Starting slot open for injured men’s basketball
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
Ulyen Coleman went down hard last Saturday in the Owls’ 100-88 win over No. 25 Bentley. Only about a minute had run off the clock since the opening tip when the star sophomore guard, last year’s NE10 Rookie of the Year, went down in agonizing pain.
It was tough to see such a talented player possibly lose his season to injury. At a time when there’s only a handful of regular-season games left and the Owls are battling for postseason positioning in March’s conference tournament, losing one of the team’s best players has to sting.
Yes, the team has a lot of talent and depth but Coleman’s absence will take a hit. It will mean guys on the bench will have to step up, namely senior Joey Wallace and freshman Michael Mozzicato, both guards.
Due to his experience in his fourth season for the team, Wallace will likely be getting the nod from coach Scott Burrell’s squad in the starting lineup [this was written and laid out before last night’s game] but even so, Mozzicato, turning heads as a freshman, will have to stay ready. So far this year, Wallace and junior forward Taurus Adams II have been coming off the bench a lot, with the latter subbing in and out with Luke Beesley as Wallace takes Coleman’s spot, look for Mozzicato to serve as the top man off the bench to relieve the team’s top guards.
The case for Wallace:
He’s a senior, earned minutes during his freshman year, and played behind successful guards such as Michael Mallory and Desmond Williams and he already has significant chemistry with his classmate, Isaiah McLeod, and his head coach, Scott Burrell.
The case for Mozzicato:
He’s been given a good amount of early playing time as a freshman, he’s won as a high schooler and he played a valuable 16 minutes last Saturday coming with three of his four defensive rebounds in fairly quick fashion.
This season, the team has faced mutliple injuries and abscences over the course of the season, loosing senior guard Isaiah McLeod for several games, Adams II early on, and as senior guard Joey Wallace for a good portion of the first half of the season.
So yes, it is a giant loss for the Owls to be without Coleman but their depth and superb level of talent should keep them in a strong position as the regular season winds down and they continue to push into the NE10 Tournament.