ennis and Robert Cartwright: More Pac-12 Injuries

Posted by Andrew Murawa on November 6th, 2015

Since last week when I put together a list of the six injured players whose status would have a big impact on their team’s success this season, there have been two more big injuries to befall Pac-12 teams. First, Villanova graduate transfer and senior point guard Dylan Ennis is out indefinitely at Oregon with a foot injury. Meanwhile, Stanford sophomore point guard Robert Cartwright is out for the season with a compound fracture in his right arm. Let’s take a closer look at both of these situations and assess the effects they will have on their squads heading into the season.

Following A Foot Injury, We'll Have To Wait Indefinitely To See Dylan Ennis In A Duck Uniform

Following A Foot Injury, We’ll Have To Wait Indefinitely To See Dylan Ennis In a Ducks Uniform. (Getty)

First, there’s Ennis, a player who is expected to step right in from day one and become the Ducks’ new floor general. After spending the majority of his time in Philadelphia playing more of an off-ball role next to Ryan Arcidiacono, he transferred to Eugene to spend his final collegiate season proving himself as a lead guard. Early reports suggest that Ennis will be gone for a least a month, and perhaps not back in the lineup until conference play. It’s an all-around downer for fans and a program that will miss out on the early promise of a loaded Oregon backcourt when the Ducks will face arguably their toughest non-conference opponent, Baylor, four days into the season. Worse yet, you want to get a new point guard as comfortable as possible on the court with his new teammates early; it now looks like that opportunity will be delayed.

Still, let’s not count out the Ducks just yet, as they’ve got the depth to handle this hiccup in the short-term. First, there’s sophomore Casey Benson, who started nine games last season and is a true point guard who should be very comfortable running this team in Ennis’ absence. He’s not the same offensive threat as his counterpart, but he’s a willing passer, a capable three-point shooter, and a guy who limits mistakes. The other exciting option for the Ducks is freshman Tyler Dorsey. He was going to ideally spend this season playing mostly off the ball, but he’s got combo guard skills and can be very effective as an attacker with the ball in his hands. Playing for the Greek U-18 National team this summer, he averaged 15.9 PPG while spending some time as the lead guard as well. Whether he is polished enough to spend significant time handling the point guard duties remains to be seen, but Ennis’ absence will give him that chance. All things considered, the Ducks have the personnel to withstand this setback and still put together a strong non-conference performance without Ennis available.

Robert Cartwright's Season-Aborting Injury Leaves Stanford Perilously Thin In The Backcourt (Don Feria, isiphotos)

Robert Cartwright’s Season-ending Injury Leaves Stanford Perilously Thin in the Backcourt. (Don Feria, isiphotos)

On the other hand, the Cardinal’s loss of Cartwright for the season is potentially devastating for a team already with a razor-thin margin for error. Junior guard Marcus Allen, the expected starter at the two-guard position, is already out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot; this injury gives the Cardinal significant problems with both of their projected backcourt starters. To make matters worse, possible third-guard Malcolm Allen (twin brother of Marcus) is himself recovering from a broken wrist, although he may possibly be available by the time Stanford opens its season. Cartwright only played 26.5 percent of possible minutes last year behind senior point Chasson Randle, but showed himself to be an absolute bulldog on the defensive end while a pass-first point guard and capable shooter on the other end. The best case scenario for the Cardinal now is that the Allen twins can get healthy early enough to hold down the backcourt this year. Johnny Dawkins’ only other options in the backcourt are senior wing Christian Sanders, sophomore wing Dorian Pickens and freshman wing Marcus Sheffield, none of whom would qualify as a point guard.

The worst case scenario is significantly uglier. If either Allen misses any significant amount of time, the Cardinal are without any depth at the point at all. If both miss time, Dawkins is going to have to get seriously creative. And then there’s the fact that Allen hasn’t even played basketball in a year after redshirting last season (and averaged courtesy minutes two years ago). The Cardinal weren’t expected to be in the mix for an upper division finish this year, but if things continue to go south in the backcourt for this team, Stanford could potentially compete for the basement in the conference.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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